The full extent of the Government’s plans to increase night flights into Heathrow has been “dug up” by anti-noise campaigners in a report’s technical appendix.
Documents published by the Aviation Commission show that the number of planes allowed to land at the airport before 6am will increase from 16 to 35 from next year.
Activists’ leader Ravi Govindia said: “We shouldn’t have to dig deep into a technical document to find out what is in store for us.” [Ravi is a Conservative councillor in Wandsworth].
The move is intended to prevent the stacking of aircraft over west London ahead of the morning rush-hour. To compensate for the additional number, residents under the flightpath would enjoy a respite with no planes overhead every other week.
The “smoothing” plan was included in December’s interim report by Sir Howard Davies but the actual night landing figures have just been highlighted after being found in a technical appendix by the anti-expansion campaigners 2M, representing 20 boroughs affected by Heathrow.
Mr Govindia, 2M’s boss and Wandsworth council leader, said people on the final approach were “deeply opposed” to the early-morning arrivals, which affect their sleep and are linked to serious health issues.
Residents in Hounslow, Chiswick, Kew and Fulham would be affected by the northern runway approach, while the southern runway flightpath affects people living in Richmond, Barnes, Putney and Battersea.
Mr Govindia added: “I don’t think the Airports Commission has done enough work on noise to understand the problems of people under the flightpath. This council has fought for years for a night flights ban. We’ve challenged the current scheme in the courts. One arrival before 6am is one too many. Our community is entitled to a decent night’s sleep.”
There are now 16 arrivals before 6am and 44 from 6-7am across two runways. Under the new proposal there will be 35 flights before 6am and 32 from 6-7am, all on one runway to allow residents respite.
The Airports Commission said: “We have recommended a trial of early-morning smoothing. A trial provides the opportunity for communities around Heathrow to experience and comment on the impacts.”
Ravi Govindia – Leader of Wandsworth Council
Ravi Govindia is the leader of Wandsworth Council and has served the authority as a Conservative councillor since 1982. During his local government career Ravi has specialised in the fields of planning, housing, economic development and regeneration. He became council leader in 2011 following Sir Edward Lister’s move from Wandsworth to City Hall.
Ravi’s achievements include the redevelopment of Wandsworth’s industrial riverside and he maintains a hands-on role in the transformation of Nine Elms on the South Bank. This regeneration programme is underpinned with a £1bn Government guarantee for the Northern Line Extension and includes sites earmarked for the new US and Dutch Embassies. It is on course to deliver 25,000 new jobs and more than 16,000 new homes.
In 2012 Cllr Govindia launched a £100mn programme of work to regenerate two of Wandsworth’s most deprived areas. This ambitious and transformational project aims to improve the physical environment and raise the aspirations and life chances of people living in parts of Battersea and Roehampton.
The Wandsworth Council website says:
Davies to double night flights next year
13th February 2014
Wandsworth Council leader and 2M Group spokesman Ravi Govindia has pledged to fight the Airports Commission’s plan to more than double the number of night flights into Heathrow.
Cllr Govindia said the proposal to increase the nightly quota from 16 to 35 flights is ‘buried’ in a technical appendix to Sir Howard Davies interim report on airport expansion.
Under the heading of ‘early morning smoothing’, the proposal would allow Heathrow to land the additional planes between 5am and 6am, which is classified as the night time period.
Flightpath communities in places like Battersea and Putney are deeply opposed to these early morning arrivals which affect their sleep and are linked to serious health issues.
The ‘smoothing’ procedure is one of Davies’ short term recommendations and will be trailed from 2015.
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.
Cllr Govindia said: “I just don’t think the Airports Commission has done enough work on noise to properly understand the problems experienced by people under the flightpath.
“We shouldn’t have to dig deep into a technical document to find out what is in store for us.
“This council has fought for years for a night flights ban. We’ve challenged the current scheme in the courts. One arrival before 6am is one too many. Our community is entitled to a decent night’s sleep.”
The Davies commissions first phase report also says the south east of England will need two new runways by 2050 and two Heathrow expansion schemes are shortlisted.
Cllr Govindia continues: “Today there 725,000 homes in the area around Heathrow where noise exceeds the standard EU measure for annoyance. This compares to 11,900 around Gatwick and 9,000 around Stansted.
“But so far Davies is not adopting the EU standard for noise (55Lden) so he can claim fewer people are affected. This is keeping Heathrow in the running for new runways.
“We believe the Davies commission has a duty to show that noise, air quality and public transport problems can all be resolved before advocating a new runway scheme. Our job is to make sure he arrives at the full cost for each of these measures – not just the figures that Heathrow want us to believe.
“Back in 2010 we defeated the last expansion proposals in the High Court. Nothing has changed and the grounds on which Heathrow expansion was stopped in its tracks are the same today.
“There is just no credible economic or environmental case for adding 200,000 flights to an airport located in the midst of the most densely built-up part of the country. And that’s for a third runway, never mind the fourth that would inevitably follow.
“Heathrow is simply in the wrong place for that kind of expansion.”
