Searching for Aircraft Noise Before You Buy a Property

Date: 08/01/13 Author: Ian Gee

Searching for Aircraft Noise Before You Buy a Property

The Civil Aviation Authority (“the CAA”) provides a focal point for receiving and responding to aviation-related environmental enquiries. 

Did you know that the CAA can provide a generalised brief explaining the airspace structure in the vicinity of a property and the type of aviation activity one could reasonably expect within such airspace?

It is strongly recommended that you should consider inspecting the property at varying times throughout the day, including early morning and late evening, to determine how noisy aircraft landing, taking off or over-flying are likely to be.

Aircraft generally require to take off and land into wind and so the surface wind will dictate the runway to be utilised for the direction of take-off and approach to land.  You should therefore ensure that you determine how intrusive noise is likely to be from all potential aircraft directions.

Although it is acknowledged as a major environmental impact, environmental noise is not a statutory nuisance in the UK.  It is not covered by the Environmental Protection Act  or the Noise Act.

Whilst the CAA, under the Civil Aviation Authority (Air Navigation) Directions, must consider the environmental impact of proposals for the establishment of new, or the amending of existing, airspace during the airspace change process, the CAA does not have the legal power to prevent an aircraft flying over a particular location at a particular time for environmental reasons.

Consequently, the CAA can only intervene in cases where there is substantial evidence which suggests that a breach has occurred of the legislation contained within the Air Navigation Order and the Rules of the Air Regulations. 

Noise impact does not only apply to large airports.  In November 2012, the CAA published updated Best Practice guidance in respect of noise abatement issues at General Aviation – focussed aerodromes.  Aerodrome Operators should :-

  • Take the matter of noise impact seriously and be seen, subject to overriding safety considerations, to be attempting to protect their neighbours from the environmental impact of aerodrome related operations.
  • Notwithstanding overriding flight safety constraints, and taking into due consideration the experience and expertise of the locally based flying community, consider adaptation of flying procedures, such as published aerodrome patterns and practices, to mitigate the environmental impact of aerodrome operations upon the local community.
  • Aim to foster an open relationship with the local community, providing details of Noise Abatement Procedures (“NAPs”) and ways in which members of the public can assist in the monitoring of compliance.
  • Be prepared to sanction, on a sliding scale, individual pilots who are found to have unnecessarily failed to comply with locally implemented NAPs.
  • Assist inexperienced pilots, those unfamiliar with the aerodrome and repeat offenders to facilitate a better understanding of local noise issues and associated NAPs.
  • Consider promulgating within the local community any anticipated future unusual flying activity that might, even in the short-term, precipitate an increased noise burden describing how the impact has been mitigated to the greatest extent possible.
  • Take action to minimise the impact of ground operations.

For further information, please contact Ian Gee on 01524 598304 or ig@jwksolicitors.co.uk

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