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NEW DEPARTURE NOISE LIMITS FOR THE LONDON AIRPORTS

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Lower noise limits for aircraft departing from Heathrow, Gatwick ...
Lower noise limits for aircraft departing from Heathrow, Gatwick
and Stansted and more efficient noise monitoring arrangements
announced by Chris Mullin, Under Secretary ofState.
This should lead to small but worthwhile reductions in noise for many
of those overflown by aircraft that have taken off from these
airports, and to substantial improvements in monitoring efficiency
compared with the arrangements that applied before 1997.
In response to a Parliamentary Question, Chris Mullin said
'On 24 November 1997 the Department of the Environment, Transport and
the Regions published a new consultation paper proposing lower noise
limits and improved monitoring arrangements. This consultation
followed the Court Order of 16 April 1997, made after challenges by
the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to the 1996
decision on this subject. The Order, made with the consent of the
parties, enabled interim arrangements to be put in place until the
outcome of the new consultation.
The November 1997 paper was also challenged by IATA but the
association withdrew its application for leave to apply for judicial
review when the Department undertook to publish a supplementary
consultation paper. That was done on 26 March 1999. All the
proposals were unchanged. They were:
a) to relate the noise limits to a fixed reference distance, 6.5 km
from start of roll;
b) to continue to monitor noise levels at the fixed monitors in Lmax
dBA and to apply the noise limits to all departing aircraft except
Concorde and a number of specified exemptions (see h below);
c) to reduce the noise limits by 3 dBA (daytime) and 2 dBA
(night-time), to 94 dBA and 87 dBA respectively;
d) to retain the five monitors at Gatwick and eight monitors at
Stansted currently operating under the interim arrangement, but to
resite a Stansted monitor to a better position. At Heathrow to keep
the eight sites in the interim arrangements and to add two further
monitors as previously proposed;
e) to calculate the positional adjustments on a revised basis;
f) to allow a reduction of not more than 2 dB of the noise recorded
in specified tail wind conditions;
g) to require aircraft to be at a height of 1000ft aal at 6.5 km from
start of roll;
h) to exempt from the new daytime noise limits certain aircraft given
exemptions from the Chapter 2 phase out requirements in accordance
with the provisions of the EC Directive; i) to begin a further review
of both monitoring efficiency and noise limits in 2000.
'Comments were invited on any aspect of the proposals and on the
details covered in the supplementary paper. The closing date for
responses was 4 June 1999. Taking account of the information and
comments we received, we have decided to implement the proposals,
with two modifications:
a) to reduce the night-time noise limit by 2 dB, to 87 dBA as
proposed, but to apply it only during the night quota period (
2330-0600), retaining the present night-time limit (89 dBA) for the
rest of the night period, 2300-2330 and 0600-0700;
b) to implement the new daytime noise limit of 94 dBA from 25
February 2001 but to implement the new night-time noise limit from
the start of the next summer night restrictions season (ie from 25
March 2001), rather than between 2 to 3 months from the date of the
decision announcement, as was indicated in the consultation paper.
'Also, for technical reasons, for the purpose of the tailwind
allowance I have decided to use wind data from an alternative source
to that described in the consultation paper. I am satisfied that it
is appropriate to use data from the on-airfield anemometers and wind
vanes in the formula for the tailwind allowance proposed in the
consultation paper (ie without making it necessary to adjust the
formula).
'The reduction of 3 dB in the daytime limit represents a halving of
noise energy but only a small reduction in loudness. This is a long
accepted scientific fact; it is not disputed in the responses. The
cumulative effect of even small improvements should be of benefit to
many local residents, particularly those living under the departure
routes from about 6.5 km from start of roll out to about 15 km.
These small improvements will occur whenever an aircraft flies
overhead that has changed its procedures (or adopted other measures)
to meet the new noise limits.
'Some major airlines consider they will incur disproportionate costs
to achieve these small benefits; conversely, many of the local
authorities and other groups representing those living around the
airports consider there should there should be greater noise
reductions, to give greater benefits. I am satisfied that the
requirements announced today are reasonable, having regard to what is
operationally achievable (as explained in the consultation paper), to
the costs that may be incurred by some airlines, the benefits that
will accrue to many local residents, as I have already indicated, and
the disbenefits that will be caused to others, particularly the far
smaller number of people living very close to the end of a runway.
