Angry residents serve ASBO on Heathrow in flight path noise protest
Residents from a raft of communities to the west of London have served Heathrow with an ASBO (anti social behaviour order) in protest at the increase in aircraft noise generated by new flight paths implemented for Heathrow by their partner NATS. Members of a new grouping, CAIAN (Communities Against Increased Aircraft Noise) took their mock ASBO to Heathrow, to draw attention to the serious impact recent flight pattern changes are having on people across Surrey, Berkshire, and parts of west London. CAIAN represents local action groups that have joined forces to challenge new and altered arrival and departure routes imposed by Heathrow and NATS, without warning or consultation. The mock ASBO accuses Heathrow of “breaches of common decency”, specifically for running an airport “with general disregard for neighbours and the environment, that allows excessive noise for 17+ hours a day, and which contributes to high local air pollution”. CAIAN has a range of demands, including a moratorium on new runways until noise and pollution from the existing two are properly addressed. They will keep up the pressure, to get proper accountability in the aviation sector. There is widespread fury and outrage that PBN routes are being determined by airline profitability rather than any consideration for communities being overflown, who are suffering the consequences.
Angry residents serve ASBO on Heathrow in flight path noise protest
Residents from a raft of communities to the west of London have served Heathrow with an ASBO in protest at the increase in aircraft noise generated by new flight paths implemented for Heathrow by their partner NATS (National Air Traffic Services).
Members of Communities Against Increased Aircraft Noise (CAIAN) took the mock anti-social behaviour order to Heathrow to draw attention to the serious impact recent flight pattern changes are having on the ground across Surrey, Berkshire, and parts of west London.
The umbrella organisation represents local action groups based in Ascot, Bracknell, Binfield, Crowthorne, Chavey Down, Eton, Oakley Green, and Sandhurst in Berkshire, Bagshot, Englefield Green, Wentworth, Virginia Water, Lightwater, and Windlesham in Surrey, Teddington and Twickenham in south-west London which have joined forces to challenge new and altered arrival and departure routes imposed without warning or consultation.
CAIAN spokeswoman Helen Hansen Hjul said: “We are serving this ASBO on Heathrow today because the airport is the source of the flights and as our neighbour must take responsibility for the anti-social noise nuisance and blight being generated by these new paths.”
The mock ASBO accuses Heathrow Airport Ltd of “breaches of common decency”, specifically for running an airport “with general disregard for neighbours and the environment, that allows excessive noise for 17+ hours a day, and which contributes to high local air pollution”.
Among restrictions the campaigners are demanding of Heathrow are:
- Putting a moratorium on new runways until noise and pollution from the existing two are properly addressed
- Ensuring all aircraft are on maximum continuous ascent until at least 10,000ft to protect communities from unacceptable levels of noise
- Stopping night flights to allow residents the sleep they need to contribute positively to the UK economy.
The ASBO goes on to warn Heathrow management that “failure to comply will result in further campaigning to reduce your flight capacity and stop future development, increase demands for aviation fuel tax, and increase calls for independent assessment of aviation practices in relation to noise and pollution on the ground”.
Heathrow and National Air Traffic Services provider NATS – now the airport’s close partner work with airlines to increase profit – both consistently refuse to acknowledge that changes to established flight patterns have been made following controversial trials run last year, despite a significant increase in recorded noise complaints.
NATS director Juliet Kennedy did concede in a BBC Radio Surrey interview that one route, -Compton – had been modified but insisted no other routes had been changed. and that NATS could do what they want with the airspace. (see below for reference)
“When we complain, we are fobbed off with standard emails; told nothing has changed and that we are over sensitive to or imagining the noise,” said CAIAN spokeswoman Ms Hansen Hjul.
Another resident who has been subjected to the increased noise, Murray Barter added: “We are being newly disturbed by two recent NATS projects; one is “Continuous Climb Operations” which only ‘continuously climb’ for 4,000ft amsl, then flatten off their ascent to unnecessarily cause and spread noise over a much wider contour area than is being recognised on current outdated noise metrics. The second is “Performance-Based Navigation”, (PBN) which fires aircraft like a laser beam along newly created noise ghetto corridors where EVERY aircraft follows a precise departure route, whereas previously the disturbance was at least spread around, which was much fairer. ”
He continued: “PBN would be more accurately described as ‘Profit-Based Navigation’ as routes are now determined by airline profitability rather than any consideration for the tax-paying and law-abiding UK communities surrounding the airports for up to 30 miles who are suffering as a consequence.”
Heathrow handles around 1,300 flights a day, with the first arrivals touching down at 4.30am and the first departures taking off around 6am. The final departure is scheduled to leave at 10.50pm, but this curfew is frequently breached with aircraft flying low over residential areas past midnight.
Ms Hansen Hjul said: “We will keep up the pressure for both Heathrow and NATS to take responsibility for the consequences of their actions and we are campaigning more widely for far greater accountability across the aviation sector,”.
“Today we are celebrating Magna Carta, 800 years of this country’s proud democratic legacy, yet two companies — Heathrow and NATS —are able to jeopardise the health and well-being of many thousands of people without being subject to a full and proper independent planning and consultation process with our communities.”
More information about CAIAN at www.caian.co.uk
Communities Against Increased Aircraft Noise (CAIAN) is a non-profit umbrella organisation formed in spring 2015 and comprising the following local action groups representing communities to the west of London adversely affected by aircraft noise from Heathrow:
Aircraft Noise Lightwater representing Lightwater, Windlesham, Bagshot
Contact: Rosalie James
Chavey Down Residents’ Association
Contact: Jacquie Lovell
Eton Community Association
Contact: Duncan Reed
Englefield Green Action Group (EGAG)
Contact: Kevin Swannack firstname.lastname@example.org
PlaneDAFT representing Ascot, Sunningdale, Sunninghill
Contact: Kate Mann
RAAN (Residents Against Aircraft Noise) representing Bracknell, Binfield, Crowthorne, Sandhurst and environs
Contact: Ray Rampton
Teddington Action Group representing Teddington, Twickenham and surrounds
Contact: Katie Williams
Wentworth Residents Association representing Wentworth & Virginia Water
Contact: Carol Manduca
Link to BBC Radio Surrey Breakfast interview with Helen Hansen-Hjul and Juliet Kennedy(NATS Director) 19th March 2015
Link to info on USA version of PBN – “NEXGEN”
‘NextGen’ the identical USA version of ‘PBN’)