The UK government is launching a consultation on the noise impact of night flights at some of London’s busiest airports.
The review aims to ensure that operations at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports are managed so that the noise from aircraft taking off and landing at night does “not outweigh the positive benefits” to the economy.
The six-week consultation on night-time noise abatement objectives will allow the government to seek views and evidence from the industry and local communities.
The findings will then help to set the groundwork for future measures on how to manage aviation at the three London airports from October 2025.
Aviation minister Baroness Vere of Norbiton said:
“There’s no doubt night flights have an effect on local residents underneath busy flightpaths, but as aircraft become quieter, we have an opportunity to strike a balance to make sure we can support the aviation industry without having a debilitating impact on people’s lives.
“This consultation will help us to shape policy and create a flightpath towards a more sustainable approach to night-time aviation noise.”
The government has also revised its overarching aviation noise policy statement, with the Department for Transport (DfT) stating it is “reaffirming the foundation for noise policy for the entirety of the aviation sector, no matter the time of the flight, whether it’s day or night. Through this statement, we aim to balance the health and wellbeing of communities with the clear economic and consumer benefits of aviation.”
The DfT added that guidance used to allow dispensation for operators to fly night services will also be reviewed. Last summer’s disruption across the sector saw an increase in night flights in comparison to previous years due to late-running services.
The government said that the increase in night flight dispensations allowed in the early part of last summer will be taken into account before it publishes any revision to its night flight dispensation guidance, planned for late 2023.