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Aircraft Noise

Volume 118: debated on Monday 29 June 1987

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asked the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he proposes to take to reduce nuisance from aircraft noise.

The ban of non noise-certificated jets on the UK register from 1.1.86 has been successful in environmental terms. It will be followed by a similar ban of foreign-registered noisy jets from the beginning of next year. We are now turning our attention to the next generation of jets, the so called "chapter 2" types, and with our partners in Europe, examining ways in which they too might be gradually phased out, starting in the mid 1990s.The Secretary of State has used his powers to designate Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports for noise regulation purposes.The Government have thus placed restrictions on the number and type of aircraft movements at specified hours at night at these airports. They have also made regulations to concentrate aircraft movements immediately after takeoff from those airports on defined paths, chosen to avoid, as far as possible, major built-up areas. Responsibility for routes further away from airports rests with the Civil Aviation Authority.At Heathrow and Gatwick, the Government have imposed maximum noise limits for aircraft taking off, by day and by night. Such limits will be introduced at Stansted as the airport develops.The restrictions on aircraft movements at night at these airports apply until March 1988. The Government are considering what restrictions on such movements should apply thereafter. As stated in the 1986 White Paper on airports policy, they do not propose to ban all night flights at these airports.In consultation with the British Airports Authority, as it then was, the Government made noise insulation grant schemes at Heathrow and Gatwick whereby the authority paid grants to insulate living accommodation where the occupants were seriously troubled by aircraft noise. The most recent schemes ended in March 1985. The Government are reviewing the schemes and will consider corrective action if the objectives of the schemes have not been met. This review has not yet been completed. The Government will consider further whether insulation grants at designated airports should be extended to schools and hospitals, or at least to those parts where the work is particularly sensitive to aircraft noise. It will be some time before Her Majesty's Government will be able to decide, after consulting BAA and other interested parties, whether such schemes would be practicable or cost effective.It is intended that a noise insulation grants scheme similar to those at Heathrow and Gatwick will be introduced at Stansted when passenger numbers reach 2 million passengers per year.BAA already monitors noise in the vicinity of Heathrow and Gatwick and is working with the Department of Transport in the development of new systems for monitoring noise and track-keeping in the vicinity of those airports. It is intended that similar systems will be introduced at Stansted.