Analysis from the Civil Aviation Authority, commissioned by Heathrow Airport, shows a decreasing noise footprint.
The airport say the report shows average noise contours as smaller than they have been since 2006. The launch of the report comes on the first week of Heathrow’s Steeper Approaches trial, the UK’s first attempt to adopt this approach to reduce noise for people on the ground.
Heathrow say that the area around the airport affected by higher levels of night noise (measured by 60dB Lnight), has decreased by 25% over the past nine years. This has resulted in 25% fewer households affected by these noise levels at night.
The area affected by average noise measurements over the course of a 24 hour operating day, as measured using the European measure of noise (55dB Lden), has shrunk by 14%. The use of new planes and quieter procedures between 2006 and 2014 are part of the measures driving the reductions in the noise footprint.
Heathrow has this week begun trialling steeper approaches for 6 months, in which aircraft fly higher for longer before landing at the airport. Steeper approaches introduced at airports such as Frankfurt have shown this can reduce noise for people living under flight paths.
Matt Gorman, Heathrow Director for Sustainability and Environment said: “Heathrow is at the forefront of international efforts to tackle aircraft noise and these latest contours are testament to the efforts of Heathrow and our airline and manufacturing partners to reduce the impact of the operations. But we won’t stop here. We know there’s more we can do through initiatives like our steeper approaches trial, and we will continue to push all those operating at Heathrow to be industry leaders in reducing noise.”
The Prime Minister’s Airports Commission has stated that at least 200,000 fewer people are expected to be within Heathrow’s noise footprint by the time an additional runway opens. It endorsed Heathrow’s new approach to expansion, developed in consultation with residents, saying “an expanded Heathrow would be a better neighbour for local communities than the airport is today.”