- Understanding aviation noise
- Noise annoyance management
- Land-use planning
Land-use planning and management measures can be categorised as mitigation instruments. Land-use planning identifies areas for inclusion in sound insulation schemes or compulsory home purchasing and relocation programmes, planning instruments (such as noise zoning, restrictions and policy on new property developments) or financial instruments (such as noise related airport charges/fines that fund noise mitigation and compensation (e.g. community funds) schemes.
Land-use planning was consistently cited as the biggest failing of the four Balanced Approach elements and of noise impact management in general. The reason for this was generally linked to a lack of legislation to protect airports from encroachment and guidance to support local authorities in better managing developments. It was, however, recognised that local authorities are faced with the need for a difficult and delicate balance in their decision-making because of the pressure to approve new developments, due to the socio-economic benefits of living near an airport.
The competing planning priorities between local authorities and airports appear to be at the heart of this problem. Local authorities benefit from development in their regions, whereas airports desire to limit the development of incompatible land-uses near their sites. Encroachment appears to result from a lack of effective fora in which these potentially opposing agendas can be discussed and consensus can be found. Interviews with representatives from several EU States suggested that clearer policy specifically to protect airports from encroachment would help to solve this issue – such policy would appear to be best set at the Member State level to account for regional circumstances.
In general, land-use policy varies between countries but is typically focused upon zones based on noise contours. Additionally, the majority of large airports have noise insulation schemes – typically based upon 60/65 dBA noise contours adapted for local or geographic boundaries. For instance, London Heathrow Airport ensures that a scheme applies to an entire street, even if the contour does not span the entire area. The scope and level of insulation varies depending on the contour and some airports apply different day/night contours to determine the scope of the noise insulation program.
Also, some airports (London Heathrow, Paris Charles de Gaulle) offer multiple insulation schemes based on daytime and night-time levels. Funding for insulation is often provided by the airport, but it was identified that the State provides funding in Amsterdam, Brussels and Copenhagen. Compulsory purchasing of housing by the airport was also found at some larger airports, based on noise contours and with strict conditions.