Noise dominates Heathrow responses to Airports Commission

75% of respondents oppose further expansion

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Noise has generated more responses to the Airports Commission than any other single issue.  The Commission, which the Government has set up last year to look at the possible expansion of airports in London and the South East, published the responses to its noise paper at the end of last week.  It showed that 98% of the responses were about noise from Heathrow and that "75% of respondents expressed opposition to further expansion of Heathrow".   A number of MPs responded including the former Transport Secretary Justine Greening who said that “if Heathrow expansion is allowed I believe it will be one of the biggest planning and transport strategy mistakes of this century, irreversibly blighting Londoners quality of life forever”.

A majority of the people who responded wanted a ban on night flights.  And a fifth, including all the MPs who responded and the Mayor of London, wanted a new approach to measuring noise so that it more accurately reflect the way noise disturbs the communities.  Zac Goldsmith MP called current noise measurements ‘misleading’.  He said: “The 57 db Leq contour – the official area which defines where community annoyance sets in - excludes places like Putney and Fulham in West London. Any noise measurement that does not reflect reality lacks credibility”.

There was support for respite periods.

John Stewart, chair of HACAN, which represents residents under the Heathrow flight paths, said, “These responses send a powerful message to the Airports Commission.  Noise should rule out any thought of further expansion at Heathrow.”

According to the European Commission, over 725,000 people are affected by noise from Heathrow; that is, 28% of all people impacted by noise across Europe.  Of the other London airports London City affects 12,200 people; Gatwick 11,900; Stansted 9,400; and Luton 8,600

October 29, 2013