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Noise management at London Southend Airport

London Southend Airport aims to work constructively with our local community in order to reduce the impact of noise. Browse this section to find out more about aircraft noise and how to submit a noise complaint online via WebTrak.

About aircraft noise

Causes of aircraft noise

The noise from a plane is caused by two things: by air going over its fuselage and wings (or ‘airframe’) and by the engines.

Airframe noise occurs when air passes over the plane’s body (the fuselage) and its wings. This causes friction and turbulence, which makes a noise. Even gliders make a noise when in flight – and they have no engines at all. The amount of noise this creates can vary – according to the way the plane is flown – even for identical aircraft. Planes land with their flaps down which creates more friction (and produces more noise) than a plane with its flaps up.

Engine noise is created by the sound from the moving parts of the engine, and also by the air being expelled at high speed once it has passed through the engine. Most of the engine noise comes from the exhaust or jet behind the engine as it mixes with the air around it.

Weather & aircraft noise

One factor that does affect the way aircraft noise is perceived is the atmospheric conditions at the time of the flight. If we experience calm atmospheric conditions usually associated with warmer weather, sound waves will travel further and as such, it is perceived that the noise is greater. In more turbulent conditions associated with wind and rain, sound waves get dispersed and thus making aircraft appear quieter.

What we are doing to reduce noise

Noise Preferential Routes

To minimise the number of local residents being overflown by departing aircraft, noise preferential routes were introduced as a condition of the S106 planning agreement (2010). This means that all aircraft weighing over 5700kg must follow a straight departure heading for 2.5 nautical miles when departing towards the south west (over Leigh-on-Sea) and 1 nautical mile when departing towards the north east (over Rochford). This ensures that within the surrounding areas, departing passenger aircraft will only overfly those residents already living under the arrival path to the airport.

Once aircraft have cleared the designated NPR zone and reached a height of more than 1,500ft, Air Traffic Control (ATC) can instruct the pilots to fly a more direct heading towards their destination – this is known as ‘vectoring’. However, ATC may direct aircraft off the NPR at any time if this is required for safe separation from other aircraft or for other safety issues (such as avoiding adverse weather). Track keeping is taken very seriously and it is closely monitored and logged by our dedicated system.

Noise Action Plan

In accordance with the terms of the Environmental Noise (England) Regulations 2006, London Southend Airport submitted a revised Noise Action Plan to DEFRA on 29/11/18. A formal letter of Adoption was received 13/2/19. In line with DEFRA guidelines the revised adopted Noise Action Plan has been published on our website with 28 days of adoption.

Download the Noise Action Plan.

Monitoring & reporting

The noise from planes is measured for many reasons. It is important to understand the impact on our local communities and to know whether the noise levels are increasing or decreasing over time.

In the UK, noise measurements are evaluated using the average noise level during the day (a 16-hour day) during the summer period. The measure of noise is given in decibels (dB). This averaged decibel measurement ‘LAeq’, is the most common international measure of aircraft noise, it means ‘equivalent continuous noise level’.

The latest noise contour maps are published in the Annual Report. The noise contours are reviewed every two years and all qualifying properties falling within the contours will be notified if they qualify for the Property Acquisition or Sound and Thermal Insulation Grant Scheme.

Community reporting

Airport Consultative Committee

Through the Airport Consultative Committee which meets each quarter, the Airport maintains a close working relationship with representatives of local authorities, community groups and airport users. It is a statutory committee set up under Section 35 of the Civil Aviation Act 1982 (as amended) and has no executive powers. Download The Constitution of the Consultative Committee list of those organisations represented.

Questions to the Committee

Please note that members of the public may be allowed by invitation to attend the section scheduled at the start of each meeting to ask and receive answers to questions. The questions must be submitted in writing to the Airport at least two weeks in advance of the date of the meeting. The questioners will only attend for the part of the section of the meeting during which their question is being considered.

View Consultative Committee meeting minutes and annual reports on our Community reporting page.

