People living around Heathrow airport can finally look forward to quieter nights as the authorities plan to clamp down on noisy planes by slapping “significantly” bigger fines on airlines found breaking noise levels — and naming and shaming persistent offenders.

Under a “Fly Quiet Programme”, to be launched later this year in response to protests from residents who have been complaining of sleepless nights, airlines will be ranked according to how much noise their planes cause.

A new noise insulation scheme for homes and offices close to Heathrow will also be introduced.

The move is intended to win public support for a long-planned expansion of Heathrow, one among the most congested airports in Europe.

Heathrow’s chief executive Colin Matthews said it was “at the forefront of international efforts to tackle aircraft noise’’ and would continue to work with airlines, policy makers and residents to reduce noise further while “safeguarding the vital connectivity and economic growth that Heathrow provides”.

Residents, while welcoming the move, remained opposed to further expansion.