UN environment boss resigns after too much flying

Erik Solheim, chief of the United Nations Environment Programme UNEP, resigns after British newspaper The Guardian revealed he spent almost $500,000 on air travel and hotels in just 22 months.

photo: unenvironment.org

Contributing countries were so unhappy with his conduct that they are holding tens of millions of dollars. A financial crisis looms at the body.

An internal audit of UNEP says Solheims conduct is a “reputation risk” for an organisation dedicated to improve the environment.

The UN accepted Solheim’s resignation yesterday, says The Guardian.

The Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden are countries that have publicly stated to be halting funding for the organization until the issues around Solheim are solved. In total around $50 million could be at stake.
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Research to move Schiphol into North Sea

The Dutch government researches possibilities to move Amsterdam Schiphol Airport at least partially into the North Sea.

This follows upon a proposal composed by entrepreneurs and residents living around the airport. Noise will not cause any inconvenience there. A runway at sea will bring relief to the entire Amsterdam region.

“Air traffic continues to grow, reducing flights is not an option”, says researcher Eef Haverkort to daily newspaper De Telegraaf. “Runways can be located in the sea.”

The other alternative to reduce the pressure on Schiphol is Lelystad Airport. Due to mistakes made in decision making the opening of this airport is yet again postponed for another year. Building an airport in the sea is the only viable option left if Schiphol continues to grow. Read more >

Explane 1.1 released

Version 1.1 of the Explane-app to register aviation noise is now available at Google Play. Update your apps or visit https://explane.org to download the newest version.

V1.1 is based on the feedback we have received since the introduction of the initial app.

Enhancements are:

  • First registration with the initial app did not record the noise level. V1.1 does it correctly – from the very first measurement on.
  • Registration of the location is now cut with two decimals to ensure your privacy. Your location will be recorded on a district level now.
  • You are now able to see your own registrations of noise nuissance within the app. Please use the new button ‘Submitted’ in the app to view.
  • The corridor in which airplanes are detected has been broadened. We found that in the earlier version the app was not always able to find the plane that corresponded with the noise.
  • Read more >

    Dutch vote yes to kerosene tax

    Yesterday Dutch parliament voted yes to have taxes on aviation fuel. Government is now obligated to research if it can get support from other countries united under the ICAO lobby club.

    Aviation industry doesn’t pay any taxes on fuel following an international agreement stemming from 1944. The agreement was made to reconstruct aviation industry after WW2.

    Earlier this year the Dutch confirmed to introduce a passenger airfare tax. Preferably in cooperation with other European countries, but if this support can not be found, they will introduce it nationally.

    Aviation industry not paying taxes on fuel gives it an unfair advantage over other forms of transportation. Dutch parliament wants to end this preferential position. Read more >


    This app is built by Roelof Meijer, professional app builder. If you have a need for a complex app, please do contact him to receive an offer. You can reach Roelof at r.meijer@officealley.nl.

    The use of the app would not have been possible without the open access database of OpenSky, providing the data necessary to connect your noise measurement to the actual flight data of the plane causing this noise. Thanks for providing this access to your database.

    This app has been build in with theĀ open source tools and services of Ionic. Thanks for our happy coding.

    The data that comes from the app is visualised at our website ‘Aviation Noise Reports by Explane.org’. It’s done by Microsofts PowerBI tool and allows open access to the data and provides tools for manipulating the data. Read more >

    About the app

    Explane is an app that empowers you to register a flight above your head including the sound level (in dB) your smartphone measures.

    plane airport airplane sky

    If you touch the microphone at the start screen, a measurement is started for the duration of 10 seconds.

    Choose the start of your measurement preferably in a way that the plane will pass you in these 10 seconds. Please keep your measurement pure and be careful not to measure any other noises.

    If by accident you measure non-aviation noise, please don’t send the registration to our database. It would pollute our database and would make it less trustworthy.

    The app only registers airplanes on a maximum attitude of 10.000 meters (30.000 feet) within a radius of 5 kilometers (3 miles). Read more >

    About the developer

    Roelof Meijer is a professional app developer based in The Netherlands. He built this app free of charge, because he himself has to cope with traffic noise (trains) and he knows how difficult it is to counterbalance professional lobbyists.

    The app implements an idea of SchipholWatch, a group of noise abused residents around Amsterdam Schiphol Airport.

    Roelof is available for building your app too. Not free of charge of course, but if you have a need for a professional designed and built app, please do contact him via e-mail address r.meijer@officealley.nl.

    About the data

    This app collects data about aviation noise. Users measure the noise levels of airplanes that fly over. The data is stored in a central database.

    The database will be used to publish reports about aviation noise. We aim to inform all stakeholders: politicians, press, residents, airports and airlines.

    We need the following data:

    • Date and time of the registration
    • Identification number of the airplane
    • Geographical location of the registration
    • The peak noise level measured
    • Make and model of the smartphone used for the registration
    • Serial number of the smartphone

    The data about the device used is necessary to be able to interprete results and to be able to calibrate the sound level afterwards, depending on the device used.

    It is possible that from the collected data is learned that a certain device measures noise levels with a standard deviation. We are then able to correct these levels within a seperate column on our published data. Read more >

    About SchipholWatch

    This app implements an idea of SchipholWatch, a group of residents around Amsterdam Schiphol Airport.

    We feel that our complaints about the growing problem of aviation noise are not heard by the authorities and by our neighbour Schiphol.

    SchipholWatch is an initiative of five entrepreneurs with different backgrounds (media, civil engineering, professional noise measurement, information technology and law).

    Via social media and our website we aim to publish relevant information to fight the ever growing problem of aviation noise. Our ultimate goal is a relocation of Schiphol to a to be created island in the North Sea. Read more >

    ‘Too much aviation noise in one third of Dutch houses’

    Too much residents of The Netherlands experience noise nuisance, part of them from aviation. The reason is simple: one thirth of all houses is built on a noisy location, says research from Dutch news tv RTL Nieuws. Too much noise makes people ill.

    The World Health Organization (WHO) has published new guidelines for environmental noise. Road traffic can produce a maximum of 53 decibels, trains 54 dB, but aviation noise may not exceed 45 decibels.

    RTL Nieuws has compared the new guildelines with data from the Dutch health institute RIVM and from the governmental basic registration database for addresses and buildings. From this analyses they learned that 37 percent of houses experience a noise level of more than 55 dB. This counts up to 3 million houses. Read more >