Noise management board update

Here Bo Redeborn updates on progress of the NMB at Gatwick

Bo Redeborn, who led the Arrivals Review and is the independent chair of the Noise Management Board (NMB), updates on progress made by the Board. You can find all minutes and documents relating to meetings on our NMB page.

Update 20 November 2017

The NMB met again on 15 November to review the strategic work underway and planned for 2018 on the four agreed NMB priority areas expected to provide the most impact on reducing the effects of aircraft noise at Gatwick. These agreed priority areas involve initiatives for aircraft Arrivals, Departures, the Fair and Equitable Dispersal of aircraft and the Reduction of Noise at Night.

Engagement and collaboration with all stakeholders is essential, including Airlines, Air Traffic Control Providers, Government and Regulators as well as input from Community Noise Groups, County Councils, GATCOM and Gatwick Airport. Independent experts are also used to validate and advise on the best options to advance noise mitigation strategies.

Much of the Arrivals focus is now involving further improvement to the noise management of Continuous Descent Operations (CDO) by pilots and controllers for each flight. Gatwick is already the leading airport in the UK for CDO compliance and performance as it is currently defined in the UK and, in the many overseas airports reached by aircraft using Gatwick. The further reduction of the noise impact of arriving aircraft requires use of specific operating techniques that have yet to be defined or implemented as a standard for noise reduction at any airport in the UK or elsewhere. This ground-breaking work requires extensive and international coordination, which is developing well. I am confident that we will see good progress over the coming months and that Gatwick will be among the first airports to formalise use of these noise reduction techniques.

For Departures, the NMB is focussed on the take-off and initial climb practices employed by pilots and air traffic controllers. Airline workshops have been held over the past several weeks with the objective of achieving a more detailed understanding of the noise consequences and constraints of the various procedures currently used. The outcomes of these workshops will be used to determine preferred and new minimum noise options for adoption when and where appropriate.

The NMB has built consensus and agreement on the meaning of Fair and Equitable Dispersal (FED). NMB has also sought as a guiding principle to deliver FED through any reasonable mechanism as soon as possible. The NMB has been briefed on the highly sophisticated methods that are now being used to monitor actual aircraft trajectories and compare them against historical data. This is done on a monthly basis to avoid the wide variations seen over shorter periods. Analysing dispersal data can be similar to analysing weather patterns – the fact that it rained at a particular location one afternoon last week does not mean that rain will fall in the same place on any afternoon in this, or any of the following weeks. Accurate prediction of aircraft arrival tracks is an equally elusive science in the current airspace configuration.  Delivering FED on a predictable basis is dependent on airspace change, a long-term programme. NATS as the manager of airspace serving all London airports is continuing to investigate safe preliminary options for earlier delivery of FED for Gatwick.    

The Reduction of Noise at Night (RNN) is an agreed priority for the NMB in seeking to reduce the impact of arrivals noise on those currently experiencing it. A trial programme is being planned which is expected to begin in early 2019. Several industry workshops have been held to develop more clarity on potential objectives and guidelines for an evaluation of suitable night noise reduction techniques. Community Noise Groups have also shared proposals to help shape the planning. This has now been explored and discussed in detail by NMB members at a dedicated workshop to help decide suitable next steps in planning an NMB-led trial of RNN techniques and how the results will be measured against the agreed objectives.

The advice and guidance arising from the work so far will be incorporated into a more detailed plan which will be first reviewed by the NMB in January. The plan, along with trial concepts, will be explored and discussed in detail at a further dedicated workshop scheduled in March involving a wider range of community participants.

2018 will see four NMB workshops in total, these are intended to permit: wider participation, more detailed discussion of the NMB priority topics and their possible impacts on noise at ground level, and lastly an improved opportunity to understand the related noise concerns of residents. 

Lastly, the NMB will be participating in a public meeting on 7 December to report on progress, answer questions, listen to your feedback and to support several interactive demonstrations and tutorials. I expect it to be a useful and informative day and encourage anyone with an interest in the management of aircraft noise to take the opportunity to register their interest in participating. Read our invitation and register to attend the meeting

. Read our invitation and register to attend the meeting

Bo Redeborn - Chairman 
Noise Management Board