Community noise monitoring at Heathrow

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Helios to produce independent noise reports

Most airport related noise is generated by aircraft approaching and taking off, taxiing along runways, and during engine testing. People who live close to airports or under flight paths can be significantly affected. Heathrow Airport Limited (HAL) is committed to limiting the impacts of noise on communities around the airport. An objective of the Airport's 2011 Noise Action Plan is to understand better local noise concerns and priorities by establishing its first Community Noise and Track Monitoring Programme (CNTMP), which will deploy a mobile noise monitor to different sites within a geographical grid around the airport to measure aircraft noise over periods ranging from three to six months. Grid locations will be requested by local stakeholders to help them understand their own experience of aircraft noise and track impacts free from any perception of bias or undue influence. The programme is expected to run for ten years with three to four grid locations being monitored per year.

The work is being led by the Flight Evaluation Unit (FEU), a section of HAL's Airside Operations Department. The FEU monitors, evaluates and reports on air traffic control and airline operating procedures and compliance with policy requirements. The FEU also participates in the Noise and Track Keeping Working Group (NTKWG), a body set up by HAL comprising local community representatives, air traffic control and airport personnel.

Helios is helping to produce an independent community noise report for each CNTMP grid location using the data collected from the monitor and processed by the CAA's Environmental Research and Consultancy Department. Initially, the Helios team will be working closely with the FEU, NTKWG and other stakeholders to define the contents and format of the report to ensure it is factual, concise, complete and readily understandable.

The first report will be reviewed in February 2011 with resulting comments used to improve the quality, relevance and usability of subsequent reports. For the first time, these reports will allow all interested stakeholders to achieve a better understanding of how aircraft operations impact on the level of noise in an area chosen by and of specific interest to them.

For more information about the Community Noise and Track Monitoring Programme contact us or visit

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