Operators of heavily laden services bound for Asia-Pacific
destinations that are scheduled to take off in the late evening,
which would have particular difficulty in meeting the new night-time
noise limit if delayed beyond 2300 hours, should be able to plan
their operations with greater certainty in the light of our decision
not to apply the toughest limit until 2330. I should emphasise that I
do not want to encourage late departures. On the contrary, I trust
operators of these services will continue to do their best to
minimise delays: that will be of benefit both to their customers and
to local people.
'The full decision, and the reasons for it, are set out in the
document 'Noise limits for aircraft departing from Heathrow, Gatwick
and Stansted airports: decision of December 2000' copies of which
have been placed in the House Library.
'Copies of all the responses, excepting details for which the author
has requested confidentiality, are available for inspection by prior
appointment at the DETR Library and Information Centre, Ashdown
House, 123 Victoria Street, London SW1E 6DE.'
NOTES
Copies of the November 1997 consultation paper, and of the
supplementary paper are available from DETR, Aviation Environmental
Division, Zone 1/33, Great Minster House, 76 Marsham Street, London,
SW1P 4DR, telephone 020 7944 5796.
Copies of all the responses, excepting details for which the
author has requested confidentiality, are available for inspection by
prior appointment at the DETR Library and Information Centre, Ashdown
House, 123 Victoria Street, London SW1E 6DE. Appointments can be
made by calling the Librarian on 020 7944 2002.
There are no noise limits for arriving aircraft similar to those
for departing aircraft. The possibility of setting noise limits for
arriving aircraft was considered recently by the Aircraft Noise
Monitoring Advisory Committee but they concluded that it would be
impractical. Their report, published on 10.2.00, set out a range of
options to reduce noise and recommended there should be a new code of
practice to promote the use of continuous descent approaches. The
Minister for Aviation has invited the aviation industry to develop
such a code.
NOISE LIMITS FOR AIRCRAFT DEPARTING FROM HEATHROW, GATWICK AND
STANSTED AIRPORTS: DECISION OF DECEMBER 2000
1. Chris Mullin MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the
Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions today
announced the Secretary of State's decision on the noise limits and
related noise monitoring arrangements to apply at London's three
major airports. In his answer to a Parliamentary Question from
Fiona Mactaggart MP, Chris Mullin referred to this document. His
answer and this document together set out the decision.
Introduction
2. On 24 November 1997 the Department of the Environment, Transport
and the Regions published a new consultation paper proposing lower
noise limits and improved monitoring arrangements. This consultation
followed the Court Order of 16 April 1997, made after challenges by
the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to the 1996
decision on this subject. The Court Order, made with the consent of
the parties, enabled interim arrangements to be put in place until
the outcome of the new consultation. The November 1997 paper was also
challenged by IATA but the association withdrew its application for
leave to apply for judicial review when the Department undertook to
publish a supplementary consultation paper. We published that
supplementary paper on 26 March 1999. All the proposals were
unchanged. They were: a) to relate the noise limits to a fixed
reference distance, 6.5 km from start of roll; b) to continue to
monitor noise levels at the fixed monitors in Lmax dBA and to apply
the noise limits to all departing aircraft except Concorde and a
number of specified exemptions (see h below); c) to reduce the
noise limits by 3 dBA (daytime) and 2 dBA (night-time), to 94 dBA and
87 dBA respectively; d) to retain the five monitors at Gatwick and
eight monitors at Stansted currently operating under the interim
arrangement, but to resite a Stansted monitor to a better position.
At Heathrow to keep the eight sites in the interim arrangements and
to add two further monitors as previously proposed; e) to calculate
the positional adjustments on a revised basis; f) to allow a
reduction of not more than 2 dB of the noise recorded in specified
tail wind conditions; g) to require aircraft to be at a height of
1000ft aal at 6.5 km from start of roll; h) to exempt from the new
daytime noise limits certain aircraft given exemptions from the
Chapter 2 phase out requirements in accordance with the provisions of
the EC Directive; i) to begin a further review of both monitoring
efficiency and noise limits in 2000.
3. Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports are designated for the
purposes of section 78 of the Civil Aviation Act 1982. This enables
the Secretary of State to impose requirements on departing or landing
aircraft for the purpose of limiting or of mitigating the effect of
noise. These powers (and similar powers under earlier legislation)
have been used to set noise limits for departing aircraft. The noise
limits, the sites of the noise monitors and other related details,
are set out in notices published in the United Kingdom Aeronautical
Information Publication.
