Bill for even partly effective noise insulation for all households affected by 3rd runway would be huge – far above £700 m?
Up to 400,000 households could be in line for compensation for the excess noise they will suffer after the construction of Heathrow’s third runway.
The airport is believed to be close to identifying homes around the west London hub that may be able to apply for compensation of up to £3,000 to pay for noise insulation.
Sources said that about 400,000 homes, which house about 920,000 people, are likely to be entitled to make a claim.
The figure represents all people who will be affected by aircraft noise at Heathrow and is likely to include large numbers of those already blighted. Heathrow has yet to publish details of new flights that will be created by an expanded airport
Critics said the assessment was a “gross underestimation”, and that as many as 970,000 homes and 2.2 million people would be expected to put up with extra aircraft noise.
The row emerged as it was revealed that the first official application for a legal challenge against the government’s decision to support a third runway had been lodged at the High Court.
Neil Spurrier, a lawyer from southwest London, has filed an application for a judicial review of the decision, saying that an additional runway would create “unwarranted noise and pollution” that infringed his human rights. A group of five local authorities, backed by the London mayor and Greenpeace, is expected to table its own application for a judicial review next week.
Last month MPs voted overwhelmingly in favour of the government’s airports national policy statement — the legislation that effectively gives outline planning consent to Heathrow.
The airport wants to build a two-mile runway northwest of the existing site by 2026. This would increase the maximum number of flights in and out of the airport from 480,000 to 740,000 a year, accommodating 130 million passengers. Heathrow will start a legal consultation in the new year setting out the fine detail of its plans, which will involve demolishing an estimated 783 homes around the airport.
By law, the airport has to write to any property owner who could be entitled to make a compensation claim after being adversely affected by the plan.
The Times has learnt that the airport has identified about 400,000 property owners in west London who fall into this category. They are likely to be concentrated in areas such as Hounslow. With an average of 2.3 people per home, this adds up to about 920,000 residents.
These people may be entitled to up to £3,000 to pay for acoustic insulation, such as new windows or possibly roofing, although any application would be subject to an independent assessment.
Heathrow said yesterday that it was still in the process of assessing how many homes may be affected and did not recognise the figure of 400,000 properties. Previous studies have estimated that 585,600 people are affected by noise at a two-runway Heathrow.
Critics said that the airport was downplaying the impact of noise. Figures released by the Civil Aviation Authority after a freedom of information request this year showed that as many as 973,000 households, or roughly 2.2 million people, could experience daytime noise by 2050.
Robert Barnstone, from the Stop Heathrow Expansion Coalition campaign group, called the 400,000 figure a “gross underestimation”.
A Heathrow spokeswoman said: “The location of new flight paths around an expanded Heathrow cannot be finalised until we receive feedback from the public, following a formal consultation process. This is why it is so important for our neighbours to feed into this consultation, and have their say on airspace design around Heathrow.
“These consultation events will also give us further opportunity to inform local residents of the extensive noise mitigation proposals we have in place, including a noise insulation offer worth over £700 million.”
CAA data, only obtained through FoI request, shows about 2.2 million people would be affected by noise from a 3 runway Heathrow
Over 2 million people could be affected by noise from an expanded Heathrow according to secret documents obtained by campaigners. Transport Secretary Chris Grayling had previously claimed in October 2016 that an expanded Heathrow (up to 50% more flights) would be quieter in 2030 than today. This claim (obviously ludicrous) was not repeated in the revised draft consultation on the Airports National Policy statement (NPS) published in October 2017. This predicted that 92,700 additional people in the area around Heathrow would be exposed to noise by 2030 as a consequence of the 3rd runway. Now, following an FOI request for the noise data contained in the CAA’s economic analysis, a new figure emerges of 972,957 households who would experience greater noise by 2060. This is the time frame for the full introduction of ‘quieter’ (= slightly less noisy) planes. Based on CAA assumptions on household size this figure is equivalent to 2.2 million people. The third runway, if approved, is expected to be fully open by 2028. At this point it is claimed that a maximum of 90% of the aircraft fleet would have been updated. This excludes many of the noisier four-engine planes. It is likely therefore that at this point the numbers of people experiencing increased noise would be significantly higher.