Heathrow has begun the installation of fifty new noise monitors in local areas as well as upgrades to its existing monitoring network. The action, one of 10 practical steps set out in the latest version of Heathrow’s Blueprint for Noise Reduction published today, is the direct result of the airport’s engagement with resident groups through the Heathrow Community Noise Forum.
The new monitors will help the airport and residents to gain a better understanding of the impacts of noise in local areas, and will complement the modelling of the existing fixed and mobile monitors. The data gathered will be shared publicly through the Heathrow noise website and the Heathrow Community Noise Forum. In the future, Heathrow plans to use the monitoring system to provide real-time noise measurements to residents.
Other measures outlined in the Blueprint include:
Fitting quiet technology to A320s aircraft
Establishing a voluntary Quiet Night Charter to reduce the impact of Heathrow’s night operations
Launch web based tool xPlane for residents to access flight data specific to their locations
In its bid to encourage quieter aircraft, from January 2017 the airport will introduce lower landing charges to incentivise airlines to prioritise their quietest types of aircraft – known as Chapter 14 aircraft – to use the airport. The move will make Heathrow the first airport in the world to differentiate charges for aircraft like A350s. The anticipated move is already having an effect, with the first daily A350 XWB service – an aircraft which boasts the latest, top-of the range, ultra-quiet technology – having launched on Sunday by Ethiopian Airlines.
As a result of incentives and evolving technology, Heathrow is now quieter than its been at any time since the 1970s, despite the doubling of aircraft movements. New data released today in the Heathrow’s Fly Quiet League table shows a 5.5% increase in the proportion of quieter, new generation aircraft – such as the A350 – being used at Heathrow compared with the same period last year.
John Holland-Kaye, Heathrow Chief Executive said: “Heathrow shares a common objective with local residents: we want to make the skies around us quieter. The arrival of new, quieter aircraft and the start of our programme to install 50 new noise monitors will help us to accelerate the reduction in the noise impacts of Heathrow.
“Our new plan for a third runway means that we will reduce the number of people affected by noise even with expansion, while increasing the social and economic benefits that Heathrow provides.
“Heathrow expansion is no longer a choice between the environment or the economy. It will deliver for both. That’s why the Prime Minister can make the right choice and expand Heathrow.”
Heathrow’s “New Plan” for expansion, balances the national and local economic gain from expansion with the environmental impacts. Heathrow has committed to meet and, in most cases, exceed the conditions set out in the Airports Commission’s recommendation for Heathrow expansion, including on noise mitigation.