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London First welcomes Virgin Atlantic’s noise strategy announcement

London First has welcomed Virgin Atlantic’s announcement that it is the first airline ever to publish an Aircraft Noise Management Strategy.

Virgin Atlantic claims to reduce the noise impact from their aircraft by flying a quieter fleet, exploring new operating techniques and adhering to noise abatement procedures on night flights.

Virgin Atlantic is also supporting the creation of an independent noise ombudsmen in the UK to be an independent and authoritative voice on the issue of noise.

London First believes robust measures to limit and cut noise can and should be implemented in tandem to expanding London’s airport capacity.

We published a report in November, More Flights, Less Noise, which proposed an independent Noise Ombudsman to monitor noise pollution and address the “basic lack of trust and transparency” between those pressing the economic case for airport expansion and local communities.

The ombudsman would have a range of powers, from light touch verification of plans already in place, to full scale intervention. The ombudsman would:

  • monitor all aircraft noise emissions
  • report on noise in a manner that is transparent and intelligible to local communities
  • levy penalties where breaches of regulations occur, as a last resort

Commenting on the publication of Virgin Atlantic Airways’ noise management plan, John Dickie, Director of Strategy & Policy said:

“We have long argued that growing Britain’s air links is compatible with cutting noise. Virgin Atlantic Airways’ support for an independent noise ombudsman, coupled with its own stringent approach to cutting noise, will be welcomed by business in London. We look forward to seeing other airlines join the vanguard.”

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