The London-wide survey says 8% of those surveyed ranked noise from flights as their most important issue. Issues such as the number of destinations an airport flies to directly (35%), its proximity to central London (18%) and the economic benefits it delivers (10%) were all seen as more important considerations. Fewer than a quarter of those polled said noise from flights was among their top three issues.
Noise may well be a bigger issue for those in boroughs around airports – Hounslow residents are more likely to be among those for whom it is a top three issue than residents of Enfield for example – but the survey is London-wide, and does not separate this. Also, noise is an issue which could ameliorate over time as aircraft become quieter and less polluting.
Some commentators have suggested that since it is the aircraft that make the noise, more pressure should be brought on the airlines and manufacturers to reduce the impact rather than concentrating pressure on airports and their location.
Colin Matthews, Heathrow’s Chief Executive said: “Noise is a vital issue for many people. This survey puts the spotlight on other aspects which are vitally important for Londoners when considering an airport: For most people, the number of destinations an airport serves, the economic benefits it delivers and its proximity to central London are more important than noise.
“A third runway would enable Heathrow to serve more destinations and deliver greater economic benefits while continuing to reduce the number of people exposed to noise.”
Three quarters of those asked (75%) also believe that London needs a world class airport if it is to be a world class city.