on Noise Environmental Impact Management
The Case Study on Suvarnabhumi Airport
Suvarnabhumi Airport is the new International Airport of Thailand;
the name is given by the King which means “the Golden Land”. The
first day operation of Suvarnabhumi Airport on 29 September 2006
has critical effects to the community nearby the airport. The noises
from airline activities disturb daily lives of the people living
along the take-off and landing routes of the aircrafts such as working,
conversation, listen to the music, watching television and others
recreation especially sleeping at night. Getting to hear loud noise
constantly for a long time may impact hearing capacity of the people.
In addition, houses and building also effected by the shaking from
the noise of the aircraft. The houses have cracks on the wall and
the tiles fell down from the roof in some cases. Therefore people
living in the area gather together to protest and demand the government
to solve the noise impact as well as the compensation payment for
The Office of the Auditor General of Thailand selected this topic
to be audited, to evaluate the noise environmental impact management
from Suvarnabhumi Airport, because this topic is a national problem
that may cost up to 12 billion baht in the government budget for
solving the problem. The mentioned budget is the compensation to
modify the houses of the people who live in the moderate impact
area or the cost of purchasing houses or buildings in the high impact
area. Moreover, the dissatisfied problem solving would result in
the protest which may cause invaluable damage to the 114 Billion
Baht Airport and the country image.
To evaluate the government operation for the problem solving on
the noise environmental impact from Suvarnabhumi Airport to the
communities nearby the Airport from the first day of operation,
29 September 2006, up to 30 June 2008.
1. What the government has done in order to mitigate the problems
of the people living in the communities nearby Suvarnabhumi Airport
who has been affected by the noise environmental impact?
2. Are the measurements in place for solving noise environmental
impact problems appropriate and could actually solve the problems?
3. Are there any problems and barriers in dealing with noise environmental
impact from Suvarnabhumi Airport?
4. To give the beneficial recommendations in solving the problems.
1. Study all documents related to Suvarnabhumi Airport Project
1.1 The detail of the project overview
1.2 The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Report.
1.3 The detail of problem situations and the noise affected areas.
1.4 The information on the land and building survey including
the compensation budget for the noise impact.
1.5 Noise Abatement Management Guidance for Suvarnabhumi Airport
from Aeronautical Radio of Thailand.
1.6 Study report on the specific land planning project of the
area nearby Suvarnabhumi Airport.
1.7 The resolution of the Council Ministers for the noise impact
1.8 Other related documents from newspapers, internet, articles
from other media.
1.9 The information on international practices and measures for
solving noise environmental impact from international airport
of Great Britain, United States, New Zealand and Hong Kong.
2. Audit methods
2.1 Audit the documents related to Suvarnabhumi Airport Project.
2.2 Inquire the Offices in charge of Suvarnbhumi Airport management
- Office of the Permanent Secretary, the Ministry of Transport
- Department of Aviation
- The Aeronautical Radio of Thailand
- Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning
- Pollution Control Department
- The Airports of Thailand Public Company Limited
- Department of Public works and Town & Country Planning
2.3 Inquire the specialist as follows;
- The specialist from Faculty of Environment and Human Science,
Mahidol University to obtain the knowledge about noise measurement
and noise impact.
- The specialist from the Aeronautical Radio of Thailand to obtain
the knowledge about aviation techniques.
- The specialist from the National Institution of Development
Administration to obtain the knowledge about the calculation and
identification of the compensation costs.
- Living condition of the noise environmental affected communities
- Air traffic management at the Aeronautical Radio of Thailand,
Sample of 118 people living in the 11 communities nearby the Airport
to answer the questionnaires about noise environmental impact
and the government measures in dealing with such problems.
Audit Findings and Recommendations
1st Finding: The delay in compensation payment for the
people who have been affected by noise environmental arising from
As at 30 June 2008, the people living in NEF (Noise Exposure Forecast)
> 40 areas gets the compensation payment only 185 out of 640
households of the survey total or 27.34%, while the people living
in NEF 30-40 area gets the compensation payment only 11 out of 15,283
households of the survey total or 0.07%. The cause of delay payment
is that the Resolution of the Council of Ministers only stipulates
immediate action but did not set up definite timeframe for disbursement,
and there is no follow up procedures.
