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

Latest London transportation news

Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Not fun: Part of the Victoria Line will closed in August and the rest of the line extremely busy

The top part of the Victoria Line will be closed for most of August, with no service between Seven Sisters and Walthamstow Central, and a reduced service on the rest of the line. Here’s everything you need to know about the closure.

Monday, July 27, 2015
Commuters face heavy traffic (Picture: PA Images)

Drivers are stuck in three-hour queues in some places due to a collision that has caused chaos on the M25, A2 Dursley Road and the northbound approach of the Blackwall Tunnel.

Monday, July 27, 2015
Euston station

Rush hour delays of up to 20 minutes are expected past 8am due to over-running engineering works between Watford Junction and Harrow & Wealdstone,

Thursday, July 23, 2015
Nick Brett was charged £310 for a £2 Santander Cycle journey (Picture: PA Images)

An east Londoner today discovered he was charged over £300 by TfL for a 15 minute Boris bike ride, London24 reports.

Thursday, July 23, 2015
A signalling problem is causing delays at Waterloo (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

South West Trains services to and from Waterloo are experiencing delays of up to 15 minutes - or not calling at the terminus at all.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015
Huge queues outside London Bridge station this evening (Picture: Jules Cooper)

Commuters faced massive queues and long train delays after a person walked onto the tracks at Greenwich and lines in and out of London Bridge station were closed.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Competitions

Take in the stunning sites of London from the summit of the O2!

Up at The O2 has teamed up with London24 to give one lucky reader the chance to experience urban mountaineering this summer with an exhilarating 90-minute climb across the roof of one of London’s most iconic landmarks.

Read more
Terrific tea, creamy cakes and splendid sandwiches at Mews of Mayfair.

Celebrate a truly quintessentially British tradition with the chance of winning a luxurious Afternoon Tea for two people at Mews of Mayfair, complete with a glass of Veuve Clicquot champagne.

Read more
Get up close and personal to this global phenomenon!

Following a sell-out 2014 run, the global phenomenon that is Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games is back in London, running at the Dominion Theatre in the heart of the West End until 5th September 2015.

Read more