A report scrutinising the impacts of future flight path changes and aircraft noise in general at East Midlands Airport (EMA) has sparked interest among the Rushcliffe community.
The report, which will be presented at the Rushcliffe Borough Council Communities Scrutiny Group meeting on January 18, 2024, follows a request from Councillor Thomas (Leake Ind) for a detailed scrutiny of these issues. Representatives from EMA will be present to address concerns regarding flight paths and the broader issue of noise from aircraft operations.
Aircraft Noise: A Non-Statutory Concern A key revelation from the report is that aircraft noise, even if it is a significant concern for residents, is not classified as a statutory nuisance in the UK. It falls outside the boundaries of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the Noise Act 1996, leaving local authorities with limited legal power to address this issue directly. The Department for Transport (DfT) holds responsibility for controlling aircraft noise, with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) having the final say on flight paths, balancing noise impact with safety and airspace efficiency.
East Midlands Airport’s Growth and Noise Action Plan The report highlights the substantial growth of EMA, particularly since its acquisition by Manchester Airports Group (MAG) in 2001. EMA is now the largest dedicated air cargo operation in the UK. In response to growing concerns, EMA published a draft noise action plan (2024-2028), which was open for consultation with stakeholders, including local residents, airlines, local authorities, and the government.
Innovative Measures in the Draft Noise Action Plan The draft plan introduces several actions which could be considered to mitigate noise:
- Banning the operation of the noisiest-rated aircraft at night.
- Updating the sound insulation grant scheme.
- Increasing contributions to the East Midlands Airport Community Fund.
- Reviewing noisy-aircraft penalty schemes, applicable to day and night operations.
Financially, the consultation and Council’s role in the EMA Independent Consultative Committee are covered within existing budgets. The report ties in with the council’s focus on environmental protection and quality of life but does not directly contribute to efficient services or sustainable growth in the borough.
The Communities Scrutiny Group is recommended to consider the information and provide feedback to EMA representatives.
Representatives from East Midlands Airport (EMA) will be in attendance and will provide the Group with further information about flight paths and wider noise from aircraft arriving and departing at the airport. A presentation will be given, and members will also be able to answer specific queries.