New noise report from CAA ‘disappointing’

Noise climate round airport not improved in last 15 years

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A new report, Managing Aviation Noise, published today by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) on best ways of tacking aircraft noise has been branded ‘disappointing’ by HACAN, which campaigns on behalf of residents under the Heathrow flight paths.

HACAN Chair John Stewart said: “Although the report is packed with useful ideas on how to reduce the impact of aircraft noise on residents, it is on the whole a disappointing report as it says very little about how the number of planes flying over communities can be cut which is the big issue for local residents.”

Stewart added: “We do welcome, though, a clear recognition in the report that there has been very little improvement in the noise climate around airports since 2000.  This reflects the experience of residents and challenges those in the aviation industry who like to give the impression that things are getting steadily quieter.”

The report’s key recommendations for the aviation industry include:

  • Airports and airlines should ensure that operational approaches to mitigate noise are incentivised and adopted wherever feasible. The CAA will work with industry to consider, trial and promote novel operational approaches to noise minimisation.
  • When looking to expand, airports should do more to ensure local residents see benefits from additional capacity – whether through funding community schemes, direct payments, or tax breaks.
  • Airports seeking expansion should significantly increase spending on noise. mitigation schemes to get closer to international competitors – including full insulation for those most affected.
  • Airlines should focus on noise performance when purchasing new aircraft.
  • Airports should structure their landing charges to incentivise airlines to operate cleaner, quieter flights.

In addition, the document proposes creating a new Airport Community Engagement Forum bringing together local residents, the aviation industry, policy makers and planners focussed on how new capacity can developed and operated to minimise noise impacts and maximise community benefits, rather than whether it should be built.

The report also floats the idea of a noise tax being imposed on airlines with the money raised used to provide compensation and possible tax breaks for residents.

Stewart concluded: “Most of  these proposals are a step forward but, unless a way is found to cut the number of planes flying over communities, the central problem is not being addressed.

May 29, 2014