4. Noise limits were set for Heathrow in 1959 at 110 PNdB (day) and
102 PNdB (night). They were applied at Gatwick in 1968 and at
Stansted in 1993. Noise monitors were installed specifically for
recording noise against the limits. The noise limits have never been
changed except that when the airports' new noise and track keeping
system (NTK) was installed in 1992-93 the peak noise event levels
were defined in Lmax dBA, the equivalents of the old limits being 97
dBA (day) and 89 dBA (night). The number of noise monitors, and their
locations, have varied over the years. The NTK system installed in
1992-93 comprised 7 fixed noise monitors at Heathrow, 2 at Gatwick
and 3 at Stansted1.
5. The noise monitors are operated by the airport companies, which
levy financial penalties on operators of offending aircraft under
their charging powers. These penalties were introduced for breaches
of the night noise limit in spring 1993. Penalties for breaches of
the day time limit were introduced in April 1994 for the first two
and last two hours (7am - 9am and 9pm - 11pm) and they were
subsequently extended to the whole of the day period at all three
airports. The current penalties are #500 for exceeding the relevant
limit (either day or night) by 3 dBA or less, #1000 for breaches of
more than 3 dBA.
The Review
6. In the 1985 Airports Policy White Paper2 the then Government
undertookto review policy on noise limits and monitoring. They took
account of the recommendation of Mr Graham Eyre QC, Inspector at the
1981-83 Airport Inquiries, that the noise limits and noise monitoring
procedures should be reviewed with a view to introducing lower limits
by 1 January 1986. The then Government noted that as quieter aircraft
had come into operation the rate of compliance with the noise limits
at Heathrow had improved significantly. However, they considered the
suggestion that changes should be made to the noise limits to
coincide with the 1 January 1986 ban on UK registered non
noise-certificated subsonic jet aeroplanes was unrealistic 'because
of the need to consider all options fully and consult the relevant
interests'. The Government undertook to review its policy on noise
limits and monitoring and to consider what improvements might be
made. This led to the review which was initiated in 1993, as
explained in paragraph 8 of the November 1997 consultation paper.
The subsequent course of events was summarised at paragraphs 9 to 16
of that paper and paragraphs 1 and 2 of the supplementary paper.
Policy and Objectives
7. The policy on the control, abatement and mitigation of aircraft
noise set out in the 1985 Airports Policy White Paper continued the
broad strategy followed by successive Governments since the 1960s.
In 1997 the present Government indicated its intention to continue
that broad strategy. Among the objectives which the Government is
setting for UK airports policy, within a framework for the
sustainable development of an integrated transport infrastructure, is
the need to minimise the impact of airports on the environment while
ensuring that land use planning and conservation policies take
account of the economic benefits of development from maintaining a
strong and competitive British airline industry and providing
sufficient airport capacity where it is economically and
environmentally justified. This necessarily involves striking a
balance between the needs of an efficient aviation industry,
providing jobs and serving the local, regional and national economy,
and the need to minimise the impact on the environment and the
communities around airports.
8. The Department's general aim in noise monitoring is to help
reduce the impact of aircraft noise around airports. As noted in the
November 1997 consultation paper, specific objectives and measures
include :
* encouraging the use of quieter aircraft and best operating
practice;
* deterring excessively noisy movements by detecting and penalising
them;
* measuring the effectiveness of noise abatement measures by
analysing infringement rates.
An important objective in the early days of noise monitoring was
'protecting' built up areas - usually the first such area under a
departure route - and the fixed monitors were positioned accordingly.
Another monitoring strategy was to locate monitors as 'gateway pairs'
either side of a departure route on the assumption that aircraft
would fly between them. Nowadays, neither of these approaches is
necessarily consistent with the specific objectives detailed above,
nor would they ensure uniformity of protection at the three airports
or between the various departure routes at each airport. Locating
noise monitors to 'protect' individual communities is, at first
sight, an attractive proposition but has been found not to work well
in practice.
