In the report, Heathrow makes a range of new commitments on noise which include publicly ranking airlines on ‘noise performance’, trialling new departure routes with NATS, proposing to trial steeper approaches into Heathrow, establishing a new noise insulation scheme to replace the existing schemes, exploring innovative solutions to noise insulation for schools such as ‘adobe’ buildings and proposing a significant increase in fines for airlines that break noise limits.
The airport says the report brings together a range of measures to meet the Government’s aspiration ‘to strike a fair balance between the negative impacts of noise and the positive economic impacts of flights’.
Heathrow already encourages the quietest aircraft through higher charges for the noisiest aircraft and reduced charges for the quietest aircraft. The airport will be proposing a significant increase in fines for airlines that break noise limits and, later this year, launching a ‘Fly Quiet’ programme which will publicly rank airlines according to their noise performance at Heathrow.
Colin Matthews, CEO of Heathrow, says: “Heathrow is at the forefront of international efforts to tackle aircraft noise and as a result, even though the number of flights has almost doubled since the 1970s, fewer people are affected by noise. We will continue to work with airlines, NATS, policy makers and local communities to further reduce aircraft noise whilst safeguarding the vital connectivity and economic growth that Heathrow provides.”
Heathrow say they recognise that if the airport is to expand, a comprehensive package of measures to tackle noise will need to be put forward to ensure there does not have to be a choice between more flights or less noise.
Recent research by industry-body Sustainable Aviation suggests with its “Noise Road-Map” that by 2050 advances in aircraft technology will allow the number of flights in the UK to double without an increase in aircraft noise.