Hounslow, Wandsworth continue noise agenda

Hounslow and Wandsworth Councils have both reiterated their opposition to aspects of flexible management at Heathrow Airport.

Hounslow have vowed to fight “tooth and nail” against the introduction of mixed mode at the Airport, while Wandsworth Council leader and 2M Group spokesman Ravi Govindia pledged to fight the Airports Commission’s plan to allow early morning smoothing between 5am and 6am.

Cllr Govindia picked on a proposal from Sir Howard Davies’ commission to increase the quota for the hour from 16 to 35 flights which is one of the Commission’s short term recommendations to ease the UK’s aviation capacity crunch.

Davies says the extra flights would minimise delays and could allow the airport to manage with one runway for arrivals between 6am and 7am instead of two which is the existing system.

Wandsworth also continue to suggest that the noise threshold being used by the Davies Commission is too high, and that Heathrow should not be allowed to expand simply because of the noise impact.

Hounslow’s announcement follows a report from the City of London Corporation and London First, which says the introduction of mixed mode – the use of both Heathrow’s runways for simultaneous take-offs and landings – could boost the British economy by £206 million.

Hounslow argue that mixed mode – which would mean the end of runway alternation – would also have an unacceptable noise impact.

Cllr Colin Ellar, deputy leader of Hounslow Council and cabinet member for environment, said: “We will fight to the last to protect our residents from being subjected to more aircraft noise.  While Heathrow is very important to us economically, the introduction of mixed mode flies in the face of a better airport.”

However, he acknowledges that mixed mode is not favoured by the Airport, or Sir Howard Davies, saying: “The Airports Commission has said they will not introduce mixed mode and Heathrow has made the same commitment.”

Many commentators believe that aircraft will continue to evolve to be quieter, making noise less of an argument against airport expansion. Also, both the Heathrow options being reviewed by the Davies Commission involve a new runway sited further west than the existing ones, which would mean aircraft would be higher – and therefore quieter – when passing over London.

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