Gatwick airport has unveiled new proposals around its second runway plans, aimed at appeasing local residents and environmental campaigners.
The south London airport said it would set a cap (also known as an ‘envelope’) on aircraft noise levels if its Northern Runway is brought into routine use.
This would guarantee that noise levels would be lower when the second runway reaches full capacity (expected to be around 2038) than in 2019 – the airport’s busiest year on record.
Gatwick said that it was able to propose the cap “because new ‘next generation’ aircraft – which are quieter – will increasingly replace older, noisier planes in the coming years, outweighing any increase in noise generated by bringing the airport’s Northern Runway into routine use”.
In addition the airport has proposed an increase in the number of households eligible for its Noise Insulation Scheme by up to 1,750 homes, and would offer a tiered package depending on noise levels in specific locations.
A new Inner Zone would apply to between 250 and 450 households, which would qualify for “replacement acoustic glazing or internal secondary glazing to all windows, acoustic ventilators and blinds to noise-sensitive rooms, replacement doors to these rooms where necessary, and acoustic upgrading of bedroom ceilings where necessary and possible”.
A new Outer Zone would apply to around 3,300 homes, which would offer “acoustic ventilators for noise sensitive rooms, allowing windows to remain closed with ventilation”.
Residents who have previously taken up grants would still be eligible to apply for the new scheme.
Gatwick announced plans to bring its Northern Runway into regular use in August this year, and a public consultation is currently running until December 1.
The airport says that the plans would reduce delays and congestion, provide new global connections and increase passenger capacity to approximately 75 million passengers per year by 2038.
Commenting on the news Andrew Sinclair, head of noise and airspace, Gatwick Airport, said:
“We fully recognise that we need to carefully balance any benefits that the routine use of the Northern Runway will deliver, including over 18,000 new jobs, with the impact our plans may have on people living close to the airport.
“That is why, as part of our Northern Runway consultation we’re proposing to put a binding cap on noise generated at the airport and we would build on this by rolling out a significantly improved noise insulation package for residents living close to the airport.”