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Manage aircraft noise

Aircraft flying over rooftops

Addressing the concerns of people affected by noise and undertake a responsible management to reduce the impact of Heathrow’s operations wherever is possible, is one of the main priorities for our business.

Most of the noise generated by airports activities is produced by aircraft approaching or taking-off, taxiing along runways and by engine testing. Our strategy for limiting aircraft noise impacts is based on the principle of maximizing social and economic benefits of Heathrow, while minimizing its negative impacts. Instead of being a zero sum game, we aim to create and deliver social value to all our stakeholders and business.

To achieve this, our noise action plan follows the International Civil Association Organization (ICAO) “Balanced Approach” management framework. Our Noise Management considers the following elements: reduction at the source for quieter aircraft, land-use planning and management, noise abatement operational procedures and operating restrictions . See the report Towards a sustainable Heathrow - A focus on noise for more information about our noise management.

Currently around 94% of all aircraft lading at Heathrow meet the quietest noise standard set by ICAO (chapter 4). All the fines that airlines pay for breaching noise limits are invested in local community projects. Also, we invest around £9 million each year on noise mitigation activities, such as providing electricity connections to stands to reduce the noise Auxiliary Power Units, APU, and different noise schemes for local communities. Visit our noise website for detail description of our actions towards mitigating noise.


Aircraft noise management approach

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We influence by

Seeking to ensure airlines comply with the Government's noise policies as well as internal operational policies and process through:

  • Restricting the use of noisy, on-board APU and offer alternative power sources and pre-conditioned air stands for Aircraft on the Ground
  • Reducing noise from engine testing and restricting the location, duration and timing of tests. See Airbus A380 new departure procedure case study.

Engaging with policy makers in the development of national management policy and land use planning policy.

For more information on our progress in this area see our Action Plan Summary (449KB PDF)

Sustainability awards

Sustainability BITC pink planters