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Noise

Heathrow is at the forefront of international aviation efforts to reduce and mitigate noise impactsWe have some of the world’s toughest rules and regulations on noise, which can influence developments in quieter aircraft technologyWe have also developed new ways to incentivise airlines to use the quietest planes, such as our ‘Fly Quiet and Green’ table, the UK’s first league table which ranks airlines according to the noise and emissions performance of the fleet and operations.  

Even with the doubling of aircraft movements since the 1970s, we’ve seen a tenfold decrease in the numbers of people falling within the areas affected by noise from air traffic at Heathrow. We also have some of the quietest planes in the world flying to and out of Heathrow. In December 2018 we reached our target of 60% of flights made by aircraft that comply with “Chapter 14”, the most stringent noise standard of the International Civil Aviation Organization.  

However, we understand that noise remains a major issue for many of those living in nearby communities. We are committed to addressing this and reducing the impact of noise on our residents. More information on how we are mitigating the impact of noise is available in our third Noise Action Plan (2019-2023), developed with the Heathrow Community Noise Forum. 

A new third runway at Heathrow would lead to increases in aircraft movements and passenger traffic and some areas would be newly overflown. Our expansion proposals enable both on-going and new initiatives to mitigate noise effects. These include: 

  • Runway and airspace alternation schemes to provide predictable periods of respite (by respite, we mean predictable relief from aircraft noise for a period of time, for local communities) 
  • 6.5 hour ban on scheduled night flights 
  • A package of measures to reduce the effects of night flights between 11pm and 7am (see Ban on scheduled night flights) 
  • Quieter operating procedures such as ‘steeper approaches’ and displaced thresholds which would lead to quieter arrivals by aircraft to the airport.  

We have already made a number of improvements to minimise the impact of noise and we continue to innovate. Learn more about our activity 

For more information on noise visit our dedicated page on the main Heathrow website.