Guidance

Night Flying Restrictions at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted Airports

Background information regarding the decision to extend the existing night noise regime at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted for two years.

Documents

Detail

Under Section 78 of the Civil Aviation Act 1982, the government sets noise controls at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted Airports. With regard to night noise, these measures include a restriction on the number of movements and a quota count system. A movement is either a take off or landing. The quota count system works by allocating points according to how noisy an aircraft is. Aircraft are certified by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) according to the noise they produce. The current night noise regime for these airports was announced in June 2006 and came into force in October 2006. It ends on 28 October 2012.

The government has decided to extend the existing night noise regime at these airports for 2 years until the end of summer season 2014, when a new regime will come into force.

The night flying restrictions are divided into summer and winter seasons. The summer season is the period of British Summer Time in any 1 year. The winter season is the period between the end of British Summer Time in 1 year and the start of British Summer Time in the next.

For the Summer 2012 season, which commences on 25 March 2012 and ends on 28 October 2012, the movement limits and quota points allowance for the airports are:

Airport Movement Limits Noise Quota Points
Heathrow 3250 5100
Gatwick 11200 6200
Stansted 7000 4650

These movement limits and noise quota points apply to the night quota period which is 23.30 to 06.00.

The movement limits and noise quota points allowance for summer 2013 and summer 2014 will remain the same as for summer 2012, as set out in the table above.

For winter 2012 to 2013 and 2013 to 2014 the movement limits and quota points allowance for the airports are:

Airport Movement Limits Noise Quota Points
Heathrow 2550 4080
Gatwick 3250 2000
Stansted 5000 3310

All other aspects of the current regime will remain in place during the 2 year extension period.

Indicative Timetable for Replacing Night Flying Regime

Date  
March 2012 Announcement of 2 year extension to current regime
Summer 2012 Consultation on draft aviation policy framework, including general policy on night noise
Autumn 2012 First stage consultation on new night flights regime. To include a review of the costs and benefits of night flights, including an expert assessment from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) of current literature on aviation night noise health impacts. It will also consider the 2011 night noise contours required under the European Environmental Noise Directive and will seek detailed evidence on the effectiveness of the current regime and on airlines’ fleet replacement plans
October 2012 Current restrictions extended for 24 months
Spring 2013 Publication of final aviation policy framework (including overall night noise policy)
Summer 2013 Second stage night noise consultation carried out following publication of final Aviation Policy Framework. This will include proposed restrictions for the next regime
March/April 2014 Announcement of new regime
October 2014 Beginning of new regime