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Call for independent airport noise regulator

Heathrow hub

An independent developer for the proposed expansion at Heathrow Airport has called for the creation of an independent noise regulator to monitor and control noise at UK airports.

Heathrow Hub, which is behind an alternative plan to expand Heathrow by extending the northern runway as opposed to building a third runway, has called on the government to make the move.

It said that an independent aviation noise authority had already been proposed by the Airports Commission but had yet to be taken up by the government. However, Heathrow Hub said that it believed the model the Commission proposed was slightly flawed.

It said that the new regulator should be a separate department of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), therefore giving it the power and authority to persuade airports and airlines to change their procedures.

Heathrow Hub explained that because the Commission also largely envisaged its independent aviation noise authority to be a consultation body, it would not be able to affect change. Therefore, it said that the new regulator should have a system of economic incentives and penalties at its disposal to enforce change on the industry.

It also called for the new regulator to have other duties, including:

  • Independently monitoring noise
  • Introducing new operating procedures and spreading best practice
  • Consulting on new flight paths
  • Collaborating with Nats (formerly National Air Traffic Services).

“The UK’s approach to managing noise at airports is hopelessly out of date. The introduction of quieter planes and the use of new technology to better design flight paths could improve the situation for many people,” said Heathrow Hub director Jock Lowe.

“Only an independent noise regulator backed by the CAA would command public trust in this important area of community and environmental concern. We do hope the government gives consideration to this idea.”

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