Warning to residents over Heathrow Airport runway change trials

11:39 03 October 2011

Changes to the way runways at Heathrow Airport are used could lead to more noise for residents living nearby, it has been warned

Changes to the way runways at Heathrow Airport are used could lead to more noise for residents living nearby, it has been warned

PA Wire/Press Association Images

People living near Heathrow are being warned of the impact from changes to the rules on how the airport’s runways are used.

Leaflets have been sent to around 150,000 homes ahead of trials starting next month.

At the moment Heathrow uses a ‘runway alternation system’ which means using one runway for arrivals and the other for departures.

Their use is switched halfway through each day to provide respite from noise for residents living near the end of the runways.

At certain times airport operator BAA is allowed to use both runways simultaneously for arrivals, mainly to clear backlogs of flights.

During the trials, which are a recommendation of the government’s South East Airport Taskforce, there will be more flexibility on when these measures can be used, and they will also be extended to cover take-offs.

The measures will only be used once one or more conditions agreed by the Department for Transport (DfT) and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) have been met, such as 30 per cent of flights running more than 15 minutes late or disruption caused by severe weather.

The first trial will run from November 1 to February 29, with a second scheduled for July 1 to September 30 next year, coinciding with the Olympics.

Heathrow says the trials will allow it to explore how the runways can be used more efficiently.

Possible benefits include fewer late-running flights and reduced aircraft emissions.

However, there could be a negative impact on people living near the airport.

While it is claimed there will be no increase in flights in or out of Heathrow, with the cap remaining at 480,000 aircraft movements a year, residents could face increased noise from losing some of their respite periods.

Hillingdon Council in west London is warning there will be occasions during the trials when the northern runway is used for take-offs in an easterly direction, which has generally not happened in the past.

Councillor Keith Burrows, cabinet member for planning, transportation and recycling, said BAA’s plans could have “a significant impact on those living in the borough”.

He added: “However, we will be working with BAA to ensure residents are adequately informed, properly consulted and that the trial is undertaken in an open and transparent manner.”

John Stewart, chairman of the HACAN Clearskies campaign, said, “Although the total number of planes landing each day would not change, people are very angry indeed about the fact that they will no longer be guaranteed a half day’s break from the noise of the planes.”

Announcing the trials earlier this year, aviation minster Theresa Villiers said: “These measures have the potential to deliver greater reliability for passengers, while reducing the impact of unscheduled night flights on local communities.

“Trialling these changes will allow their benefits and impacts to be assessed and there will be extensive engagement and consultation with local communities before any decision is taken on whether to make the changes permanent.”

Related articles

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Latest London transportation news

Tuesday, June 30, 2015
(Picture:: PA)

London Underground staff who were hailed as heroes on 7/7 for evacuating stations and tending to the wounded are being ‘forced’ to reapply for their jobs due to ‘dangerous’ job cuts, the RMT union has said.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Fabian Downie

A pervert who performed a solo sex act on six London buses, including one in Old Street, has been jailed.

Monday, June 29, 2015

South Kensington Tube station was evacuated and a police cordon put up this afternoon due to a ‘security alert’.

Monday, June 29, 2015
Wednesday's protest at Bank (Picture: London Cycling Campaign)

A candlelit vigil and ‘die-in’ protest will be held at Bank junction today in memory of cyclist Ying Tao who died after a road traffic collision there last Monday.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Commissioner of Transport for London (TfL), Peter Hendy, is leaving his role to take over the helm of Network Rail.

Thursday, June 25, 2015
There are delays and cancellations at Paddington station

There are delays and cancellations to Paddington trains until this afternoon due to a signalling problem.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Competitions

Good times with Greenall's!

Good times with Greenall’s, a Great British gin sponsors Great British racing.

Read more
Escape to the picturesque sights of Cornwall

Summer is finally here, and what is the number one holiday location in the UK during the warmer months? Cornwall, of course!

Read more
Adrenalin junkies, this one's for you!

An icon of British engineering and a consistent favourite of James Bond, there are few names quite as legendary in motoring as Aston Martin.

Read more

London Bloggers

Monday, April 13, 2015
Vintage fashion shopping is a joy in London (Photo by Graham French/BIPs/Getty Images)

In with the old, out with the new. This is the mantra of the best London vintage shoppers today, whose aesthetic of effortless chic is becoming more sought after.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015
Eating the right foods can significantly improve your mood

Think sweet treats make you feel better? ‘Comfort foods’ could be adding to your misery.