The head of a new government organisation which advises on aviation noise at airports including around Gatwick has said that “growth cannot come at any cost.”
Rob Light is head commissioner of the Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise (ICCAN) set up by the Government in January.
The commission has set out ambitious plans to improve the way that aviation noise is managed across the UK including around Gatwick Airport.
This includes providing clear information and guidance around noise, and how airports engage and consult with communities.
Mr Light said: “Noise can be an emotive issue and as such people can feel very strongly about aviation.
"This is something that I have seen first-hand meeting with local residents, as well as people from the aviation industry, in and around Gatwick airport.
"To see the sort of growth in air travel being planned for the UK, intended to benefit the economy, I believe aviation must be sustainable.
“That means aviation noise should be considered a priority alongside air quality and carbon reduction. Aviation growth cannot come at any cost.
“ICCAN will be looking to ensure that aviation noise is better managed, measured and mitigated in the UK.”
Since being established earlier this year, ICCAN has met with hundreds of stakeholders to better understand issues around aviation noise and hear from as wide a variety of perspectives as possible.
The commission says these conversations with airports, airlines and community groups, as well as academics, trade associations, regulators and experts have helped to shape the Corporate Strategy.
A spokesman for Gatwick Airport said: “Gatwick recognises that noise from aircraft has an impact on some local residents and we welcome the work that ICCAN is doing to improve public confidence and trust in the management of aviation noise.
"To better manage noise issues locally, Gatwick established an independent Noise Management Board, which brings local communities and the aviation industry together in a formalised structure.
“The NMB has developed an agreed work plan and has had some success in reducing Gatwick’s noise footprint over the last two years.
“Indeed, the NMB is itself considered to be an industry-leading approach to managing noise.
“We acknowledge however that more must be done and we look forward to introducing a range of initiatives through the NMB work plan to further limit and reduce the impact that noise has on our local communities.”