Fear that ‘Heathrow noise reduces pupil learning by third’ – as Hounslow opens its Heathrow consultation

The head teacher of an infant and nursery school directly under a Heathrow flight path, close to the airport in Hounslow, has been speaking of the impact of the planes on the learning of children at her school. Kathryn Harper-Quinn, who runs Hounslow Heath Infant & Nursery School said a recent study had highlighted the dramatic impact planes thundering 600-feet overhead have on children’s learning. Asked to recall factual details from an outdoor lesson, she said, a class of 7-year-olds could remember about a third less than those hearing the same lesson in a specially built noise-insulated hut. When the study was repeated with a fictional story, there was no noticeable difference in performance – a result Ms Harper-Quinn put down to pupils being able to fill in the gaps more easily.  Speaking at the official launch of Hounslow Council’s consultation on Heathrow, she claimed a 3rd runway would blight thousands more children’s education. The consultation questionnaire contains 11 questions, and the deadline for responses is  May 16th.


‘Heathrow noise reduces pupil learning by third’

Apr 15 2013

By Robert Cumber ( Hounslow Chronicle)

Jumbo Jet flying over the suburban streets near Heathrow Airport.

A Headteacher told how aircraft noise can reduce pupils’ comprehension by up to a third as Hounslow Council launched its biggest ever consultation on Heathrow today.

Kathryn Harper-Quinn, who runs Hounslow Heath Infant & Nursery School, in Martindale Road, Hounslow, said a recent study had highlighted the dramatic impact planes thundering 600-feet overhead have on children’s learning.

Asked to recall factual details from an outdoor lesson, she said, a class of seven-year-olds could remember about a third less than those hearing the same lesson in a specially built noise-insulated hut.

Interestingly, when the study was repeated with a fictional story, there was no noticeable difference in performance – a result Ms Harper-Quinn put down to pupils being able to fill in the gaps more easily.

Speaking at the official launch of the council’s consultation on Heathrow, she claimed a third runway would blight thousands more children’s education.

“The relentless interruption and distraction makes things very difficult for young children learning to speak, read and write,” she said.

“How they can even consider building a third runway when they haven’t found solutions to mitigate the impact on schools under the existing flight paths is beyond me.”

Questionnaires have been sent to all 100,000 households across the borough asking for people’s views on a range of issues, from a third runway to air pollution.

People can also have their say online and at a series of public meetings being held across the borough as part of the survey, which closes on May 16.

Hounslow Council has already made its opposition to expansion clear, but council leader Jagdish Sharma said the 11 questions had been carefully worded to ensure the consultation was as fair as possible.

The launch comes as both Hillingdon and Richmond councils are preparing to hold holding referendums on a third runway.

Asked why Hounslow had not chosen to follow suit, deputy council leader Colin Ellar said he believed this survey would provide more information than a simple tick-box exercise to help the council, airport and the Government better understand the true impact of Heathrow on its close neighbours. He said the results would be sent to the Government this summer.

About 11,000 Hounslow residents are employed at Heathrow, according to the council, with many more relying on the airport for their livelihoods.

Heathrow has funded noise insulation measures at the 520-pupil Hounslow Heath Infant & Nursery School, along with others in the borough, including the igloo-like adobe hut which reduces noise by 17 decibels and can hold a class of 30 pupils.

However, Ms Harper-Quinn said that although this had helped mitigate the impact of the din caused by passing jets it was not a solution.

The Airports Commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, is investigating the demand for extra aviation capacity in the UK. Its final report is due in summer 2015.



 and ITV short film clip

Consultation on impact of Heathrow expansion

Mon 15 Apr 2013

Hounslow has launched its consultation on the airport.





“Make some noise over Heathrow” say Hounslow

April 15, 2013

(The Qureshi Report) by Murad Qureshi,  London Assembly Member

Make some noise reply_small-1

Hounslow Council’s Heathrow community consultation

This morning Hounslow Council’s launched its community consultation to Make Some Noise Over Heathrow. It will see a questionnaire sent to every one of the borough’s 100,000 households, inviting residents to have their say. It is the biggest consultation ever carried out in the borough.

Difference between Hounslow approach and Richmond and Hillingdon

Richmond and Hillingdon Councils have both committed to a 2-question referendum on which voters can voice their support for expanding Heathrow airport and seeing an increase in flight numbers. The result will be politically and legally binding on both authorities.

The Hounslow questionnaire also contains the two questions that are being asked by Richmond and Hillingdon to ensure that residents across West London are being asked to voice their thoughts on the same issues.

A community engagement exercise was thought to be a more flexible approach and has allowed Hounslow Council to create a questionnaire with a total of 11 questions. This provides an opportunity for a more in-depth engagement with community opinion and allows the Council to ask questions on the importance of Heathrow to the local economy, seek views on transport improvements and address noise and air quality issues as well the issue of night flights.

The community engagement exercise will run over a four-week period. This will enable the Council to campaign for a longer period of time, which will hopefully result in a higher response rate thereby increasing the validity of the overall results.

