‘Wrong kind of wind’ blamed for Heathrow aircraft noise


BAA made the comment at a meeting before Hammersmith Town Hall this week.


By Jordan O’Brien

A dramatic increase in noise pollution is being caused by the wrong type of wind according to BAA who spoke before Hammersmith Town Hall on Tuesday.

The entirety of South West London has been affected by the increase in noise pollution with complaints about aircraft noise rocketing to more than 900%.

Councillors initially believed that the increase of complaints was due to an on-going trial which allows BAA to use Heathrow’s two runways simultaneously under certain conditions.

BAA’s Director of Airside, Tim Hardy, said: “The significant increase in noise complaints is probably due to the unusual weather we’ve had recently which has seen 90% of wind coming from the west between July and September.”

Hammersmith and Fulham’s Cabinet Member for Transport & Technical Services, Councillor Victoria Brocklebank-Fowler, was furious at the claims that the wind direction could adversely affect thousands of residents.  

“If a bit of wind can dramatically increase the noise hell that west London residents are enduring then it proves that the UK’s hub airport is fundamentally in the wrong place,” she said.

”It makes no sense for thousands of planes to roar over densely populated areas, where millions of people live, when they could be making their final approach over water if the airport was to the east of London.”

The 2M Group, which includes Hammersmith & Fulham Council, is an all-party alliance of local authorities such as Brent, Camden, Ealing, Greenwich, Hammersmith and Fulham, Haringey, Harrow, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Islington, Kensington and Chelsea, Kingston, Lambeth, Lewisham, Merton, Richmond, Southwark, Sutton and Wandsworth.

The group has previously fought off expansion of Heathrow Airport winning a high court ruling against a third runway in 2010.

They believe that a third runway will not increase the likeliness of new routes operating out of Heathrow instead leading airlines to fly more flights to existing locations, which are much more profitable.

The group said: “The choice of where planes fly to is made by neither the airport owner nor the government. It is made by the airlines who will naturally prioritise the more profitable routes.”

Currently around 655 aircraft fly over Hammersmith & Fulham everyday with flights beginning at 4:20am and lasting until midnight, with a flight every 90 seconds.

“The noise is terrible on my street,” said Fulham resident Fiona Evans.

“I am inviting BAA to come to my home and experience the aircraft noise that I am enduring at 4:30am.”

Other residents have also expressed displeasure with the increase in noise pollution.

Tom Lambert said: “Sleep deprivation is a massive quality of life issue in west London and I don’t know many people who enjoy being woken up at 4:30am whatever the so-called benefits to BAA.”

The results of a government commission, led by former FSA chairman Sir Howard Davies, examining the UK’s airport are due to be released in 2015, after the next general election.

The 2M Group, along with Mayor Boris Johnson, has asked the commission to rule out any possible expansion of Heathrow, instead opting to evaluate alternatives, such as Boris Island.

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