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UK Civil Aviation Regulations

These are published by the CAA on our UK Regulations pages. EU Regulations and EASA Access Guides published by EASA no longer apply in the UK. Our website and publications are being reviewed to update all references. Any references to EU law and EASA Access guides should be disregarded and where applicable the equivalent UK versions referred to instead.

Noise legislation

The world's noisiest airliners are effectively banned from UK airports.

Any subsonic jet aeroplane that has either

  • a maximum take-off mass of 34,000kg or more, or
  • more than 19 passenger seats

must meet the noise standards set out in Chapter 3 of Part II, Volume 1 of Annex 16 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation.


The CAA can grant temporary exemptions from these requirements to specific flights, but only in very specific circumstances. Exemptions may be granted where the CAA is satisfied:

  • (a) that the operations of the aeroplane are of such an exceptional nature that it would be unreasonable to withhold an exemption (for example urgent relief flights, official visits by Heads of State); or
  • (b) that the aeroplane is being operated on a non-revenue flight for the purposes of alterations, repair or maintenance.

We publish any exemptions that we grant:

The CAA will also consider applications for exemptions in relation to aeroplanes of historical interest.

Applying for an exemption

To apply for a noise exemption, you will need to contact:

Strategy and Policy
Civil Aviation Authority
5th floor
Westferry House
11 Westferry Circus
E14 4HD


Trevor Metson
Telephone: 033 0138 2750
Email: trevor.metson@caa.co.uk

If you need to reach us out of hours, please call the CAA's Duty Officer. One of us will then respond as soon as we can:

Telephone: 0330 022 1500
From outside the UK: +44 330 022 1500

Please note that an exemption will not be issued where the flight could reasonably be operated using a noise compliant aircraft, even if, for example, the noise compliant aircraft will cost more to charter or has a capacity or payload greater than needed.

What to include in an application

  • Details of the flight(s), including date, time and purpose
  • Aircraft type, registration and operator
  • Why a noise compliant aircraft cannot be used (if the reason is lack of availability, evidence should be produced of efforts to source a noise compliant aircraft)
  • Whether the UK airport concerned has been consulted

and, in the case of urgent relief flights:

  • On whose behalf each item of cargo is being carried (e.g. aid organisations)
  • A brief description of each item of cargo

Consultation with the DfT

Before granting an exemption, the CAA is required to consult the Secretary of State for Transport. The CAA is also likely to consult with the Department for Transport in cases where the CAA is not convinced that an application fully meets the criteria for exemption.

Grant of an exemption

The grant of any exemption will be on the public record. No passengers or cargo may be carried for hire or reward on positioning sectors. The exemption will specify a date, UK airport for each flight, and each take off or landing at the UK airport. Times will usually be limited to the hours 0830 to 2030 local time. A copy of the exemption should be carried on the flight deck at all times. In the case of an urgent out-of-hours application, the exemption will be authorised by telephone under a unique reference number.

Legislative background

The Aeroplane Noise Regulations 1999 (as amended) require that any civil subsonic jet aeroplanes with a maximum take-off mass of 34,000kg or more, or with more than 19 passenger seats, shall not be operated at any airport in the United Kingdom on or after 1 April 2002 unless that aeroplane complies with requirements which meet the standards specified in Part II, Chapter 3, Volume 1 of Annex 16 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation. This requirement effectively bans the noisiest airliners from UK airports. Regulation 25 gives the CAA the ability to grant specific, temporary exemptions from this ban.

Other relevant UK noise legislation

Assimilated Regulation (EU) 598/2014 sets out a framework for the introduction of airport-specific measures with a view to addressing noise problems in the most cost-effective way on an airport-by-airport basis. There is no blanket prohibition of noisy aircraft, other than those identified above. Instead, the Regulation sets out a process that must be followed where such action is being contemplated, a process designed to enable local solutions to be developed for local problems.

Other links

More information about the CAA's environmental work.

More information about noise certification