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Our noise strategy

We support the government’s ambition for aviation to limit and where possible reduce the number of people in the UK significantly affected by aircraft noise.

We can’t eliminate the noise caused by planes flying in and out of Heathrow, but we can manage it responsibly and reduce the impact on the local community as much as possible

Our strategic objective for aircraft noise is:

"To limit aircraft noise impacts and gain the trust of our stakeholders that we are using best practicable means to achieve this goal, and to continue this approach into the future, within the framework established by government."

We set noise targets each year, which we publish in our corporate social responsibility report along with performance against key noise indicators.

The Heathrow Noise Forum tracks progress on our commitments published in our Noise Action Plan and reviews the results of the trials we run when we test out potential new operating procedures.

The Noise Action Plan is a technical document which we distilled into A Quieter Heathrow in 2013. It sets out the five key steps we are taking to reduce aircraft noise:

  • Quieter planes. Incentivising airlines to use modern, quieter planes
  • Quieter procedures. Encouraging the quietest practicable take-off and landing procedures
  • Operating restrictions. Fewer planes after 11 and quieter planes in the early morning
  • Mitigating noise and land use. Effective noise insulation schemes and influencing planning to minimize the number of noise-sensitive properties around the airport.
  • Working with local communities. Reflecting the community’s concerns in our noise strategies and communications.

Improving noise communications

Our Noise Action Plan also committed us to ensuring we were organised in the most efficient way to address noise. We have made several changes since the plan was published in 2011, including updating our website, improving the quality of the information for residents and established our Heathrow Noise Forum.

We have also produced more engaging materials to help local people understand how they are affected by Heathrow’s operations and what we are doing to reduce the impact of noise. Our Twitter feed @HeathrowNoise is also a new way people can stay up to date with our runway operations.

The Heathrow Noise Forum was established in January 2014 and brings together representatives from DfT, CAA, NATS, IATA, British Airways, Heathrow, noise pressure group HACAN and local authorities. The forum seeks to foster collaboration in noise management at Heathrow from a range of stakeholders.

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