Gatwick is proposing to set a cap (known as an ‘envelope’) on aircraft noise if its northern runway is brought into routine use – with the noise limit tightened further as flight numbers grow.
The move is designed to act as an incentive for airlines to increase the number of quieter aircraft they use at the airport.
The ‘noise envelope’ would give residents a guarantee that as the project reaches full capacity (circa 2038), it would make less noise compared to noise levels in 2019 – the busiest year at Gatwick to date.
The airport is able to propose the noise 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 runway into routine use.
If the plan is approved, Gatwick will report on performance of the noise envelope and will forecast performance in the years ahead – so as to avoid the agreed noise envelope being exceeded.
The airport is also proposing a more generous Noise Insulation Scheme for residents living close to the airport – increasing the number of eligible households by up to 1,750 homes compared to the existing scheme – and by offering a tiered package depending on the noise experienced at specific locations.
A new Inner Zone will offer the highest level of noise insulation and will 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 will apply to around 3,300 homes, outside of the Inner Zone, and will offer acoustic ventilators for noise sensitive rooms, allowing windows to remain closed with ventilation.
The airport would also work with schools to deliver a suitable noise insulation package if found to be required.
Gatwick has started a public consultation on plans to bring its existing Northern Runway into routine use alongside its main runway.
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.”