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Date posted: 21-09-2015
For the first time since it opened in 1917, Biggin Hill Airport will introduce a defined noise limit for aircraft operations. As promised during the consultation on opening hours, it is half that previously envisaged by the Council’s 1997 Unitary Development Plan.
Earlier this year, over 30,000 local residents backed a proposal for slightly longer airport operating hours in one of Bromley’s largest ever public consultations. Councillors also backed the plans in principle, subject to the introduction of noise mitigation measures.
Biggin Hill Airport has now formally submitted its comprehensive package to tackle noise, which delivers the promises it made to local residents. It will come into force if the Council give the green light to extend airport operating hours.
Working with the Council and its noise experts, Cole Jarman, over the last six months, the airport has prepared the new noise limit based on forecast of aircraft movements. As promised during the consultation, this will be no more than 2010 levels – around 50,000 annual movements by 2020 (with a movement defined as either a take-off or landing). To put that into context, in the 1980’s there were 200,000 annual movements.
The plan will be reviewed every five years, and a new state of the art Noise Monitoring and Track Keeping System (NMTKS) will mean that Councillors and local residents will be able to track every flight and see clear information about noise levels in real-time. Such comprehensive NMTK systems are normally only found at much larger airports.
There will also be tighter controls on light aircraft, which are the subject of the many noise complaints, including the no-fly zones already introduced along with bans on circuit training before 9am and after 5pm on summer weekends.
Will Curtis, Managing Director of Biggin Hill, said: “This plan sets in stone the promises we have made, and gives residents certainty that Biggin Hill will remain a small, well managed airport with modern noise monitoring that will ensure it remains a good neighbour.
“Airports our size are not normally required to put in place measures like these, given the high costs involved and the fact we are comparatively much quieter than larger commercial airports. However, we have listened carefully to our local residents, who support longer opening hours but want to see environmental protections as part of the package.
If longer hours are approved by the Council we will be able to generate the investment needed to deliver these protections. By voting for this package, councillors will be delivering more jobs for Bromley and new noise protections that residents do not have today.”