Heathrow noise pollution getting worse, according to recent poll


The majority of Hammersmith and Fulham residents voted that aircraft noise had affected them more since BAA relaxed runway operations.

By Grant Cloughton

Noise pollution around Heathrow Airport is getting worse according to a recent poll.

The majority of Hammersmith and Fulham residents (75%) voted that aircraft noise had affected them more since BAA relaxed runway operations.

Mixed-mode operations will trial until March 2013 and allows the airport to use both runways for arrivals and departures.

Of the 1,511 people who have responded to the poll so far, 867 voted yes and 284 voted no to being affected by the Operational Freedoms.

Councillor Victoria Brocklebank-Fowler, Hammersmith & Fulham Council Cabinet Member for Transport and Technical Services, said: “A clear majority of people who responded to our poll have noticed more aircraft noise due to the relaxing of rules at Heathrow.”

She added: “If BAA thought this trial was a foot in the door to get more flights into the airport – and over our heads – they need to know that we will fight them all the way.”

Around 665 aircrafts fly over the affected boroughs throughout the day at about 90 second intervals, with the earliest usually starting at 4:20am and lasting until around midnight.

Both runways are also being used when planes face a 10-minute wait to land or take off or if there is more widespread disruption to the airport’s flight schedules, which may occur due to bad weather.

Historically the airport has used a runway alternation system which means using one runway for arrivals and the other for departures.

This would usually involve switching halfway through the day to give residents a predictable period of relief from aircraft noise.

However, under the current trials the opportunity to switch runways has been significantly lowered.

Concerns about the trial have spiralled since its announcement.

The number of complaints has rocketed by nearly 900% – from around 200 in May to a spike of around 1,800 in August, according to BAA statistics.

H&F Council is part of the all-party 2M group – which represents more than five million people in boroughs close to Heathrow – and wants a guarantee that runway alternation and night flight restrictions will not be sacrificed so the airport can handle more planes.

The campaign group says that allowing both runways to be used in tandem for arrivals and departures would be just as damaging as creating a third and fourth landing strip.

The councils are now preparing evidence for a new aviation commission, headed by Sir Howard Davies, which was launched by the Government to examine the case for airport development across the UK.

2M has successfully blocked previous attempts to introduce mixed mode and overturned the previous Government’s plans for a third runway in the High Court.

Councillor Brocklebank-Fowler urges anyone who has been disturbed by these trials to make their views known by voting on the poll which can be found at

Residents may also respond directly to BAA by visiting or calling 0800 344 844 or emailing [email protected].

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