By covering a wide-range of issues relating to Heathrow, Hounslow Council also hopes to galvanise public support for its position on noise, air quality and night flights.

 Community events in libraries and high streets

In order to support the Heathrow consultation exercise, a series of roadshows will visit each of the borough’s eleven libraries between 15 April and 16 May, providing an opportunity for residents to get additional copies of the questionnaire and ask any questions around the issue of further expansion at the airport.  The main purpose is to increase participation in the consultation.

Staff will be on hand to proactively ask residents if they have received the consultation document through the door, if they have completed the questionnaire online, or if they would like more hard copies of the document for themselves, family or friends, in order to increase participation.

This exercise by Hounslow will be quantitatively and qualitatively very different from the Richmond & Hillingdon referendum and will usefully produce information about the how local residents feel the trade-off between job and quality of life issues over Heathrow should be managed rather then a yes or no approach. I look forward to seeing Hounslow submitting their data to the Davies Commission.




See earlier

Heathrow noise ‘hinders pupils’ reading progress’

Date added: March 28, 2013

Children living under the Heathrow flight path are suffering two-month lags in their reading development as a result of aircraft noise. Hounslow council says pupils in the borough have to put up with “continual disruption”, and warned the problem will worsen if the airport expands to three or more runways. Around 40 schools are directly under the Heathrow flight paths with planes landing every 90 seconds or so much of the day. The council cites an international study by London University into aircraft noise which found it led to a “significant impairment” in reading development, as well as affecting long-term memory and motivation. As well as a 2-month delay in reading, the children’s education is suffering from the continual disruption from low-flying jets. If schools don’t have triple glazing the interruptions to lessons can be relentless. One school near the airport has had shelters installed in the playground so children can escape the noise. A 2010 ECRD study suggested that chronic aircraft noise has a deleterious effect on memory, sustained attention, reading comprehension and reading ability.

Click here to view full story…




Pupils’ learning affected by Heathrow noise, says study

29.3.2013  (BBC)

includes a short video clip.

A new study suggests students at schools under the Heathrow airport flight path take two months longer to develop their reading skills than other children.

Researchers from the University of London looked at the effect of noise on concentration levels of pupils at 40 schools in west London.

A Heathrow airport spokesman said: “We know aircraft noise can disturb people living under the flight path which is why we offer a variety of schemes to reduce the impact of noise.

“We encourage airlines to fly only their quietest aircraft into Heathrow by charging airlines more for noisier aircraft and spend an average of £100,000 on noise insulation for schools which are eligible.”

BBC London’s Marc Webber spoke to Katherine Harper, head teacher at Heathrow Heath Infants School and councillor Colin Ellar, deputy leader of Hounslow Council.





See earlier

Concern in boroughs near Heathrow about aircraft noise threat from new runways

Date added: April 5, 2013

The flight paths, and areas to be affected by aircraft noise if Heathrow was allowed to build a 3rd and even a 4th runway were revealed earlier this week by the 2M group. People in Richmond are very concerned about the even greater noise intrusion into their lives that would be caused. A Richmond Cabinet member said Heathrow expansion would make cause blight to spread to parts of the borough that are currently less affected whilst increasing the disruption for those who already suffer the burden of continual aircraft noise. Residents in Surbiton are also very concerned that their area may suffer from a large degree of noise. One resident said it would probably force her to move out of the area, and “It is greed, it is capitalism. I care greatly about the environment and we are already wrecking what we have got.” Another said the plane noise puts him off living in the area. Richmond are holding a referendum in May, as are Hillingdon and Hounslow councils, to show the Airports Commission and the industry that Heathrow is not an acceptable location for expansion.

Click here to view full story…





New flight path maps from 2M, for 3rd and 4th Heathrow runways, show huge areas and up to 3 million people affected by noise

April 2, 2013     The 2M group, which represents some 24 local councils and between them some 3 million people, have released likely flight path maps for 3rd and 4th Heathrow runways. 2M estimate that while some 1 million people are affected by Heathrow noise at present, with 2 more runways, that would rise to 3 million people. Their indicative flight paths for arrivals and departures show the large areas which would be affected by aircraft noise if a northern and a southern runway were to be built . The approach across London to a northern runway would cover Mayfair, Belgravia, Sloane Square, South Kensington, Earl’s Court, West Kensington, Hammersmith, Chiswick and Brent. That would include all these parks (which cannot be soundproofed): Hyde Park, Regent’s Park, St James’s Park and Kensington Gardens. The areas which would be affected by approaches to a southern runway would be Streatham, Balham, Tooting, Wandsworth Common, Earlsfield, Southfields, Putney Heath, Roehampton, Richmond Park, Richmond town centre, Isleworth, Hounslow Heath and Bedfont. The leader of Wandsworth Council commenting on blighting the lives of 3 million people and spoiling the quiet enjoyment of huge parts of London: “The price is far too high and the benefits far from certain.” This will definitely be a key political issue at the next election.    Click here to view full story…