HACAN comments on Heathrow Noise Action Plan consultation

HACAN has produced a report on the Heathrow Noise Action Plan consultation.

The report  outlines the flaws in the Government’s approach to the Noise Action Plan for Heathrow and suggests the issues which it should address.


The European Union requires member states to produce noise action plans.  DEFRA
is the government department responsible for the plans in the UK.     It has given
responsibility for drawing up the noise action plans for many of the airports,
including Heathrow, to the airport operators themselves! BAA’s draft noise action
plan for Heathrow failed to deal with any of the underlying noise problems.

This report sets out the issues which need addressing. It outlines 8 key measures
which need to be contained in a Noise Action Plan in order to improve the situation:

1. A strategic, step-by-step approach to reduce the noise suffered by all communities
during the day through a range of clearly defined measures;

– Get rid of the 57 decibel contour as it doesn’t reflect reality;

– Retain the cap of 480,000 on the number of flights permitted at Heathrow;

– Retain runway alternation;

– Explore ways of extending runway alternation to areas further from Heathrow;

– Look at ways of introducing a steeper approach.

– Ditch any plan to concentrate the number of flights on narrower and narrower
corridors thus creating noise ghettos.

– Explore ways of actually reducing the number of flights using the airport.

2. A ban on night flights between 11.30pm and 6am when the current arrangement
comes to an end in 2012; with a phasing out of flights between 6am and 7am.

3. A recognition that the current method of averaging out noise does not, in
itself, give an accurate picture of the way people hear aircraft noise.

4. ‘C’ weighted noise measurements to be taken alongside ‘A’ weighting to accurately
reflect the high levels of low-frequency noise contained in aircraft noise;

5. The protection of existing quiet spaces.

6. A re-evaluation of the way Continuous Descent Approach is working and a reassessment
of its benefits and disbenefits.

7. The introduction of more realistic and generous insulation schemes.

8. A joint plan covering both Heathrow and London City airports because of the
overlapping flight paths.


see the full report at  

HACAN report on Heathrow Noise Action Plan (pdf)