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About the Noise Action Plan 2024-2028

Reducing the noise disturbance we make is very important to us. We know that noise is a big issue for many people in our local communities and we are doing all we can to find new ways to become a quieter airport. 
Our Noise Action Plan sets out our approach in five key areas. We have summarised some of the proposals below. More detail can be found in the full Noise Action Plan and Supporting Annexes.



Overview of the plan

We will explore new technologies to further reduce noise by:

  • Setting up a new Fleet Forecasting Forum (FFF), with participation from aircraft manufacturers and the top 10 airlines by movement, to predict the pace and incentivise the accelerated adoption of new technology.
  • Reviewing the landing charge structure to balance sustainable growth and environmental objectives. The aim is to accelerate the transition to a Chapter 4-free fleet before 2045 (aircraft with a noise certificate older than 2018.)
  • Conducting an operational performance study for new aircraft type variants operating at Heathrow, with guidance from the CAA.
  • Revising our Conditions of Use to require operators of A320 family aircraft to inform the Business Support Centre of those aircraft registrations that have not been retrofitted with vortex deflectors.
  • Continuing to seek an entire phase-out of noisier Chapter 3 aircraft
  • Forecasting the fleet evolution and outcomes as a result of this action plan and tracking progress annually in our noise contour reports.
  • Calculating the noise footprints of the top 10 aircraft types and their predecessor and replacement equivalents.

The flight configuration or path that planes take when arriving or departing from Heathrow, influences the level of noise experienced on the ground. How we manage operations can help to reduce noise for communities. To reduce noise from how we operate, we propose to:

  • Continue to support the achievement of the DfT night noise objective through the Quiet Night Charter.
  • Establish a Technical Engagement Forum (TEF) with membership from the aircraft manufacturers, top 10 airlines, NATS, and Heathrow Operations to undertake a review and renewal of the arrivals, departures, and ground operations Code of Practice by 2026 aimed at supporting the achievement of the noise abatement objectives. 
  • Enhance the data and understanding of the effectiveness of operational interventions such as landing gear deployment, ground noise, hybrid Noise Abatement Departure Procedures, creation of respite, slightly steeper approaches, and other AIP requirements.
  • Review the departure noise limits and fines. The work with members of the TEF and the Noise and Airspace Community Forum (NACF) will allow us to develop a preferential night route trial aimed at providing predictable periods of respite from night operations.
  • Undertake a review of the Fly Quiet and Green programme through the TEF, propose amendments by 2027, and raise the monitoring level of Continuous Descent Approach (CDA).
Quieter homes

Heathrow has implemented several Noise Insulation Schemes (NIS) in the past to assist local residents experiencing high levels of aircraft noise. As part of the Noise Action Plan, it will continue to deliver greater comfort and wellbeing to neighbouring communities. 

As a result of the current Noise Action Plan, we have completely reviewed our noise insulation and ventilation schemes for local communities, residents, and community buildings. We have also improved our Community Building Noise Insulation Scheme for schools.

In 2024, we will launch the new Round 4 (2024-2028) Noise Insulation Schemes supported by a newly created independent Prioritisation Panel. The panel will be responsible for ensuring a fair hierarchy of the phasing of residential insulation and school ventilation. The new grant scheme aims to provide 100% funding until finalisation for around 20,000 homes in local communities.  

Working closely with neighbouring councils

To ensure that noise exposure is in line with building development and awareness of noise exposure for new and existing inhabitants, we will establish a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on land-use planning and airport operations with local authorities within the 55 Lden contour.

We aim for this to facilitate the exchange of relevant data relating to the development of new noise sensitive land use and future noise exposure levels.  This MoU will foster collaboration and cooperation, promoting effective communication and working relationships. This is so that partners are better equipped to manage the impact of airport operations on surrounding communities and the environment, while ensuring that the growth of the airport is sustainable and benefits all stakeholders.

