Heathrow to rank airlines by noise emissions

Heathrow airport is set to start grading the airlines that use its facilities by the amount of noise they create. Airlines that break agreed noise limits will face fines, new departure routes and steeper approaches under a Fly Quiet initiative that will start later in 2013.

Air travel is the most effective and convenient method of modern travel but for those who live around the airport or under a flight path, noise levels can be severely disruptive. It is something all airports have to deal with but a particular problem for one as busy as Heathrow.

Heathrow chief executive Colin Matthews said: “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.”

He added that while it was important that the airline safeguarded growth, it was important to work with airlines, air traffic control, policy makers and local residents to reduce noise and disruption.

A report created by the Independent Transport Commission has pointed out that the area around Heathrow is more densely populated than that around Gatwick or Stansted. The noisiest aircraft are currently not allowed to take off between quiet hours of 11.30 pm to 6 am. The report noted that noise from some early morning long-haul flights has long been a matter of contention for local residents.

Simon Buck, the chairman of the British Air Transport Association praised the report saying it was a ‘welcome contribution to the debate’. Adding: “To ensure there is no further erosion of the UK’s competitive position, the government must set a clear commitment to such measures being put in place, as part of a new aviation policy.” So, as well as booking travel insurance and accommodation this year, maybe it’s worth checking how much noise you’ll be making for local residents when you take off and land. It’s something we clearly need to be aware of.

Date Created: 04 June 2013

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