We are continuously finding ways to reduce the impacts of noise from Heathrow. In fact, we are one the world’s leading airports in noise management – and even though the number of flights has increased significantly since the 1970s, Heathrow’s noise footprint has continuously reduced meaning Heathrow is quieter today than any time in the last 50 years.
At the time of its review, the Airports Commission confirmed that it is possible to expand Heathrow while reducing the number of people affected by noise compared to today.
We understand that noise can impact people’s quality of life in different ways, and is a more complex issue than first appears. When we experience noise, everything from its volume and our attitude towards it, to whether we are able to control it, impacts how it affects us.
Expansion of Heathrow (along with Government plans to modernise UK airspace) provides a real opportunity to significantly change how we manage planes to and from Heathrow. For example, the current airspace around London is heavily constrained because it is still operating based on designs developed in the 1950’s.
By reforming airspace and where and how planes fly in the future in consultation with local residents, we can explore options to reduce our impacts like alternating flight paths, reducing the effects of noise and providing increased predictability of relief.
We will also find new ways to incentivise airlines to use the quietest planes and work with them to take off and land in ways that minimise noise at key times. Heathrow currently operates at close to capacity most of the time; the majority of days are ‘routine’, while some are ‘disrupted’.
As well as minimising the noise we create and extending the period without scheduled night flights as part of our expansion, we will continue to help residents insulate their homes – through the new runway project we will deliver around a further £700m for noise insulation to cover 160,000 homes.
More information about how we will manage our noise impacts and noise mitigation scheme can be found here.