London Gatwick Airport in the UK has announced that it is expanding its noise insulation scheme, in order to protect more homes from the aircraft noise.
The new scheme, termed by the airport as the most innovative noise mitigation scheme in Europe, will cover thousand more homes across Surrey, Sussex and Kent.
Individuals in these areas will be able to apply for up to £3,000 towards double glazing for their windows and doors as well as loft insulation, as a result of which, about 40% more homes will be protected from noise than are covered with the old scheme.
The new scheme increased the noise boundary by using a lower level of noise from 66Leq to 60Leq as a baseline with the boundary line drawn flexibly to ensure entire roads and communities are included.
It has also increased the noise boundary along the flight path by 15km to both the east and west of the airport.
The airport noted that 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.
If the new scheme is taken up by all eligible households in the Gatwick area it would cover around 2,000 homes.
London Gatwick CEO Stewart Wingate 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."
Gatwick Airport noted that impact of both the level and frequency of aircraft noise on local communities needs to be a key issue for the Airports Commission, which will decide next year, whether Heathrow or Gatwick should have an additional runway built.
The airport authorities said that with a second runway, the number of people impacted by noise at Gatwick would be up to 11,800.
The extended noise insulation programme will be introduced from 1 April 2014.
Image: Gatwick's new noise scheme boundary. Photo: courtesy of Gatwick Airport Limited.