Sustainable Aviation – the coalition of UK airlines, airports, aerospace manufacturers and leading air traffic service providers – has revealed the results of investments in procedures, technology and policy work to reduce the impacts of noise on UK residents over the last 5 years. A new ‘progress report’ on the Noise Road Map issued by Sustainable Aviation in April 2013, says the industry has managed to decouple growth in aviation from noise, as the number of people impacted by aircraft noise in the UK has reduced by over 12,000, despite a rise in passenger numbers of 13%.
The report says overall investments in projects to reduce noise have been increasing since the launch of the Noise Road Map. It notes that as a result of their investments, UK air carriers now have some of the youngest and most environmentally friendly fleets in the world, made up of next generation aircraft such as the Airbus A350 and Boeing 737-MAX with a noise footprint that is typically 50% smaller on departure and 30% on arrival than the aircraft they are replacing. In addition, UK air traffic provider NATS says it has delivered 60,000 quieter, continuous descent arrivals over the past two years.
Despite the significant progress made, Sustainable Aviation said it believes more can be done to achieve its goal to reduce noise output so that the industry’s total noise output remains at lower levels than those at 2010. As such, Sustainable Aviation is asking the Government to make a clear commitment into research of new aircraft and engine technologies, a sector where the UK has the potential to be a true world leader. It is also calling for the Government to improve planning rules for the use of land close to airports, which would make an important difference in managing the number of people affected by noise.
Recognizing that the effects of noise can often be subjective, and that solutions cannot be a ‘one size fits all’, Sustainable Aviation has commissioned some independent research to better understand UK communities’ concerns around noise. A discussion paper detailing out the results of this research will be issued later this year.