Responses to the consultation
9. The noise limits consultation attracted 97 responses before the
supplementary paper was issued, 60 further responses before the 4
June 1999 deadline and 8 responses after that. In total, 128
individuals, local authorities, environmental and residents' groups,
consumer and business user interests, airports, airlines and related
aviation interests. There were very few responses from individuals
and few from individual airlines but there was a good level of
response from representative organisations - local authorities and
environmental groups, the airport consultative committees, and
airline organisations. The responses were polarised, as is often the
case on aircraft noise issues, and several were strongly worded. In
general, local authorities and environmental groups thought the
proposed reductions to the noise limits were too little and long
overdue, whereas the airlines considered the proposals too stringent.
Concerns on some international aspects and on emissions feature more
prominently in some of the responses than in the consultation paper.
10. The reduction in both limits is supported by 63 local authorities
and environmental groups and others although many expressed
reservations about what were felt to be very modest reductions. Some
linked the limits to the night restrictions and called for a complete
ban of flights at night. (These responses predated the night
restrictions decision announcement of 10 June 1999.) The airline
industry consider the daytime noise limit is not achievable by older
747s (some, such as 747-200s certificated to Chapter 2 standards,
cannot operate after 31.3.2002 but others, such as 747-200s
certificated to Chapter 3 standards, can continue in service) and
that the Department has greatly underestimated the weight reductions
needed to enable aircraft to meet the new limit, and the economic
impact this would have on the airlines. They say the problem is
greater for the night-time noise limit, which could also affect the
B747-400s (the current model) and A340s (the largest Airbuses), with
a major impact on their operations. Probably for this reason, in most
of the industry responses, neither the arguments nor the economic and
financial information are neatly broken down into 'day' and 'night':
in practice, the night-time limit poses the greatest difficulty for
flights that are scheduled to take off in the late evening (about
9.30-10 pm, when the day time limit applies) but are susceptible to
delays into the night period.
11. Although the supplementary consultation paper was chiefly focused
on far out noise displacement, the whole subject of noise
displacement (including the increased noise around the airport
boundary that is a consequence of higher power take-offs by heavy
aircraft) was of very little concern to respondents. However,
airlines supported their arguments for moving the monitors further
out by saying this would avoid creating far out noise displacement.
Local authorities and environmental groups inclined to the
Government's view as expressed in paragraph 22 of the supplementary
paper.
Decisions taken after consideration of all the responses
12. Under the terms of the Court Order3 the Government is required to
take account of the following (but not only the following) relevant
considerations :
(a) The extent to which the requirements are operationally
achievable;
(b) The effects of the requirements upon :
(i) the capacity and use of aircraft and the aerodromes for the
transport of passengers and/or cargo;
(ii) the economic operation of aircraft and the aerodromes;
(iii) the international competitiveness of the aerodromes; (c) The
compatibility of the requirements with the government policies
concerning ;
(i) the phase-out regime for Chapter 2 aircraft and
(ii) the Night Restrictions operating at the aerodromes as
contained in the London Heathrow, London Gatwick and London Stansted
Airports Noise Restrictions (No 1) Notice 1997;
(d) Any displacement effect of noise or vibration to the detriment
of any residential community.'
13. Other matters that we considered relevant when drawing up the
consultation paper and the supplementary paper were: (e) Government
policy on the control abatement and mitigation of aircraft noise;
(f) the sustainable development of integrated transport
infrastructure;
(g) the objectives of noise monitoring;
(h) the noise improvements;
(i) the balance between environmental concerns and those of industry.
14. The Court Order recognised that 'the weight to be attached to
any consideration is, subject to the relevant principles of public
law, a matter for the Secretary of State to determine in the exercise
of his discretion.'.
15. The consultation paper set out the reasoning supporting each of
the proposals and further information was provided in the
supplementary paper. We have decided to implement all the proposals
as set out in paragraph 2 (a) to (i) above, but with two
modifications:
a) to reduce the night-time noise limit by 2 dB, to 87 dBA as
proposed, but to apply it only during the night quota period
(2330-0600), retaining the present night-time limit (89 dBA) for the
rest of the night period, 2300-2330 and 0600-0700;
b) to implement the new daytime noise limit of 94 dBA from 25
February 2001 but to implement the new night-time noise limit from
the start of the next summer night restrictions season (ie from 25
March 2001) rather than between 2 to 3 months from the date of the
decision announcement, as was indicated in the consultation paper.
