Ethical Performance
inside intelligence for responsible business


BAA makes noise its number one priority

October 2000

The airports operator BAA has made a major new commitment to help reduce aircraft noise at its facilities after identifying the issue as the biggest single concern among its neighbours and the local community.

The UK-based company, which runs 13 airports around the world including Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Glasgow, Melbourne and Naples, has set itself a target of reducing overall aircraft noise per passenger at its airports by ten per cent by March 2005.

It has also pledged to reduce the number of infringements of night noise limits at its airports to zero by the same date.

A BAA spokesman said research among 'local and national stakeholders' had consistently thrown up noise as the main complaint of those consulted. 'Many of our stakeholders still consider aircraft noise to be a major cause of disturbance and our policy is therefore to use every reasonable means to reduce the noise impact of our airports,' he said.

BAA has now told each of its airports to develop a noise management strategy and says it will use its 'intermediary position' as a link between residents' groups, airlines, air traffic controllers and the government 'to promote a common noise reduction agenda'.

It also says that it will work with air traffic control at Heathrow to produce a code of practice for arrivals noise by 2001.

The company has already introduced a £10million noise insulation scheme at Heathrow, and has brokered a voluntary agreement there with airlines to try to avoid the use of certain types of noisy aircraft at night.

Its landing charges are higher for noisier aircraft. Airlines that exceed government noise guidelines are surcharged by BAA and the resultant funds channelled into community and environment projects around the airports concerned. Last year, BAA raised £113,000 from noise infringements.

The new noise targets are featured among a set of measures on air quality, transport, climate change and waste that BAA hopes will produce a 'step change' in its environmental performance over the next ten years.

Chief among other pledges is a commitment to reduce absolute carbon dioxide emissions by five per cent on 1990 levels by March 2010. BAA says it hopes to achieve this through cutting energy consumed in buildings and by encouraging business partners to be more energy efficient. It will also increase use of renewable energy to 10 per cent by March 2010, develop incentives for low-emissions aircraft using BAA's facilities and lobby for changes to the way aircraft are made.

The company, which made pre-tax profits of £494m in 1999/00, says the targets have been set to give the company a new medium to long term focus after what it claims has been substantial progress in meeting short term environmental objectives.

BAA's recent triple bottom line report showed that 84 per cent of green targets were 'wholly or substantially' achieved last year.



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