‘Noise sew­ers petition launch

RES­I­DENTS LIV­ING IN CON­CEN­TRATED FLIGHT­PATHS SAY THEY ARE NOW WORSE OFF

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - by QASIM PERACHA qasim.peracha@trin­i­tymir­ror.com Twit­ter: @qasim­per­acha

FED-UP res­i­dents af­fected by pas­sen­ger jets from Heathrow Air­port have launched a petition against “noise sew­ers”.

Over the years, Heathrow Air­port has con­stricted the flight paths of planes land­ing and tak­ing off at the hub air­port, in or­der to de­crease the pop­u­la­tion “sig­nif­i­cantly af­fected by air­craft noise” by around 90%, the air­port claims.

How­ever, res­i­dents have com­plained that this con­cen­tra­tion of flight paths has meant those peo­ple still im­pacted by air­craft noise from Heathrow are “far worse off ” com­pared with 2014.

The ef­fect, six miles from the air­port, is the house and ground shak­ing, said the petition’s au­thor.

The petition, which has al­ready re­ceived more than 600 sig­na­tures, calls on the air­port, govern­ment and Nats, the UK air traf­fic con­trollers, to ditch their pol­icy of con­cen­trat­ing traf­fic into nar­rower flight paths.

The petition, which de­mands an “end to noise sew­ers caused by Heathrow”, also asks that planes be forced to take off from the air­port at an 8% an­gle, higher than the cur­rent 6% an­gle. This, the au­thor ar­gues, would mean air­craft would be “far higher”, re­duc­ing noise and air pol­lu­tion in west Lon­don.

The petition ends by say­ing that the au­thor and sig­na­to­ries are also op­posed to the ex­pan­sion of Heathrow Air­port, which would see a third run­way built to the north-west of the cur­rent air­field, with a por­tion stretch­ing over the M25.

MPs will have a fi­nal vote on ex­pan­sion in the com­ing weeks, be­fore the Par­lia­men­tary sum­mer re­cess, the govern­ment has vowed.

Heathrow held an ini­tial con­sul­ta­tion on changes to air space ear­lier this year, the re­sults of which are ex­pected to be pub­lished soon.

The pre­lim­i­nary air space con­sul­ta­tion fo­cused on “the prin­ci­ples that should guide fu­ture airspace de­sign”.

A sec­ond con­sul­ta­tion, due in early 2019, will fo­cus more pre­cisely on “de­sign en­velopes within which po­ten­tial flight paths could go”.

A “sound­lab” has been es­tab­lished at Heathrow , where lo­cal res­i­dents can ex­am­ine the im­pact of var­i­ous airspace poli­cies, such as phas­ing be­tween the dif­fer­ent run­ways, where they live.

Flight­paths in the cap­i­tal have not been sig­nif­i­cantly changed since they were es­tab­lished in 1975, when air traf­fic was around a third of its present level.

A spokes­woman for Heathrow said that its sub­mis­sion to the Air­ports Com­mis­sion about fly­ing qui­eter air­craft and ex­tend­ing the flight ban to six and a half hours would mean that, by 2040, Heathrow could grow busier whilst af­fect­ing fewer peo­ple by noise than were af­fected in 2013.

“We know air­craft noise re­mains an is­sue for lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties – that’s why Heathrow has been work­ing hard to de­sign in­no­va­tive ways to re­duce its im­pact,” she said.

“Over the past 30 years, we have im­ple­mented strict op­er­at­ing pro­ce­dures at Heathrow, and en­cour­aged air­lines to use their qui­etest air­craft at the air­port.

“That means that since the 1970s, de­spite a dou­bling of the num­ber of flights, the pop­u­la­tion sig­nif­i­cantly af­fected by air­craft noise around Heathrow has re­duced by around 90%.

With ex­pan­sion, we have pledged to in­tro­duce a 6.5 hour ban on sched­uled night flights and of­fer a world­class noise in­su­la­tion scheme worth more than £700 mil­lion for those liv­ing clos­est to the air­port.

“We’re cur­rently go­ing through the process of how we can mod­ernise the airspace around Heathrow and en­cour­age the pub­lic to get in­volved when the next stage of the con­sul­ta­tion launches in early 2019.”

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