16. Our reasons for these modifications are, in summary, that
applying the new 87 dBA limit from 2330-0600, with the present
night-time limit of 89 dB being retained for the balance of the night
period, will ensure greater consistency with the night restrictions
regime. They will also reduce the problem (and potential costs) that
would otherwise arise for operators of the heavily laden services
bound for Asia-Pacific destinations that are scheduled to take off in
the late evening, which would have particular difficulty in meeting
the proposed new night-time noise limit if they are delayed beyond
2300. Giving an extra half hour leeway before the new limit applies
should provide considerable assurance to these operators in planning
their operations and reduce the costs that they might otherwise
incur. The night restrictions apply on a seasonal basis and airlines
take this into account when planning their operations, including
daytime operations susceptible to being delayed into the night
period. It might cause additional scheduling problems and
disproportionate costs for these airlines if we implemented the new
night-time limit part way through a season.
17. For the purpose of the tailwind allowance, for technical reasons
relating to the NTK system, we have decided to use wind data from an
alternative source, the on-airfield anemometers and wind vanes, to
that described in the consultation paper. We are satisfied that it is
appropriate to use this data in the formula for the tailwind
allowance proposed in the consultation paper (without any adjustments
or modifications to the formula).
The overall effect of the decisions
18. The overall effect of these decisions is to put in place new
noise limits and noise monitoring arrangements at Heathrow, Gatwick
and Stansted that will apply to all aircraft other than Concorde (and
with exemption from the new daytime noise limit for certain specified
aircraft until 31.3.2002). This will contribute to the achievement
of the Government's objectives set out in the consultation paper and
confirmed at paragraphs 7 and 8 above.
19. In reaching our decisions we took account of all the matters set
out in paragraphs 12 and 13 above and all the responses that we
received to the consultation. The extent to which we have decided to
modify the proposals that we put to consultation reflects the weight
that we have attached to the economic and financial information
provided by airlines and their representative organisations in their
responses.
20. We believe that our decisions, in total, strike an appropriate
balance between the needs of the aviation industry and the need to
minimise the effects on the environment and the communities around
the three airports. We recognise that both the costs and the benefits
of our decisions will not be shared evenlybetween, on the one hand,
all the airlines operating from those airports and, on the other
hand, between all communities around the airports. Nevertheless, we
believe that the overall effects of our decision will be far more
equitable than the earlier non-standardised arrangements. Aircraft
operators will be subject to consistent requirements at the three
airports, and on all the departure routes at those airports, and
local people living under the usual tracks of aircraft departing from
the three airports will have comparable protection from individual
aircraft noise events. In terms of aircraft making less noise than
they otherwise might, the benefits will accrue chiefly to those
living at distances from 6.5 km to about 15 km from start of roll,
but diminishing with distance. Closer in towards the airports there
are far fewer people, while communities substantially further out
already experience lower noise levels and should continue to do so.
21. Our decisions on the individual proposals are considered further
below. However, our nine proposals were closely interrelated. The
interrelationship between the noise limits, 'stringency', and the
effectiveness of the monitoring positions, 'efficiency', was
explained in paragraphs 23, 28 and 31 of the November 1997 paper and
paragraph 23 of the supplementary paper. Many points made in the
responses are similarly interrelated, as are our decisions on the
nine proposals. To avoid undue repetition, points are generally
covered only under the heading to which they most obviously relate
but this does not mean they were not taken into account in our
decisions on the other proposals.
To relate the noise limits to a fixed reference distance, 6.5 km from
start of roll
22. The proposal that the noise limits should be related to a fixed
reference distance in relation to the runway and aircraft departure
tracks, and that this distance should be 6.5 km from start of roll,
was explained in paragraphs 19 to 22 of the November 1997
consultation paper. Further information was provided at paragraphs 5
to 24 of the supplementary paper.
23. A substantial proportion of local authorities and environmental
groups expressed positive support for this proposal and many others
supported it implicitly. A few wanted more account to be taken of
specific community locations.
24. None of the airlines or airline organisations that commented was
against a standard reference distance, although several were strongly
against the 6.5 km distance proposed. IATA suggested a standard
distance of 7.5 km (and the possibility of a lower daytime limit at
that point) to enable large four-engined aircraft which could not
reach 1000 ft at 6.5 km, to cut-back [without altering other aspects
of their operations] and to allow some other aircraft to cut-back at
1500 ft, rather than 1000 ft, resulting in a noise benefit for
residents who live further out from the airport. However, this would
reduce, if not entirely eliminate, the benefits that the Government's
proposals were intended to bring to people living closer to the
airports, who already suffer higher noise levels than those further
out.
