New plans show ‘no escape’ from Heathrow noise

Published: Friday, January 11, 2019

Noise from an expanded Heathrow is likely to affect communities in all parts of the borough with many set to experience significant annoyance from aircraft for the first time.

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The impact from additional flights would be felt most keenly in West Hill, Southfields, Earlsfield and Tooting.

Currently most aircraft noise from approaching aircraft is concentrated over the north of the borough including Putney, Wandsworth and Battersea.

Now, as part of the airport’s announcement of plans for an additional 25,000 flights a year in advance of a third runway opening, new ‘design envelopes’ show just where the new flight paths needed to accommodate expansion could go.

The potential routes depend on the introduction of new ‘curved’ approaches which would allow aircraft to join the final approach at a point closer to the airport than is currently possible.

Although the airport says it is not consulting at this stage on the specific means to achieve the extra flights it does invite views on the general airspace change proposals.

The consultation document is available online at The material includes a post-code checker which enables residents to see whether their home is likely to experience noise from arrivals or departures from an expanded airport.

Wandsworth Council leader Ravi Govindia is urging anyone concerned by noise from additional flights to respond to the current consultation.

He said: “The council repeatedly called for information on noise impacts to be made available before Parliament voted on whether to give policy support for a third runway.

“This 25,000 per year is just the start. A third runway will mean an extra 260,000 flights a year yet the people most likely to be affected were kept in the dark while the decision was going through Parliament.

“Now people on all sides of the airport will be able to see what could be in store for them from the proposed new airspace principles

“I’ve done my own post code check for my own borough and it looks like there will be no escape for residents from aircraft noise - wherever they live.

“I would urge any resident who is concerned about the impact from an expanded Heathrow to check their own postcode and then let Heathrow know just how unacceptable it is that they should face the risk of additional noise.

The extra 25,000 flights that Heathrow are trying to squeeze in now will be a taste of things to come - more early morning arrivals and more people affected. The council will oppose this quick fix and continue to challenge the false prospectus on which the third runway is based.”

The airport’s current annual capacity limit is set at 480,000 movements. The proposal to add 25,000 flights on existing runways before the third runway is open would breach this limit and would require a new planning consent as part of the permission for a third runway. Most of the additional movements are expected to occur before 6am and 7am with up to 25 extra arrivals in this period.

A third runway is projected to increase the number of movements by more than half to 740,000 per annum.

The ‘Airspace and Future Operations’ consultation closes on March 4.

Wandsworth is one of a coalition of councils seeking judicial review of the Government’s decision to give policy support for a third Heathrow runway. The group is challenging the Government on the grounds of including air pollution, climate change, noise and surface access impacts.

The hearing is set to begin in the High Court on March 11.

The group comprises the London Boroughs of Hillingdon, Wandsworth, Richmond, Windsor and Maidenhead, and Hammersmith & Fulham, as well as the Mayor of London, and Greenpeace.