1. Set up the compensation payment plans, both short
term and long term which identify the detail of activities and
operation timeframe. The activities should be prioritized according
to their importance. The secondary plan must be set in case the
major plan will not work out.
2. Continuously communicate compensation plan and the operation
progress to the noise environmental affected people.
3. Set up the process and timeframe for compensation rejection
to ensure that the noise environmental affected people will be
sincerely treated by the government.
2nd Finding: Government budget increases sharply from problem
resolution of the people affected from Airport noise environment.
The Resolution of the Council of Ministers on 29 May 2007 stipulates
the government to pay the compensation to the people living in the
communities nearby the Airport for renovating the residents to reduce
noise impact creating a burden for the government in the budget
amount up to 12 billion baht. The huge amount of budget increase
stems from the increase in numbers of residents in impact areas
after the government approved the construction of the new airport
project in 2001. For example, in the north of the airport construction
area, there were 1,871 people asking for the construction permits
which increased from 309 people before the construction of the new
airport. The government did not give sufficient information and
did not communicate the impact of the noise from airport activities
to the people. Therefore, the people moved in to live near the new
airport expecting progress in the communities. The larger numbers
of people moving in the area make the compensation budgets higher
than the budget forecast in the EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment)
report and make problem solving more difficulty. The amount of budget
increased from 887.30 million to over 10 billion baht.
1. Set up a short term measure to mitigate the problems for the
people living in impact areas by communicate through the easy
to reach media to educate people on how to modify their house
to reduce noise impact such as growing trees to absorb the noise.
2. Step up the establishment of the noise measurement stations
at the points which have been designed in the EIA report to check
compliances of noise reduction measure at the point of origin
by designing the take off and landing techniques and flight paths
that will create lowest impact required by the Aeronautical Radio
of Thailand and set the fine to enforce upon airlines that violate
3. Set up a long term measure by collecting the noise surcharge
from the aircrafts that create over standard level noise and establish
the compensation fund for the people who are affected. The Fund
Manager should be reliable and accepted by all stakeholders.
4. Set up the noise reduction impact measure for the people living
in the impact areas after 2001 which the government and the people
share the cost of the noise reduction. For instance, the government
pays for the expense on the noise reduction to the accepted level
(i.e. 70 decibel); the people who need to reduce the noise less
than 70 decibel must be responsible for the addition expenses.
3rd Findings: The problems of the people affected from the
Airport noise have not been yet resolved.
The Airports of Thailand Public Company Limited had not been solving
the problems as stipulated in the Resolution of the Council of the
Ministers which insisted on urgent compensation payment to the people
living in the noise impact area and improvement of the concrete
compensation procedure. In view of the fact that there are still
disagreements on the noise exposure forecast areas between the government
and the people and the people do not accept the compensation calculation
criteria, the problems of the people affected from the Airport noise
have not been yet resolved.
1. The Ministry of Transport and the Airports of Thailand Public
Company Limited should clarify with the people about the disagreement
issues by using the personnel of the educational institutes in
the impact areas who familiar with the communities as the mediators.
2. Communicate the study of the National Institution of Development
Administration on the cost of the house renovation for the noise
impact reduction as well as obtain other different study information
to set up the criteria acceptable by all stakeholders.
3. Set up a small noise measurement device in houses located
in the conflicting noise exposure forecast areas to ensure that
the people will be continuously taken care of by the government.
The compensation will be paid to the people once the noise exposure
level is getting over the limit of noise acceptation.
4. The government should learn from the Suvarnabhumi Airport
1st phase and make adjustment in the expansion of the Airport
to the 2nd phase in the budget amount of 74 billion baht as well
as use the lesson learned with other government projects which
may affect the people and environment. The information presenting
to the Council of Ministers for approval must be carefully done
by conducting studies in all aspects since the change in the Resolution
of the Council of Ministers in the same issue would have made
some people lose their expected benefits and may cause opposition
which will be hard to make them understand