25. There are two points, acknowledged in the consultation paper, on
which airlines have raised very specific questions. These are:
(i) that in the UK, for safety reasons, aircraft cannot cutback
power until they reach a height of 1000 ft above the ground
(paragraph 22 of the November 1997 paper refers);
(ii) that, largely for safety reasons, airlines usually use the same
operating procedures for all departure routes from a particular
airport and that some aim to use the same operating procedures at
every airport from which they operate (see paragraph 18 of the
November 1997 paper).
26. Nothing relating to the proposals that we put to consultation is
unsafe. In respect of (i), the Secretary of State expects airlines
to take this into account when considering what operating procedures
and other measures (see para 48 of the 1997 paper) they will adopt in
order to meet the proposed new noise limits. This was explained in
paragraph 48 of the November 1997 paper and paragraphs 39 to 42 of
the supplementary paper. He accepts this will impose some costs and
scheduling difficulties on some airlines and has taken this into
account.
27. In respect of (ii), BA have commented that 'aircraft operators
have very little scope to alter departure procedures, as they are
mandated to apply the requirements of JAR-OPS4 1.235, which states:
'(a) An operator shall establish operating procedures for noise
abatement during instrument flight operations in compliance with ICAO
PANS OPS Volume 1 (Doc 8168-OPS/611).
(b) Take-off climb procedures for noise abatement specified by an
operator for any one aeroplane type should be the same for all
aerodromes.'
28. The Secretary of State is satisfied that there is nothing in the
proposals that we have decided to confirm that could conflict with
the requirements of PANS OPS. JAR-OPS 1.235 (b) is a potential area
of difficulty, not only for the UK but for all JAA signatories. If
taken literally, it would make it impossible to design noise
mitigation measures reflecting the location of any individual airport
and its surrounding communities. However, JAR-OPS is not yet
mandatory and we are exploring ways to get the provision clarified.
29. Where operators have already voluntarily adopted JAR-OPS into
their procedures, there is currently nothing to prevent them altering
those procedures, if necessary, to meet the noise limits and
associated requirements at the London airports.
30. The Secretary of State is satisfied that relating the noise
limits to a standard reference distance, 6.5 km from start of roll,
is acceptable on safety and technical grounds and that it will best
enable him to meet the objectives set out in paragraph 18 of the
November 1997 paper. He is also satisfied that people living around
the three airports will be given comparable protection from
individual noise events and that the benefits arising from any new
operating procedures necessary to enable aircraft to meet the
proposed new noise limits, at the 6.5 km reference distance, will
accrue to those affected by higher noise levels than those who might
benefit from an alternative arrangement, and more than outweigh the
disbenefits, in terms of 'very close-in' and 'far out noise
displacement' that could arise elsewhere.
31. The airline industry also suggested moving the monitors to 8 km
in line with a proposal which it said was currently being considered
by ANCAT, the ECAC Group of experts on the Abatement of Nuisances
Caused by Air Transport. It is the case that the idea of moving the
certification flyover point to 8 km, or having an additional point
there or at 9km, has been raised in various contexts. UK experts
have been involved in such work, within a sub-group of ANCAT, in the
context of a framework for noise related charges, and have led work
within a CAEP5 working group on the revision of certification
procedures. The proposal has not been agreed within the ANCAT group
and there is little likelihood of substantial progress being made
through CAEP for several years.
32. There is no reason to delay implementing our proposed monitoring
arrangements on account of these deliberations. If ICAO ever
formally recommend monitoring at 8 km or elsewhere we would consider
it at that juncture. Similarly, if ICAO advised any changes to noise
certification requirements, we would then consider the implications
for our noise monitoring regime.
To continue to monitor noise levels at the fixed monitors in Lmax dBA
and to apply the noise limits to all departing aircraft except
Concorde and a number of specified exemptions (see paragraphs 90-92
below)
33. The noise limits at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted have been
defined in Lmax since 1992-93, as explained in paragraph 6 of the
November 1997 paper. The reasons for preferring Lmax to other
possible units were given in paragraph 24 of that paper.
