Heathrow promises quiet expansion

heathrow freight planesHeathrow has published independent Civil Aviation Authority analysis on the number of people affected by aircraft noise with a third runway.

Using the Mayor of London’s preferred 55 dB Lden measure for noise, Heathrow say at least 199,550, and potentially as many as 325,950 people will be taken out of Heathrow’s noise footprint, according to the CAA forecast. The Airport says the data confirms that between 34,450 and 49,550 fewer people could be affected by aircraft noise with a third runway in 2040 than today according to the Government’s preferred 57dB LAeq measure of noise. The noise reductions are delivered by a combination of a new runway location, steeper landing approaches and new aircraft technology.

The data forms part of a series of technical annexes that Heathrow is submitting to the Airports Commission and publishing on its website. The technical submission on noise provides indicative flight path maps which confirm that a reduction in noise and periods of noise respite for local communities are achievable with a third runway. The flight paths show that by 2040 there will be at least 15% fewer people exposed to 57 dB LAeq (the current accepted standard) compared with today. Using the 55 dB Lden measure (the Mayor of London’s preference, which brings more areas into the contour, as it is triggered by a lesser noise) Heathrow say the projections show at least a 28% reduction in the population exposed to noise.

Heathrow is not proposing any extra night flights and the plans could reduce the number of night flights on existing flight paths. Residents under existing flight paths could have night flights only every third week rather than every other week today.

Noise impacts - 57dBA Leq ContourThe indicative flight paths detailed in the document show that Heathrow would be able to provide periods of respite from noise for all local communities with a third runway.

Heathrow say the final flight paths would be subject to more detailed working with NATS and comprehensive consultation with local communities – so this map (above) is indicative only, and has been developed to test Heathrow’s noise reduction assumptions.

Matt Gorman, Heathrow Sustainability Director said: “The CAA’s modelling shows that Heathrow can reduce aircraft noise while delivering the long-haul flights that Britain needs to prosper in a global economy.”

“While some people could experience more noise, others who are under existing flight paths in places like Richmond could experience less noise than today.”

Responding to the release of the report Back Heathrow’s campaign co-ordinator Rob Gray said: “We are pleased that Heathrow’s proposals have confirmed that growth at the airport can be delivered with significantly less noise for people in local communities.

“Back Heathrow has campaigned for the growth needed at Heathrow to protect jobs and the economy of our local area, but this must not come at any cost. It is great that Heathrow has listened to residents, but we urge the airport to see what other measures, such as insulation, could be used to reduce this impact further.”

“Heathrow is taking the needs of its neighbours extremely seriously. There is much more to do, but Heathrow’s relationship with the vast majority of local residents is improving all the time.”

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