An Impacts and Balanced Approach Expert Committee (IBAEC) convened on May 18th at London Heathrow Airport to participate in a workshop facilitated by ANIMA researchers from Manchester Metropolitan University. The workshop aim was to introduce the ANIMA research project, review the key findings of Deliverable 2.1, and to gain participant insight as to the veracity of the findings, as well as providing the opportunity to make additional comments and contributions.
8 IBAEC members representing a range of aviation stakeholders attended the workshop, with other IBAEC members given the opportunity to contribute to the Committee via email having received a summary report of the D2.1 findings and the discussions that took place during the workshop.
This paper presents the discussions that took place during the workshop, and additional comments made by IBAEC members. Core messages from the workshop include:
The ICAO Balanced approach is a good basis for action to reduce noise exposure, but guidance is required on the appropriate use and efficacy of different elements.
Given that it is never possible to reduce noise exposure to zero, it is necessary to engage with effected communities, and to consider the issue in the context of the costs and benefits that accrue to them from living near to the airport, and of aviation in general.
It is important that such engagement is a two-way process of dissemination from the airport to communities, and listening by the airport about community concerns, insight and priorities.
All airports, of any size, need to consider aircraft noise and anticipate the consequences of growth. The 50,000-movement figure for the application of the END is too simplistic and needs to be reconsidered, for instance by having a pre-qualification criterion that requires airports to begin the process of building noise management capacity and engagement with stakeholders, particularly on the issue land-use planning.
Management of noise impacts needs to be informed by quality data. Existing reliance upon noise modelling outputs or complaints analysis to inform Balanced Approach implementation can lead to sub-optimal outcomes. Appropriate engagement and dialogue between airports and their surrounding communities is an important pre-requisite to assessing the nature and extent of noise problems and appropriate responses. Further policy and good practice guidance would help to facilitate this.
It is clear that the industry is committed to reducing noise impact (through quieter technologies and operating practices, and through operational restrictions), but doing so requires collaboration across the board, between aviation stakeholders, and between different airports to exchange best practice. Communication from the onset to understand what is valued by communities, and what the expected outcomes of an intervention are, seems to valuable.
Land-use planning is a critical element of the balanced approach and can facilitate airport growth by preventing inappropriate encroachment of noise sensitive buildings. Effective land-use planning does however require the support of national or local government planning authorities.