34. Two airlines commented that an earlier [1992] change in the noise
metric had represented an unacknowledged increase in stringency for
the heaviest types of aircraft. The effect of the 1992 change was not
analysed in any way comparable with our 1997 proposals. It is not
relevant in the context of the November 1997 proposals as the
starting point was DORA's analysis of actual noise performance of
aircraft operating in normal day to day conditions in 1994, published
in CS Report 9539.
35. There were no objections to the continued use of Lmax for the
purposes of the noise limits. The local authorities and environmental
groups that commented on this proposal all expressed support or
agreement. The Secretary of State has decided to implement the
proposal.
To reduce the noise limits by 3 dBA daytime, to 94 dBA; to reduce the
night-time noise limit by 2 dB, to 87 dBA as proposed, but to apply
it only during the night quota period ( 2330-0600), retaining the
present night-time limit (89 dBA) for the rest of the night period,
2300-2330 and 0600-0700
36. Our proposals to reduce the day and night-time noise limits by
3dBA and 2dBA respectively are explained at paragraphs 25 to 27 of
the November 1997 paper, with supporting information at paragraphs 48
to 58, and at 35 to 38 and 47 to 48 of the supplementary paper.
37. 86 organisations and individuals responded on the proposed new
limits. 19 airlines and industry organisations opposed the proposed
limits as too stringent, 63 (all local/environmental) accepted them
although some would have preferred the limits to be considerably more
stringent; a few local and environmental respondents opposed the
proposals outright as insufficiently stringent6. These views are
clearly irreconcilable.
38. The London Boroughs of Ealing, Hounslow and Hillingdon suggested
that differential noise limits would be more appropriate. Ealing and
Hillingdon proposed that newer, quieter aircraft should be required
to be 3 dBA quieter than the limits set for Chapter 2 aircraft
whereas Hounslow wanted the noise limits to be based on the QC
ratings of aircraft. These points are matters for the next review, as
the Government has already indicated.
39. Industry responses contest our view as to the extent to which
the UK's international obligations impinge on our proposals.
40. In paragraph 59 of the November 1997 paper we confirmed that, in
formulating our proposals we had 'taken account of the aircraft which
are most likely to have difficulties in meeting the new requirements.
In particular, ... the large long haul aircraft certificated to
Chapter 2 standards.' We stated that 'Having regard to international
commitments, the Government does not wish to impose requirements
which those aircraft could not comply with however they were
operated, on whatever route and however maintained. But this does not
mean that the Government considers that limits should be set so as to
permit every such aircraft to fly on any route however heavily
loaded. It is therefore recognized that operators may have to
reschedule aircraft within their existing fleets or deploy quieter
aircraft'.
41. The Supplementary paper addressed the related questions of
operational achievability and international obligations in the
following terms: 'IATA has called attention to what it considers to
be previously announced policies that noise restriction measures
should be (a) operationally achievable and (b) compatible with the
internationally negotiated phase-out regime for Chapter 2 aircraft by
2002. Statements to this effect in the October 1995 consultation
paper were not intended as policy statements, but the present
Government accepts, as did the previous Government, that a daytime
noise limit which most of the large long haul aircraft certificated
to ICAO Chapter 2 standards could not meet in any circumstances would
not be compatible with the UK's international obligations. As
explained in paragraph 59 of the November 1997 consultation paper,
this does not mean that the Government considers that limits should
be set so as to permit every such aircraft to fly on any route
however heavily loaded.'
42. Measures to reduce aircraft noise in the vicinity of airports
have been applied at major airports since the late 1950s, their
introduction roughly coinciding with commercial jet aircraft coming
into general use. Major work in the 1960s, under the auspices of
ICAO, led to the establishment of an international noise
certification scheme, to the development of criteria to assist States
in establishing operating procedures for effective noise abatement
without compromise to safety and to the publication, for guidance
purposes, of local material on land use planning around aerodromes.
These measures, recommended at the ICAO special meeting on aircraft
noise in the vicinity of aerodromes, held at Montreal
November-December 1969 and approved by the ICAO Council in 1970, were
and remain major components of a range of measures to ameliorate
noise around airports. They were, and updated remain, complementary
measures, not incompatible or mutually exclusive.
