Reducing noise impacts in congested airspace.
Aircraft noise is an issue for almost all major airports around the world; community reaction to and perception of aircraft noise is a complex matter which requires consideration of multiple factors. Gatwick Airport Ltd (GAL) is no different. For a physically small country with a large demand for aviation activity, the UK airspace infrastructure is a scarce resource. England has one of the highest population densities in the EU and so it’s no surprise that aircraft noise will be a particular issue here. As the demand for air traffic increases and the airspace becomes saturated, it is becoming increasingly important to balance the environmental impacts of aviation with the economic benefits air travel brings to a country.
Back in August 2015, GAL commissioned an Independent Arrivals Review to see what could be done to better manage noise around the airport. This review sought to consider whether: a) Everything that could reasonably be done to alleviate the problems which local communities were raising was in fact being done; and b) The mechanisms adopted by GAL for providing information to the local community and for handling complaints were fully adequate for the task. The Arrivals Review, published in January 2016, recommended 23 specific steps to improve the management and mitigation of noise from arriving aircraft, and for better community engagement by GAL.
The Arrivals Review led to the creation of a Noise Management Board (NMB), designed to enable better accountability for and coordination of noise strategies and provide a transparent process for regular review and update on noise reducing initiatives. The NMB comprised representatives from industry, local communities and the airport, led by an independent chairperson, and supported by technical advisors. In 2016, GAL commissioned us to provide project management support and technical assistance with the implementation of recommended initiatives.