Control of Noise
In common with Heathrow and Stansted, Gatwick Airport is designated under section 80 of the Civil Aviation Act 1982 for the purposes of the regulation of noise. Noise from aircraft using the ‘designated’ aerodromes is regulated according to notices and directions made under section 78 of the 1982 Act. This gives the Secretary of State powers to direct aircraft operators using these airports, or the airport operators themselves, to adopt procedures which limit noise and vibration.
Noise Exposure Contours
London Airspace Consultation (LAMP)
The airspace around Gatwick is the busiest airspace in the world due to the UK’s geographical position in Europe and the proximity of several other major airports. As a result of this NATS and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) are working together on a project called LAMP (London Airspace Management Programme). This programme is re-designing the airspace around London in order to simplify its control and operation, to create capacity and to reduce environmental impact. Gatwick Airport Limited is working in partnership with NATS to ensure the airspace around Gatwick is designed to take maximum opportunities to reduce noise and emissions.
In October 2013 the first phase of public consultation by NATS and Gatwick Airport Limited sought comments on the initial thoughts for the future use of airspace – Click here to see the consultation document. GATCOM responded to that consultation – click here to see our response. GATCOM also responded to second public consultation in 2014 – click here to see our second response.
The LAMP consultation generated significant feedback from the community to Gatwick, NATS and other industry bodies. As a result, in September 2014 Gatwick Airport Limited withdrew the proposals for Gatwick from the first phase of LAMP, agreeing that it was necessary to undertake further work first, before decisions can be taken on the best way to design and implement any changes.
The consequence of this decision is that the likely timeframe for implementation of any LAMP related airspace changes for Gatwick is now post 2022. Any future proposed airspace changes will be subject to the CAA’s airspace change process, which includes a period of consultation.
Consultation on P-RNAV departure routes at Gatwick Airport
In July 2012 Gatwick Airport Limited launched a consultation on proposals to accurately refine the existing aircraft departure routes from Gatwick Airport (RNAV-1 departure SIDs). The consultation closed in November 2012.
RNAV-1 departure SIDs were made mandatory on all departures routes at Gatwick in May 2014, after which the CAA began a review process called a post-implementation review (PIR) which is standard practice following an airspace change. This review began in November 2014 and was published in November 2015. Full details of the CAA’s PIR can be found on the CAA’s website
The review concluded that 8 out of Gatwick’s 9 routes were fully compliant and were approved.
One route however (Route 4/ 26 LAM) required some work to make it more accurate and fully compliant. The review also stated that two other routes – Route 2/08 SFD – an easterly route which turns south past East Grinstead and Route 5/08CLN – an easterly route which heads straight out – needed slight modification in order to increase the accuracy of the aircraft tracks. More details about Gatwick Airport Limited’s work to progress these changes are given on the airport’s website.
Night Noise Restrictions
The Government has imposed restrictions on night flights at Gatwick for many years. The current night flying regime was set in July 2014 following a two stage consultation process in 2013. The regime runs from October 2014 to October 2017. This was shorter than many past regimes, which have usually been set for periods of around five years, as the Government wanted to wait for the Airports Commission to conclude its work on airport capacity before making any substantial changes to the previous night flight restrictions.
Gatwick is currently limited to 14,450 flights during the night quota period – 11,200 in the summer and 3,250 in the winter. Gatwick Airport Limited is required to report on the usage of its noise quota and movements limits details of which are included in the airport’s Flight Performance Team’s quarterly report which is available on the airport’s website.
The Government published its consultation on proposals for the next night flights regime for Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports on 12 January 2017. The consultation document is available on the DfT’s website. The deadline for responses is 28 February 2017. GATCOM has submitted a response to the consultation – click here to see.
Noise Action Plan
The Environmental Noise (England) Regulations 2006 require airport operators to develop noise action plans designed to manage noise and effects arising from aircraft departing from and arriving at their airport, including reduction if necessary.
In July 2013 the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) provided amended guidance for airport operators in respect of the production of noise action plans under the terms of the Environmental noise (England) Regulations. Existing action plans are to be revised taking into account current DEFRA noise mapping (as required by the EC Environmental Noise Directive), airport specific operational changes, new actions that may influence aircraft noise and progress against actions within the current action plan.
The guidance states that the airport operator will present its revised action plan to the airport consultative committee for comment after which the airport operator will reflect on comments raised and include them in the revised plan together with a response to the issues raised. GATCOM therefore has a role in the development and monitoring of Gatwick’s Noise Action Plan 2013-2018.
Gatwick’s Noise Action Plan is a living document and is reviewed every three years. The Airport consulted interested parties on the review of the action plan in 2012 and submitted the reviewed plan to the Government for endorsement. DEFRA approved the reviewed plan in September 2014. The Noise Action Plan 2013 -2018 is now available on the Airport’s website.
The progress made by Gatwick Airport Limited in delivering the actions contained in the Noise Action Plan is reported quarterly to the Airport’s Noise and Track Monitoring Advisory Group (NATMAG) and annually to GATCOM. Click here to see the Progress Status Report 2016.