London Southend Airport Community Noise Forum (LSACNF)

The LSACNF has been established to create and maintain an impartial pathway for local communities to engage with the airport, and to increase trust, transparency and clarity on noise issues associated with London Southend Airport.

The Section 106 agreement outlines a number of planning conditions agreed when the runway was extended, and since its inception, performance has been measured to ensure all conditions are adhered to.

The LSACNF meets on a regular basis, up to four times a year, and is led by an independent Chair. The LSACNF has been formed to listen and engage with local residents, seeking understanding and, where possible, improvements and/or resolution on aircraft noise matters.

Following the establishment of the LSACNF in November 2021, the Terms of Reference (ToR) were formally reviewed and updated in August 2023. The updated ToR allows for a wider membership including community groups and parish councils. If you wish to apply for membership to the LSACNF please ensure that you can meet the requirements of the ToR and Code of Conduct. Applications should be made directly to the LSACNF Chair at [email protected].

Community group representative members must be nominated by a recognised community group or organisation in line with the Terms of Reference of that group or organisation, a copy of which should be provided to the forum. Each community group should be able to demonstrate community engagement and feedback on information from the forum.

Meeting minutes

It is the responsibility of each LSA CNF member to communicate with residents in their postcode area.

How to make a noise complaint

Noise Complaints Handling Service

London Southend Airport has announced a new online self-service system called WebTrak to enable local residents to view all aircraft movements in the vicinity of the airport.

Complaints regarding noise at the airport should be made in the first instance via WebTrak, or they can be made in writing to: 

The Noise Manager, London Southend Airport, Southend-on-Sea, Essex SS2 6YF

We will only accept noise complaints via WebTrak, or via postal mail. Read our noise frequently asked questions for more information. 

What happens with your noise complaint

If the flight you have registered a complaint about is a compliant flight you will receive a confirmation email from the airport within 24 hours. Your complaint will be logged in our system but no further action will be taken.

If the flight is non-compliant you will receive a confirmation email within 24 hours and then a further email within 7 – 10 days providing further details of the non-compliant flight.

Need help?

Check out our advice

I live very close to the airport – why do I hear aircraft noise when there are no flights?

London Southend Airport has put a wide range of measures in place to control and minimise ground noise. Airport ground noise is defined as any noise, other than that which is generated by aircraft in flight, taking off or landing. The main sources of airport ground noise are aircraft taxiing, aircraft mounted auxiliary power units (APUs) and testing.

How do I make a noise complaint?

London Southend Airport has announced a new online self-service system called WebTrak to enable local residents to view all aircraft movements in the vicinity of the airport.


Complaints regarding noise at the airport should be made in the first instance via WebTrak.


Alternatively, noise complaints can be made in writing to:

The Noise Manager, London Southend Airport, Southend-on-Sea, Essex SS2 6YF

What time is the first passenger departure?

Passenger flights may be scheduled to depart from 06:30. The airline (and Flight Information Display (FID) screens) may advertise a slightly earlier departure time than 06:30 to allow for the aircraft to be boarded and pushed back from stand, however Southend ATC will not allow any passenger aircraft to depart the runway prior to 06:30.

Based aircraft will usually be scheduled to fly up to three different destinations per day which is why they will all depart soon after 06:30, there will then be a fairly quiet period until the first wave of aircraft start to return to Southend.

Departures will then be staggered for the rest of the day as destination distances vary.

What time does the last passenger flight arrive?

Passenger flights may be scheduled to arrive up until 23:30 (with restriction on the number that then can be scheduled between 23:00 – 23:30 – please refer to the Operational Controls Summary. Aircraft that are scheduled before 23:30 may occasionally be delayed due to circumstances beyond the airports control e.g. bad weather (fog/snow/storm), Air Traffic Control industrial action, technical faults, delays at the destination airport.

Delayed aircraft are permitted to return to the airport during the agreed night time period. Both the airport and the airlines work very hard to avoid delays. As well as wanting to provide great customer service and avoid late flights, any delays are very costly with regard to compensation claims, staffing costs and onward travel arrangements.