A report released by the Airport Operators Association (AOA) has revealed that UK airports are reducing carbon emissions and managing noise while maintaining growth momentum.
The report was a result of political and public calls to demonstrate that sustainable growth is possible.
The report mentions the carbon footprint of 18 of UK’s largest airports reduced by nearly 3% in two years, despite the increase in passenger footfalls and air traffic by 5% and 2% respectively.
With regards to noise near airports, it mentions that despite airports working on noise management and investing in local community engagement, the population size within noise contours is beyond the control of airports. This is due to an inconsistency between national aviation policy and planning policy.
The report states that there is a need for the government to give national policy guidance to local authorities, in order to help them build houses in areas that are compatible with airports. It has also asked the government to restrict the number of people living within the noise contours of an airport.
In the past three years, more than 5,700 homes have been granted permission to build houses in areas around airports, where the government expects aircraft noise to cause annoyance to local residents.
The report has suggested that the government needs to work with the aviation sector and form a clear policy framework to encourage production and investment in the new technology of sustainable fuels. Politicians have also been urged to support a global emissions trading scheme.
AOA chief executive Darren Caplan said: "The report shows that airports are keeping to their side of the bargain, investing and innovating to reduce their carbon footprints, and working through industry coalitions to reduce noise.
"We now need to see a partnership approach with the government to take sustainable airport development to the next level.
"We urge ministers to step up to the plate and do their bit to deliver supportive policy on issues such as supporting sustainable aviation fuels, promoting a global carbon emissions trading scheme and providing consistent national and local planning policy, which helps airports limit and reduce the number of families living inside noise contours, thereby reducing the number of people experiencing noise annoyance from aviation."