Exposure to aircraft noise affects the health and wellbeing of millions of people in Europe, with those living in residential communities in the vicinity of airports being particularly affected. These impacts can take the form of stress caused by annoyance, sleep disturbance, heart disease, premature mortality due to ischaemic heart disease and even learning impairments in children. To mitigate these adverse effects, the WHO Environmental Noise Guidelines for the European Region recommend reducing aircraft noise levels to Lden 45 dB and Lnight 40 dB17. While noise from aircraft affects far fewer people than road or rail traffic noise, it is still an important source of noise as it is regarded as more annoying than road or railway
noise [1] .

Estimates of the above impacts, according to reported data by EU Member States under the Environmental Noise Directive (END), are provided in Figure 2.1. [2] .
In 2017, close to one million European citizens suffered from high annoyance from aircraft noise. Data collected under the END also indicate that aircraft noise exposes approximately 3.6 million people in EU27 and EFTA (0.8% of total population) to levels of Lden 55 dB or higher during the day-evening-night period and 1.2 million to levels of Lnight 50 dB or higher during the night time. A recent study estimated that, through the extrapolation of the 2017 END data, 15 million people in the EU27 could be exposed to aircraft noise levels of Lden 45 dB, although it should be noted that this value has a high level of uncertainty [3] .

17Lden is the sound pressure level averaged over the year for the day, evening and night time periods, with a +5 decibel (dB) penalty for the evening and +10 dB for the night. Lnight is the sound pressure level averaged over the year for the night time period only.

Action plan summaries [4]  submitted by airports under the END show that measures at source, such as those related to air traffic management, operational restrictions and economic measures are extensively used to reduce and manage air traffic noise at major airports ( Figure 2.2. ). Other measures such as urban and land use planning and infrastructure changes account for a small percentage of the mitigation measures.

Education and communication measures are more frequently used for managing the impacts of air traffic noise compared to road or railway sources.

Aviation Noise Impact Management through Novel Approaches (ANIMA)

ANIMA logo

The ANIMA project, funded under Horizon 2020, provided airports and aviation authorities with methods and tools that can be used for designing interventions that effectively reduce noise exposure as well as annoyance, thereby improving the quality of life of neighbouring communities [5] .

Specifically, ANIMA explored how airports and authorities implement regulations, what their drawbacks or blind spots are, what factors influence annoyance and other health effects, and how to set up an appropriate dialogue that empowers all stakeholders to identify equitable solutions. Publicly available tool suites have been developed to support relevant stakeholders in decision-making. For instance, the Noise Toolset [6]  supports trials to assess the effect of a new flight path or new aircraft movements on noise maps and on annoyance indicators.

In addition to providing tools and methodologies to simulate aircraft traffic scenarios and reduce annoyance, the ANIMA project proposed a specific indicator for assessing and predicting the probability of awakening people in the vicinity of airports during the night period [7] .