Impact of aviation noise on people’s lives must be better understood – UK noise commission


The UK’s Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise (ICCAN) has said today that new evidence will be needed to inform future decisions on UK aviation. ICCAN is recommending that vital new research is undertaken on a more regular basis to examine people’s attitudes to aviation noise, so that the impact on people’s lives can be better understood.  


This recommendation is made in ICCAN’s first major publication, a review of the last Survey of Noise Attitudes (SoNA) carried out in 2014, which has been used by government and regulators to inform decisions around aviation. 


Established at the start of the year, ICCAN is a non-statutory advisory body that provides independent, impartial advice to government, regulators and the aviation industry.  


On the publication of its report, Rob Light, ICCAN’s Head Commissioner said: 


“Growth in aviation cannot come at any cost. ICCAN is proposing a new, independent survey on the impacts of aviation noise, which could be used to look at how this links to health, well-being and quality of life. Our ambition is for the UK to be a world leader in the management of aviation noise, and part of this will be establishing reliable evidence people can trust. 


“A new, recurring attitudinal survey that looks at the aviation landscape as it is today, not five years ago, will keep the UK at the forefront of research into the effects of aviation noise. This will ensure that decision-makers in the government and industry can work with information that delivers the best outcomes for both the future of aviation and communities affected.”  


In its review of SoNA 2014, ICCAN has committed to: 


·       Fund and organise a development study that will bring together international experts, regulatory and community representatives to contribute to the design of a new attitudinal survey 

·       Explore whether a new survey should look at a wider range of people affected by aviation noise 

·       Repeat the survey over time to discover how attitudes to aviation noise change with time   


Rob Light added: 


“Our review of SoNA is an important first step. ICCAN will now fund and take forward a development study in the new year as described in this report.   

“We will bring together people with different views and perspectives to help develop a future survey that can command the confidence, and ultimately trust, of everyone involved with the issue of aviation noise.” 


ICCAN’s review of SoNA is its first major intervention into the discussion around aviation noise since its creation in early 2019. It emerged as a priority after early engagement with local community groups revealed SoNA to be a high-profile and disputed issue. 

ICCAN sought input to its review from those involved in the design and execution of SoNA, including the Civil Aviation Authority, Department for Transport and Ipsos MORI. A number of community stakeholders were also consulted. 


Notes to editors: 


·       The Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise (ICCAN) was established by the Government in January 2019 to act as the credible and impartial voice on all matters relating to civil aviation noise and how it affects communities.  

·       The review of SoNA 2014 is its first major publication since its Corporate Strategy was published in July 2019. 

·       In April 2020, ICCAN will publish its view on noise metrics and release a best practice toolkit for airports on consulting with stakeholders around airspace change. 


Read ICCAN’s Review of SoNA here 

For further information, contact: Rupert Basham, ICCAN Media & Engagement Lead,

The Independent Commission on Civil Aviation noise ceased operating on 30 September 2021.

You can read the Government’s statement on ICCAN’s closure and Head Commissioner Rob Light’s letter to the Minister to learn more.

Any further questions about ICCAN’s work or aviation noise should be directed to the Department for Transport.