Aircraft Noise Pollution - NGT issues directions - OA 612-2023

We are pleased to inform you that National Green Tribunal, Principal Bench Delhi has dispossed our Original Application No.612/2023 vide order passed today had has issued following directions to AAI, DGCA, DIAL, MOEF&CC, 

79. It is true that AAI has taken longer time than what was required to be done by Notification dated 18.06.2018 and no reason for such delay has been explained but since the timeline given by AAI for completion of the work at Kolkata and Chennai Airports from this day is not very far, we do not find any reason to take any stern view of the matter except of reminding AAI that it shall adhere to its time line and complete the work at Chennai and Kolkata airport within the time as mentioned in its Short Affidavit dated 25.01.2024 filed before Tribunal on 30.01.2024. 

80. There are 15 more airports which satisfy the definition of “other airports” maintained by AAI and in respect to the said airports also, AAI has taken a clear stand that the work of Airport Noise Mapping and declaration of Airport Noise Zone would be completed by 31.07.2024. We hope and trust that this timeline shall also be adhered to and abided by AAI in words and spirit.   

  81. So far as placing noise level on website is concerned, details of the website has been given by respondent 9 in its reply and aircraft noise level and monitoring at different points with monthly average has been given as collectively as annexure R-8 but the factum that the information has been placed on the website has been seriously disputed by applicant. We also tried to open the website mentioned by respondent 9 but could not find it convenient to open the required information with regard to aircraft noise level and monitoring as claimed by respondent 9. Hence, we direct respondent 9 to display aircraft noise level on monthly basis as required by Notification dated 18.06.2018 and given in direction no. 7 of Tribunal’s order dated 18.06.2019 on the website in such a manner that it may conveniently be available to everyone who is interested to find out   the said information and this shall be done within 30 days from today. A compliance report on this respect shall also be submitted with Registrar General of this Tribunal within 15 days after expiry of 30 days as directed above.

  82. Learned Counsel appearing for applicant in its Written Submissions has raised objections that the information given is not a daily and hourly information but the monthly average taken by respondent 9. In this regard, we find that direction contained in para 7 of the order dated 18.09.2019 says that noise level should not only be measured and maintained but be displayed on the public domain. Therefore, the monthly average given by respondent 9, in our view, is not sufficient and instead, it should be given every month but the record should be on daily basis. The average of the day may be maintained to avoid functional difficulty in the matter. Issue I is answered accordingly.   

Page 53  - 84. However, before concluding the matter, we find it appropriate to observe that it is the admitted case of respondents also that effective measures for mitigating noise during landing and taking off of aircrafts at airports should be taken and observed in words and spirit. After Notification dated 18.06.2018, the noise level prescribed therein has to be observed by the various operators of airports in the country as also by the operators of aircrafts of concerned air lines hough, it is the stand of DGCA that it has outlined monitoring protocol for aircraft noise as CAR dated 24.11.2014 and requirement and procedures for monitoring ambient noise level due to aircrafts dated June 2018 respectively and the same have been communicated to all concerned airports and airlines, but after Tribunal’s judgment dated 24.11.2017 in Appeal No. 60/2013 (supra) and 18.09.2019 in Execution Application no. 24/2019 (supra) as also publication of Notification dated 18.06.2018, we do not find from record that appropriate directions have been issued to all the concerned airlines and airports to ensure all possible mitigation measures for controlling noise pollution in Airport Noise Zone.


  85. Respondent 9, however, has said that it has issued circulars dated 24.08.2021, 28.04.2022 and 29.05.2023 to all the airlines operating at IGI airport and ATC Palam requesting them to follow the best practices on noise mitigation measures and adopt latest new fleets, technologies and procedures to make aircraft operations quieter while ensuring a safe and efficient operational environment but this is applicable to airports under management of respondent 9 but no similar circulars and directions have    been issued by AAI in respect of the airports which are being maintained by it and the airlines operating at such airports. In our view, AAI should also issue similar directions to all airports maintained by it and also the concerned airlines which are operating at such airports. This exercise shall be undertaken by AAI within two months from this judgment.

  86. DGCA is also directed to issue similar circulars, requesting all the concerned airports as also airlines operating thereat to take effective steps for mitigating noise level so as to comply with the Notification dated 18.06.2018 by issuing requisite circulars and also by appending a copy of this judgment to all the concerned airports and also airlines operating at such airports, within three months.   

  87. We may also notice at this stage that initially airports were established at distant places, away from city or urban areas, mostly where there was no abadi or population or habitation. Since there was no restriction in developmental activities of creating infrastructural improvements, with the passage of time localities in the vicinity of airports developed with residential and commercial buildings as a result whereof number of people started residing thereat. These people obviously would have come within the noise area/zone of the airports and would have to undergo problems of air pollution. However, for this situation, it is difficult to hold the airports responsible since development of airport is a major infrastructure activity and any subsequent improvement in the vicinity or locality resulting in growth of abadi or habitation cannot be a ground to seek any disturbance in the operation of airports activities. The local bodies or concerned Ministries in Central Government or airport authority in the consultation with the State Government and concerned   departments should have taken care of making provision so that the area in the vicinity of airport or the buffer area should have remain construction free to avoid this situation. For the existing airports at present, whatever has already happened in past, it is difficult to rectify but whatever is possible without disturbing airport’s operations and also without compromising with safety and security aspects, can be done, and that includes steps for mitigating measures to reduce noise pollution. Further, in respect of new airports which are now coming mostly in distant places, appropriate provisions may be made by ensuring “no construction zone” in and around the new airports or in the buffer area outside the boundary of airports so that similar problem may not be faced due to subsequent construction activities in those areas. In our view, MoEF&CC in consultation with concerned Ministry of Urban Development and Aviation and also in consultation with the respective State Governments, and concerned departments should look into this aspect of the matter and make provisions so as to protect future development of airports as also people from involuntary facing noise pollution due to raising construction of residential and/or commercial buildings near the new airports which are under construction/development.


  88. In the light of the above observations and subject to the directions stated above, we dispose of the present OA with the direction that Compliance Report by the concerned respondents in respect to the directions given in the judgment shall be filed with Registrar General of this Tribunal within 15 days after expiry of the period given for compliance of the directions. Registrar General, if finds necessary, may place the matter before Tribunal for further orders.