• The tables below show the three noisiest airports in the UK, using two different measures, Leq and Lden. Information on these measures can be found at the bottom of the page.

    Airport Area within 57dBA Leq
    day time contour (Km2)
    Population within 57dBA Leq
    day time contour (000s)
    Year Period
    Heathrow 107.3 264.2 2013 Summer
    Gatwick 40.9 3.2 2013 Summer
    Manchester 26.3 24.6 2011 Annual

    Airport Area within 55dBA Lden
    contour (Km2)
    Population within 55dBA Lden
    contour (000s)
    Year Period
    Heathrow 221.9 766.1 2011 Annual
    Gatwick 85.6 11.3 2011 Annual
    Manchester 57.5 73.4 2011 Annual

    Note on measures used

    The two basic measures for assessing the impact of noise are:

    • Leq which means the ‘equivalent continuous sound level’. The UK Government considers a Leq of over 57dBA to represent the noise level for the onset of significant community annoyance.
    • Lden which uses an annual average of the Leq but also takes into account the additional annoyance/disturbance of noise generated in the evening and at night.

    To assess the impact of noise, analysts identify how many homes and residents are located in areas where the Leq is over 57dBA or the Lden is over 55dBA. These areas are said to be within a certain 'noise contour'.