The regulation of aviation noise is complex; the ICAO approach for its management is ambitious and affects many different organisations and authorities in each country. To present a global vision of the regulation, other regulatory areas must be considered as well.
It is not enough to exclusively regulate the noise emitted by an aircraft according to ICAO Annex 16 Volume 1 – the most common regulation in air transport departments and sometimes the only existing regulation on aircraft noise. It is necessary to regulate the noise management of many aircraft operating in the same space, such as airports, and causing damage to the environment and health.
The way to control and manage the airport noise is defined by the Regulation (EU) 598/2014. Nevertheless, more guidance is required on the appropriate use and efficacy of different elements and how to assess the cost/efficacy of interventions.
The Environmental Noise Directive defines a common approach to avoiding, preventing or reducing the harmful effects of noise exposure. In addition to transposing the Directive, some countries have set noise limits around airports – noise exposure at ground level in addition to the limits of noise emitted by aircraft that can cause damage to the environment and health. Environmental and health noise legislation depends on countries’ regulations.
Proper regulation of land-use is essential to comply with such kinds of noise limits around airports and mostly to share the responsibility with the local and regional authorities with competence in those areas. Local decision makers consider strategic noise mapping and noise action plans’ assessment as an effective tool for protection from aircraft noise. The expansion of several airports will need a new land-use management scheme, consultation with local decision makers, planners, local communities and other parties affected by noise.
Finally, it is essential to assess the environmental impact (including noise impact) of new infrastructures, flight paths and activities and the impact of potential modifications derived from some kinds of intervention for noise airport management.
Therefore, the management of noise in airports is affected by the regulation of five key areas:
- Air Transport;
- Environmental noise;
- Land-use planning;
- Environmental impact assessment.
Moreover, it is essential to consider the range of the authorities involved in the regulation of each area (national, local, European, etc.)
The aviation sector is heavily regulated at the international level, so finding standard global policies to reduce aircraft emissions is relatively easy since there are adequate forums for its debate globally. On the other hand, land-use planning is developed at the local and regional levels, so regulating aspects related to aviation noise at a global level does not make sense. It should be guided at the international or European level by general recommendations for its possible adaptation at the local and regional level.
To summarise, the regulation involved in aviation noise management could be presented as a matrix, and each case will be different and needs to be examined under a global regulation overview.