The aviation sector is vital to our future as a global trading nation as well as playing a critical role in local economies and in the government’s commitment to level up the economy. However, aviation noise can affect the health and well-being of individuals and communities in the vicinity of airports and underneath flightpaths.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic there has been a reduction in aircraft movements in most areas, and with it a reduction in associated noise, but as the government focuses on building back better and ensuring a successful UK aviation sector for the future, aviation noise will increase from current levels. It is therefore vital that government has appropriate and credible advice on aviation noise related matters.
The government established the Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise (ICCAN) in November 2018 to help ensure that the needs of local communities are properly taken into account when considering the noise impacts of airport expansion, and to help ensure that noise impacts of airspace changes are properly considered.
Following an independent review of ICCAN conducted earlier this year, I have concluded that many of ICCAN’s functions would be more efficiently performed by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), which already has a wider environmental remit. This will help ensure that noise is considered alongside other policy outcomes on the basis of high quality research and advice.
As a result, I can confirm that ICCAN will be wound down this month (September 2021). This will be followed by a transitional phase during which my department will work with the CAA, which will take on the majority of ICCAN’s former functions from April 2022. The CAA also plans to establish a new Environment Panel to provide it with independent expert advice on a range of environmental issues including carbon, air-quality and noise. ICCAN’s existing functions not transferred to the CAA, will remain within my department.