Heathrow noise footprint smaller than ever before – CAA report

Heathrow

By Heathrow

Published 22nd September 2015

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An independent report published today shows a significant reduction in the area and number of homes affected by noise from Heathrow’s operations.

Key points:

  • Over the past 9 years, the area around the airport affected by higher levels of night noise has decreased by 25%
  • 25% fewer households affected by these noise levels at night than in 2006
  • Heathrow begins trialling steeper approaches this week, which could reduce noise for people living under flight paths

Analysis from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), commissioned by Heathrow as part of their on-going Noise Action Plan commitments, shows that average noise contours annually are 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.

Becoming a better neighbour

Over the past 9 years, the area around the airport affected by higher levels of night noise (measured by 60dB Lnight), has decreased by 25%.

This has resulted in 25% fewer households affected by these noise levels at night. Had the population and households remained static during this period, there would be 42% fewer homes affected by these noise levels at night.

This has resulted in 25% fewer households affected by these noise levels at night. Had the population and households remained static during this period, there would be 42% fewer homes 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%.

That is equivalent to a decrease of 15% of homes affected by noise (or 18% if the population and households had remained static during this period).

Newer planes and quieter procedures

The use of new planes and quieter procedures between 2006 and 2014 are part of the measures driving the reductions in the noise footprint. To continue improvements, 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.

Continuing to improve

Although Heathrow’s noise footprint is smaller than it’s been at any time since the 1970s, the airport continues to work with airlines, regulators and local communities to make the skies around the airport even quieter.

Heathrow’s Noise Blueprint, a plan which outlines ten practical steps to cut noise by 2015 and challenges aircraft to be quieter, sooner, and ensure fewer people are affected by noise, even with an expanded airport.

2006 Vs 2014: How Heathrow’s noise footprint has reduced.

Heathrow Director for Sustainability and Environment Matt Gorman said the report shows that the airport’s innovative efforts to reduce noise are working, but that there is still more to do.

“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,” Matt Gorman said.

“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.”

Download the CAA’s full report here

Heathrow

By Heathrow

Published 22nd September 2015