Gatwick Airport has announced it is significantly expanding its noise insulation scheme, to cover 1,000 more homes in Surrey, Sussex and Kent.
The households will be able to apply for up to £3,000 towards double glazing for their windows and doors as well as loft insulation.
This will mean that more than 40 per cent more homes will be protected from noise than are covered with the current scheme.
Gatwick Airportt Ltd will write to all eligible households before the scheme is introduced on April 1.
The major changes to the scheme are two-fold.
Firstly the people will now become eligible for the scheme when exposed to a lower noise level of 60 leq instead of the current 66 leq.
Also the boundary line around the airport is drawn more flexibly to ensure entire roads and communities are included.
Leq is a measurement used to express the average sound level over a 16-hour, 92-day summertime average.
Noise at 60 leq level can be compared to listening to a conversation a short distance away. In comparison, the current level of 66 leq is more akin to hearing a vacuum cleaner a short distance away.
Secondly, the noise contour boundary has been drawn along the flight paths by 15km to both the east and west of the airport covering a significantly larger area at each end of the runway where people suffer from noise from approaching aircraft.
The scheme takes into account both the increased sensitivity people have towards noise levels as well as the frequency of how many times they might be overflown.
Commenting on the proposals Stewart Wingate, London Gatwick CEO, said: “The leadership position we have taken on aircraft noise today shows the importance we attach to our local community as we continue to compete and grow from a single runway, but also as we plan to build a second.
“We understand that the public’s tolerance to noise is much lower than it was which is why we are now extending our noise insulation scheme to cover the 30km flight path east and west of the airport.
“It is crucial that the UK has a deliverable, quick and affordable solution to where the next runway will be. Gatwick can give the UK the economic benefits it needs at an environmental cost it can afford.
“The role of local communities is critical and must not be over looked. As Heathrow starts to consult its local communities about a third runway they should break their silence about noise and think seriously about following our lead.”
Independent noise expert Dr Ian Flindell said: “Extending the boundaries of Gatwick’s new noise insulation scheme to include more people at lower sound levels is a very innovative departure from existing practice, and demonstrates a huge commitment to the surrounding community.
“It appears to be among the most generous of similar schemes I have seen across other European airports and possibly worldwide. Aircraft noise can be a very serious issue for many people living near airports, and anything that the airport can do to mitigate this problem is entirely worthwhile.”
For more information log on to Gatwick Airport’s website