Heathrow Airport has announced plans to apply tougher noise charges to all flights that arrive and depart within the night quota period of 23:30 to 06:00.

The charges will disincentivise flight activity between the identified hours, reducing noise emissions.

In order to restrict the number of flights disrupting the communities closest to the airport, airlines that operate unscheduled flights within the time period will be required to pay a bill five times greater than the regular daytime charges.

Heathrow said that the move is in response to community feedback on methods to reduce the noise impact of flights. In addition, the charge complements the airport’s wider noise action plan.

Heathrow Airport community and stakeholder engagement director Rob Gray said: “It is really important that we work with our local communities and airlines to strictly manage aircraft noise at Heathrow.

“We continue to take vital steps to improve matters, including our new noise charges on all flights that arrive or depart the airport during the night.

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“We believe the number of people impacted by aircraft noise will continue to reduce as we work towards a quieter, better future for Heathrow through the use of noise envelopes and our Noise Action Plan.”

Heathrow’s new decision follows its latest Fly Quiet and Green league table, which saw Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) take the top spot following its efforts to improve operational performance and invest in the greener and quieter Airbus A320neo.

The next-generation aircraft makes up 7% of flights from Heathrow and are used by eight of the airlines based at the airport.

Last week, Heathrow began ‘deep cleaning’ its terminals in order to limit the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus infection. The airport is focusing on cleaning its handrails, as well as making sure that plentiful supplies of hand sanitiser are available to staff and passengers.

Meanwhile, the UK Court of Appeal has ruled against London Heathrow Airport’s plans to construct a third runway, calling it ‘illegal’.