The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has today published a series of recommendations to help drive improvements in the way the aviation industry manages aircraft noise.
More people in the UK are affected by aviation noise than any other country in Europe. With the Airports Commission currently considering proposals for increasing the UK’s aviation capacity, the CAA is clear that the industry will not be able to grow unless it first tackles its noise and other environmental impacts more effectively. To help drive improvements from the industry, the CAA has published Managing Aviation Noise, a document setting out a series of recommendations to help reduce, mitigate and compensate communities for aviation noise.
The recommendations cover changes airports and airlines could make now, as well as improvements policy-makers and industry could make ahead of any future increases in capacity. There is a strong focus on making sure airports work with their local communities more closely, as well as operational changes and ideas for incentivising airlines to reduce the noise impact of their flights.
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.
Measures that Government and local authorities could consider include the potential for tax breaks for local people and businesses and, if other methods are not successful, the potential for a future noise tax to incentivise airlines to procure and operate fleets in the most noise efficient fashion possible and to internalise noise impacts in consumer decision making.
Iain Osborne, Group Director for Regulatory Policy at the CAA, said:
“Very many people in the UK are already affected by aviation noise and it’s clear that unless the industry tackles this issue more effectively, it won’t be able to grow. The recommendations we’re making will help the industry to reduce and mitigate its noise impact, whilst also making sure the communities affected by aircraft noise are fairly compensated and feel much more involved in the way their airport operates.
“We believe these measures could make a real difference to people living near airports today, as well as ensuring any future decisions on aviation capacity increases take full account of the impact of aviation noise on people’s quality of life.”
The noise area of the CAA website includes information designed to help improve the public’s understanding of aircraft noise and how it is currently managed. For more information please visit: www.caa.co.uk/noise
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