Working with communities

Explaining, listening and supporting

Communities matter

It matters to us that communities overflown at lower levels close to airports understand why aircraft fly the routes they do, why we need to change them, how we will do that and how people can make their views known.

We never forget that what we do affects people’s lives on a daily basis, and we are always mindful of community needs and concerns as well as those of our customers.

We talk to communities across the UK, particularly those affected by aircraft noise. We work very closely with the airports, and support their community forums, most notably the biggest airports with large communities close by.

Noise and emissions

As more people choose to fly, it’s our responsibility to help drive, deliver and maintain a sustainable future for aviation. 

Reducing aviation’s environmental impact, particularly global greenhouse emissions and noise, matters to all of us.  We can’t make aircraft noise or emissions disappear, but we can focus on ways of reducing their impact, through our own actions and working closely with airports and airlines.

You may be surprised to know that air traffic controllers have extensive training to consider environmental impact in their decision-making when they are directing aircraft. And we are measured on it, too. NATS is the first air traffic control service provider in the world to have developed environmental measurement as part of our regulatory performance targets.

With airspace modernisation now part of UK Government strategy, we have the green light to design new routes — and minimising noise and emissions will be central to that.  On take-off, we can build in respite routes so that communities have the benefits of scheduled relief from noise.  We will also be able to get aircraft higher, quicker — aircraft are more environmentally efficient at higher altitudes.

Aircraft coming to land can stay higher for longer and because we now have technologies which help absorb delay en-route, we won’t need aircraft stacking in normal operations.

To minimise emissions, the phasing-out of ground based navigational beacons, which aircraft fly between like points on a map, means we can design more direct routings. The introduction of a range of new technologies such as Performance Based Navigation (PBN) will enable these improvements.

Further information

  • Aircraft noise. If you want to find out more information about the management of aviation noise, visit the Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise (ICCAN) website at www.iccan.gov.uk
  • Matters of policy. To find out more about the Government’s policy on airspace visit the Airspace Change section on gov.uk.
  • Airspace change proposals. If you want more information about airspace change proposals which may affect you, visit the CAA’s Airspace Change Portal. You can also visit our Consultations page to view the consultations NATS are involved in.

Who to contact

There is nothing more frustrating than being passed from one organisation to another when all you want is a simple answer to an apparently simple question. Hopefully, the following guide will help you send it to the right place:

  • Airline operations. If you want to ask about a specific flight and why it might have been delayed, contact the airline concerned.
  • Airport operations. If you want to ask about how many aircraft from a given airport are flying over you, contact the airport. If you want to ask about the routes aircraft take over your house at what you think are low levels, that is also a matter for the airport although NATS may also be able to help explain.
  • Where aircraft fly. If you want to talk about routes above your house, or more generally about the way airspace is structured, contact the CAA.
  • Changes to flight paths. If you want to ask about a change to a flight path or the way aircraft are flying a particular route, then please contact us at public.enquiries@nats.co.uk.

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