Heathrow business case looks shaky if it had to give £100 million + per year noise compensation to households
Heathrow airport would have to fork out £100m to homeowners if it matches Gatwick’s compensation offer
2nd April 2014 (Local Guardian)
By Sophia Sleigh, Chief Reporter
Heathrow owners would have to shell out £100m every year to households around the airport if it is to match Gatwick’s new noise compensation offer.
Wandsworth Council is fighting plans by the Airports Commission to increase the number of night flights over London because landing additional planes between 5am and 6am would affect people living under the flight paths in Battersea and Putney.
Council officers have calculated Heathrow would have to shell out a staggering £100m every year to households around the airport if it is to match Gatwick’s noise compensation offer.
Gatwick has pledged to pay £1,000 each to existing homes inside a 57 decibel catchment around the airport and a two runway Gatwick is expected to cover up to 4,100 homes, costing £4.1mn per annum.
Wandsworth residents would not fall under the 57dB catchment area and would therefore not benefit from compensation if it was matched.
The Government uses 57dB metric as the noise threshold for serious community annoyance.
Wandsworth Council argues this is inadequate and fails to recognise the severe impacts on people living further away from the airport.
Gatwick is also offering up to 2,000 qualifying local households a one-off grant of up to £3,000 towards noise insulation. If Heathrow was to match the terms of this scheme it could cost the airport a further £210m.
Councillor Ravi Govindia, leader of Wandsworth Council, said: “Sir Howard Davies and his aviation commission made a serious mistake in shortlisting Heathrow as a potential new runway site without considering these costs.
“It is their job to make fair comparisons between competing airports.
“Davies can’t do this if he continues to dismiss the real noise impact of an airport set in the most densely populated part of the country.
“Once you weigh the real environmental costs – and those for improved surface access – against the claimed benefits of an additional runway, Heathrow’s business case begins to look very shaky.”
The number of people affected by Heathrow noise now:
There are about 725,000 people currently affected by Heathrow noise, above the 55 decibel level.
“an estimated 725,000 people were within the 55dBALden” (Heathrow airport data)
and some 245,000 in the 57 db LAeq contour.
£1,000 x 245,000 = £245 million
This number would increase by at least another 150,000 if there was a new, north west runway at Heathrow, within a 55 dB contour. link
ie. a total of 875,000 people in total would probably be within a 55 dB contour with a 3rd runway.
Gatwick hopes noise compensation pledge will help it win battle for a new runway
March 28, 2014
As competition hots up to persuade the Airports Commission, and ultimately Parliament, on their own cases for building a new runway, Gatwick and Heathrow have both stressed the importance of dealing with the aircraft noise issue, or at least hoping people believe they are dealing with it. Gatwick has committed to pay annual compensation of around £1,000 to local households most affected by aircraft noise should it receive approval for a 2nd runway. Heathrow, meanwhile, has pointed to a [dubious] survey it commissioned from Populus that aircraft noise is only the 7th most important aspect of a London airport for Londoners. The Gatwick scheme would only pay up when a new runway starts to be used, and might affect around 4,100 households inside the 57 db(A) Leq noise contour. The compensation would not be paid to new residents choosing to relocate to the area once the runway is built. Earlier Gatwick announced plans to offer hundreds of local homes up to £3,000 towards double glazing and loft insulation to mitigate aircraft noise. This level of payment if offered at Heathrow would be vastly more expensive, by several orders of magnitude.
Gatwick offers to pay households for noise of 2nd runway – dismissed by opponents as a “very small bribe”
March 10, 2014
Gatwick airport is on a PR and charm offensive to try to get support for a 2nd runway. This has been somewhat upset over the past two weeks by the impact on the village of Warnham of an unannounced flight path trial. Now Gatwick airport may have been rushed into making the offer of £1,000 per year to “all households most affected” by noise from a 2nd runway. The airport says would be equivalent to Band A Council Tax (currently £1000). Gatwick CEO Stewart Wingate said the cash would help negate some of the impact. The airport estimate that 4,100 households would qualify for the money by 2040, using the discredited 57 decibel contour. In reality, the 57dB contour does not accurately reflect the areas where noise is annoying or causes disturbance – even the 54dB contour, as used in Europe, is an inaccurate measure. Many thousands more people – perhaps 48,000 – would need to be compensated if the 54dB contour was used. The £1,000 is a derisory figure, not even slightly compensating for loss of house value, or for loss of local amenity and quality of life. This is a very small bribe. Click here to view full story…
Gatwick hopes that by giving another 1,000 homes double-glazing it will defuse opposition to a 2nd runway
February 3, 2014
Gatwick airport continues to spend a lot of money in attempting to get backing for its 2nd runway and soften up opposition. It has now set up a new scheme – starting on 1st April – to give people overflown more double glazing and house insulation, to attempt to cut some of the noise. That, of course, does not work when the windows are open, or when people are outside – in a garden, or elsewhere. Gatwick says it is expanding its noise insulation scheme, to cover over 1,000 more homes across Surrey, Sussex and Kent. People will be able to apply for up to £3,000 towards double glazing for their windows and doors as well as loft insulation; ie the scheme could cost Gatwick some £3 million in total. They are now taking the 60 Leq contour, rather than the 66 Leq contour, as in the past – hence increasing the catchment area. They are also extending the area covered by 15km to both west and east of the airport. Stewart Wingate said “We understand that the public’s tolerance to noise is much lower than it was”… Gatwick is pushing hard to compare the noise problem it causes with the much larger noise problem caused by Heathrow, where flight paths go over many more densely populated areas. They ignore the issue of the low level of background noise around Gatwick, compared to background noise in a city or large town. Click here to view full story…
Even if only 10% of those newly overflown by a 3rd Heathrow runway are deeply disturbed by the noise, that is 15,000 more people
Date added: February 11, 2014
In a recent blog, John Stewart considers the issue that is key for Heathrow airport – noise – and how it can affect people differently. Some people are much more bothered and distressed by it than others. The airport is currently carrying out focus group research in an attempt to find more about these differences. Currently there are over 725,000 people under Heathrow flight paths; a 3rd north-west runway would add around another 150,000 = total 875,000. What is much less clear is how many of these people are, or will be, deeply disturbed by aircraft noise. Research from Germany indicates that about 10% of people are much more noise sensitive than others. It is know that people will be more annoyed by noise if they believe it is not good for them. Also if they feel they have no control over the noise or cannot stop it getting worse. Noise is less disturbing when people believe the authorities are doing everything they can to reduce the problem. Heathrow believes around 10% of those who would be newly over-flown by a new runway’s flight paths would be deeply disturbed. The numbers are huge. 10% means an extra 15,000 people. Considering those under flight paths for all 3 runways, 10% means 87,000 people (out of the 875,000 overflown). Even 5% is 43,000 people seriously upset by the noise. That is a pretty terrifying statistic.