To sign up for the council’s Heathrow e-newsletter email email@example.com ‘subscribe’ in the subject box.
More information is online at www.wandsworth.gov.uk/heathrow
To let Sir Howard Davies know your views email Howard.Davies@airports.gsi.gov.uk
To let the Transport Secretary know your views email firstname.lastname@example.org
To report noise complaints to Heathrow email email@example.com or call 0800 344 844
The Airports Commission documents associated with its interim report are at Airports Commission’s interim report
Notes to Editors:
The Airports Commission interim report recommends ‘early morning smoothing’ at paragraph 5.45 to 5.49.
Details of the early morning smoothing procedure are included in the ‘Short Term Options – Technical Report’. This report is available to download from the commission’s website as one of 57 consultants reports within a file zip.
The table below sets out the early morning arrivals times now and under the smoothing proposal.
||Existing flights limit
||‘Smoothing’ flights limit
||3 (one runway)
||3 (one runway)
||13 (one runway)
||32 (one runway)
|6-7am (not classified as night flights)
||44 (two runways)
||32 (one runway)
Wandsworth Council vows to fight Heathrow night flight threat
28.1.2014Wandsworth Council says it has vowed to fight plans by the Airports Commission to increase the number of night flights over London. The Government’s second stage consultation on a new night flight regime proposes no significant changes to the existing rules despite new evidence on the health and social impacts of sleep deprivation caused by aircraft noise. The consultation documents say the Airports Commission will make recommendations for night flights in its final report in 2015. Flightpath communities in Battersea and Putney already suffer an average 16 early morning arrivals before 6am. They complain bitterly about these pre 6am flights (classified as night flights) and suffer from sleep deprivation and fatigue which affects their work and undermines their quality of life. The DfT’s own impact assessments link prolonged exposure to night flights to serious health problems including cardiovascular disease, strokes and hypertension. The Commission’s first report uses the outdated ‘57 decibel’ Leq metric to define aircraft noise impacts. That has infuriated noise campaigners who claim it grossly underestimates a flightpath noise footprint, and does not properly represent the noise experienced. The Commission will now look at some more effective metrics.Wandsworth Council leader Ravi Govindia believes there are already too many night flightshttp://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=19631.
Councils pour scorn over Heathrow runway proposals
18th July 2013
By Jamie Henderson, Chief Reporter
Wandsworth Council leader Ravi Govindia has been outspoken about the Heathrow plans
A campaign group of more than 20 councils affected by Heathrow believe the airport’s proposals for a third runway will inevitably be followed by demands for a fourth.
The airport yesterday revealed plans for three potential locations for its next landing strip – each of which would create new flightpaths over the most densely populated part of the UK.
But the all-party 2M Group is also challenging the airport’s claims that it can reduce noise suffering while increasing the number of flights over London.
The councils say that noise nuisance data used by the airport is 30 years out-of-date and understates the number of people who suffer under the existing and proposed flightpaths.
Ravi Govindia, Leader of Wandsworth Council and spokesman for the 2M Group, said: “Heathrow might be offering a choice over where their next runway goes but we they won’t stop until they have four.
“Some parts of London and the Home Counties may escape the new flightpaths this time round but the peace won’t last for long.
“To claim they can reduce noise while increasing the number flights over London is a complete sham and won’t stand up to scientific scrutiny.
“They grossly understate the number of people who suffer under their existing flightpaths and continue that trend with these projections.
“We calculate that around three million people will be affected by aircraft noise if the airport expands to four runways.
“They offer nothing new to solve the surface access and air pollution issues which scuppered their previous third runway plan in the High Court. This is a fight they can’t win.”
Heathrow revealed its latest expansion plans in a submission to the Government’s aviation commission.
2M has consistently argued that Heathrow will not stop expanding if granted a third landing strip.
Its main European rivals have four or more runways and Heathrow will seek to match their capacity.
Charles de Gaulle, Heathrow’s nearest rival, has four runways while Frankfurt and Barajas (Madrid) also have four and Schiphol (Amsterdam) has six.
The 2M Group is an all-party alliance of local authorities concerned about the environmental impact of Heathrow operations on their communities.
Members are not anti-Heathrow but work together to improve the environment and protect the quality of life for local people.
The group, which took its name from the 2 million residents of the original 12 authorities, now represents a combined population of 5 million people.
The previous government approved Heathrow’s plans for a third runway in 2009.
In 2010 the 2M Group challenged that decision in the High Court on environmental grounds and successfully overturned the government’s ruling.
Lord Justice Carnwath’s ruled a third runway ‘untenable’ because:
• The area around Heathrow already exceeds EU pollution limits due to aviation emissions and congestion on surrounding roads.
• The additional rail infrastructure required to support additional runway capacity has not been identified.
• A credible, contemporary measure for the onset of community annoyance from noise has not been established 2M asserts that a robust assessment of Heathrow’s noise, transport and air quality impacts will rule out new runways, rule out more intensive use of existing runways and highlight the need to phase out early morning flights.