Better access to data

We will also invest in tools and systems to leverage increased access to data from our existing noise monitor network in a more efficient way. By developing creative monitoring techniques to pinpoint aircraft noise emissions and remove the noise baseline from readings, we will provide more accurate information to our local partners.

The number of air traffic movements at Heathrow is currently capped at 480,000 per year, and there are also restrictions on night flights. We will continue to restrict scheduled night flights in line with government policy and publish how well airlines comply. 

We will work with airlines and NATS to support the Quiet Night Charter, a voluntary Charter to be relaunched this year, to reduce noise and the number of flights late into the night. Our aim is to have year-on-year improvements in reducing noise.

The next step will involve reviewing and following up recommendations to amend the existing Operational Safety Instructions (OSI). These changes will relate to the use of Ground Power Units (GPU) to reduce carbon footprint and local air quality, and the limitation of Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) usage to abate noise. We also intend to reassess conditions and monitoring of engine testing to restrict this source of noise to a strict minimum. We will be working with international partners to develop a standard for the use of Preconditioned Air (PCA) and are investigating the modernisation of our infrastructure.

Additionally, we will continue leading the work with the Airport Council International (ACI) colleagues to collate a database of night restrictions internationally.

Heathrow recognises the importance of working with local communities and is committed to engaging with them through various channels and forums.

Progress already made includes the formation of The Noise and Airspace Community Forum (NACF) which replaced the Heathrow Noise Community Forum (HNCF). The new forum has a newly appointed independent chair and will play a pivotal role in bringing together industry and local stakeholders to help shape Heathrow’s approach to noise management.

To better understand and address community concerns, we continuously investigate innovative methods of detecting changes to operations that might impact residents

Additionally, we will conduct independent academic research into the effectiveness of the NIS programme in reducing highly sleep disturbed (HSD) and highly annoyed (HA) individuals and enhancing quality of life.

We will track the delivery of the NIS programme and report progress to the NACF.

It’s important that we are transparent, and so we’ll produce an annual NAP report, including a noise monitor summary for our permanent monitors, progress on our actions, and delivery of NIS programmes. An annual external audit of the NAP report will be conducted to ensure transparency, with the audit supplier being selected through the Council for the Independant Scrutiny of Heathrow Airport (CISHA).

We will undertake a social survey of noise attitudes of our local communities. In collaboration with the NACF, we will develop a joint position to identify future noise-related research that would prove valuable.

We will also work with ACI Europe and ACI World colleagues to develop a network of knowledge sharing on best practices and learning from international airports that have proven to improve wellbeing and reduce nuisance from airport noise with neighbouring communities. With the help from the CAA and the industry we will provide the NACF with annual updates on ongoing noise-related research.



Learn more about our proposals





Consultation webinar

Watch a recording of our consultation webinar

We held an online webinar on Thursday 15 June. The webinar included a presentation from the project team, followed by a Q&A session. We made a recording of the webinar so you can watch it back in your own time.



Frequently asked questions

Every five years, every airport with more than 50,000 movements per year must develop a Noise Action Plan that sets out the actions it will take over the next five-year period to reduce noise.

Reducing noise is important to Heathrow. While it is a major employer in the region, it is aware that the noise produced from air and ground operations can cause annoyance to communities. Over many years Heathrow has worked hard to shape operations to minimise impact from noise. The Noise Action Plan represents a commitment to take measures even further and aim for quieter flights and quieter nights. 

Before the Noise Action Plan is presented to the Secretary of State for approval, it must be presented to nearby communities in a consultation. That means the ideas are clearly set out, and there is an opportunity to provide Heathrow with feedback on the plan. 

The consultation has now closed. You can still contact the noise team by emailing 

Heathrow's Noise team will carefully consider all feedback as it finalises the Noise Action Plan before submitting to the Secretary of State for approval. Once approved, Heathrow will be required to deliver on the actions it has set out in the plan. 

You can contact the noise team by emailing