FAQ Answer

FAQ Answer

Who is in charge of aviation noise in the UK, and internationally?

In the United Kingdom, government policy on the control of aircraft noise is the responsibility of the Department for Transport (DfT). However, apart from at three airports – Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, where DfT retains direct responsibility for regulating aviation noise – the overall policy is that noise issues are best handled at a local level by the airport and the relevant local authority, engaging with people who are affected by noise.

That means decisions about whether aircraft can operate at night, and how many aircraft are allowed to fly on any given day, etc are generally made by local authorities when they give permission for an airport to be built or expanded.

The CAA has the final say on where are aircraft are allowed to fly – and has a legal obligation to consider noise impact as well as safety and the efficiency of airspace when deciding whether a proposed route is acceptable.

Internationally, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) is a United Nations body that is responsible for setting out the noise certification limits and test procedures that all new aircraft designs are required to comply with. These include maximum limits on how noisy aircraft can be.

The EU’s main role in regard to noise is to apply the ICAO rules through the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and to decide whether certain types of aircraft are allowed to operate within Europe on the basis of their certified noise levels. European Directives introduced in 1992 and 2002 banned some of the noisiest types of aircraft from operating here. The EU has also put in place rules that harmonise how aviation noise is measured across Europe and to define a common framework for the introduction of airport noise related operating restrictions.