43. The ICAO special meeting of 1969 discussed the principles that
should be followed in the development of an international scheme for
noise certification of aircraft and the status that should be given
to its specification. It was agreed that the noise certification
scheme should be in the form of ICAO Standards. 'It was also stressed
that the ICAO Standards on noise certification would, as in the case
of other Standards, be considered as the minimum international
standards and that States could apply more stringent requirements to
the aircraft on their national registers, if they so
desired.... Foreign aircraft complying with the ICAO noise
certification Standards, would, noisewise, be allowed to operate
subject only to such additional noise restrictions that might be
specified by the responsible authority (ies) in relation to an
aerodrome (s) due to local considerations applied on a
non-discriminatory basis as between foreign and domestic aircraft.'7
44. Successive UK Governments have upheld these principles. We
believe that there is no inconsistency between our international
commitments in respect of aircraft certificated to ICAO Chapter 2
standards and the proposals published for consultation in November
1997, as explained in paragraph 48 of that paper.
45. There has been no change of Government policy on this subject.
Noise limits were set at both Heathrow and Gatwick before noise
certification standards were introduced. After noise certification
standards became effective in August 1971, UK registered non noise
certificated jet aircraft were permitted to continue in operation
until 1 January 1986 (subject to a non addition rule) and foreign
registered ones until December 1988. These non noise certificated
aircraft continued to be subject to our local departure noise limits,
even though they could not comply with those limits in all
circumstances. Requiring Chapter 2 aircraft to comply with the new
local noise limits for Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted is no different
in terms of policy or principle.
46. In both the November 1997 consultation paper and the March 1999
supplement we invited any airline which considered its economic or
financial position might be adversely affected by the proposals to
supply information. Some individual airlines and the Scheduling
Committees have provided data, some of which they said was
commercially sensitive. No airline has submitted all the information
we suggested in paragraph 62 of the November 1997 paper.
47. As already noted, our nine proposals are closely interrelated: so
too are the effects on the airlines. Because of this, the economic
and financial information provided by the airlines does not generally
distinguish between the cost of complying with the proposed new noise
limits and and the cost of complying with the proposed monitoring
arrangements. What they do attempt to separate is the effects of
meeting the proposed new day and night noise limits.
48. The industry say that the daytime noise limit is not achievable
by older 747s and that the Department has greatly underestimated the
weight reductions needed to enable aircraft to meet the new limit and
the economic impact this would have on the airlines. They say the
problem is greater for the night-time noise limit, which could also
affect the B747-400s (the current model) and A340s (the largest
Airbuses), with a major impact on their operations.
49. The Secretary of State has taken into account all the information
provided. He has noted that some of the assumptions underlying some
of the calculations, such as the take-off weight at which the
aircraft would have been likely to operate, if it were not for the
proposed noise limits, may have tended to overstate the costs to
particular airlines although he accepts they have provided the
information in good faith. He accepts that the greatest difficulty is
posed for flights that are scheduled to take off in the late evening
(from 2200 hours, as identified by the Scheduling Committees, when
the daytime limit applies) but are susceptible to delays into the
night period. These flights use mostly 747-400s and similar types
bound for Asia-Pacific destinations and comprise some of the most
heavily laden and most profitable services. The industry also drew
attention to the fact that the night restrictions regime recognises
the need for departures after 2300; noisier heavier types are allowed
to take off between 2300 and 2330 (primarily to allow for delays)
than in the night quota period, 2330-0600.
50. The proposed night-time noise limit is intended to be broadly
compatible with the night restrictions regime (although, as explained
in paragraph 27 of the November 1997 paper and paragraph 35 of the
supplement, no exact equivalence is possible between the night
restrictions and the night noise limit). When we stated this in the
November 1997 consultation paper, the night restrictions were those
that applied until October 1998 (subsequently extended to October
1999). Under those restrictions, the noisiest types of aircraft
permitted to operate in normal circumstances during the night quota
period, 2330-0600, are those classified as QC/4; under the new regime
(October 1999-2004), this remains so until summer 2002, although BAA
is in process of extending a voluntary ban on scheduling QC/4s.
Airlines questioned the ability of QC/4 aircraft (including some
747-400s) to meet the proposed night-time limit. We have already
acknowledged that some QC/4s could have difficulty meeting the limit
at the very highest operating weight. In practice, these aircraft are
the heavy late evening departures.
ENDS PART ONE OF THREE PARTS
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