Airlines using Heathrow are to be ranked according to how noisy their aircraft are.

The airport wants to increase fines for airlines that break noise limits and try new departure routes and steeper approaches under a new Fly Quiet initiative due to start later in the year.

Plans also include establishing a new noise insulation scheme for homes and offices around Heathrow.

Heathrow chief executive Colin Matthews said: “Heathrow is at the forefront of international efforts to tackle aircraft noise and, as a result, even though the number of flights has almost doubled since the 1970s, fewer people are affected by noise.”

He said the airport would continue to work with airlines, air traffic control company Nats, policy makers and residents to reduce noise further while “safeguarding the vital connectivity and economic growth that Heathrow provides”.

A report by think tank the Independent Transport Commission on the future of Britain’s aviation infrastructure highlighted the fact that the area around Heathrow is more densely populated than Stansted or Gatwick.

Currently the noisiest aircraft may not be scheduled to land or take off during the “night period” (11pm to 7am). During the “night quota period” (11.30 to 6am) aircraft movements are limited both by number and by a noise quota.

The report added: “The noise from these early-morning, long-haul arrivals has long been a matter of contention for households around Heathrow.”

British Air Transport Association chief executive Simon Buck welcomed the ITC report, which is be put forward to the government’s Airports Commission, saying it makes a “welcome contribution to the debate” into UK airport capacity.

“The UK urgently needs to have a proper aviation policy. As yet it does not,” Buck said.

“It is essential for our future economic prosperity that the UK can compete effectively in both established and emerging markets. This requires excellent aviation connectivity right across the country, ensuring the UK has both vibrant point to point airports and sufficient world class hub capacity.

“This means prioritising a favourable planning and regulatory regime and developing a bold aviation policy, providing for new airport capacity where it is required.

“To ensure there is no further erosion of the UK’s competitive position, the government must set a clear commitment to such measures being put in place, as part of a new aviation policy.“