Heathrow flight path changes / trial inflict more noise misery on Ascot area and 3 villages area
Heathrow airport and NATS are experimenting with flight path changes and new technology systems for Heathrow flights. The aim is to reduce ‘stacking’ of aircraft waiting to land, and to speed up departure times, getting more planes in the air per hour – in order make the airport more efficient (or more profitable). There is a series of trials, over a period of years from 2012 to 2017, advertised on Heathrow’s website. They are to inform the London Airspace Management Programme (LAMP) consultation. One trial, for departures to the west, started on 28th August and will last till January 2015. It will test how sharply aircraft are able to turn on take-off and how fast they can climb. The results will be factored into Heathrow’s revision of flight paths that are required under the European ‘SESAR’ programme. The reality for people being over-flown is that there are now more aircraft passing over Ascot, Sunningdale and Sunninghill, and these planes are low (around 3,000 feet) and climbing. The gaps between planes are also shorter than before. A petition has been set up by people in the Ascot area, to get the trial ended immediately. The new noise barrage has created new fears in those areas of the impact of a 3rd runway.
“Trial‟ is almost the wrong word. It will test how sharply aircraft are able to turn on take-off and how fast they can climb.
Flightpath experiment spells more noise overhead
Airport bosses and air traffic controllers are experimenting with flight path changes and new technology systems in a bid to reduce ‘stacking’ in the air and speed up departure times, putting more planes in the air at a faster rate.
There will be different trial routes for planes taking off from Heathrow, with some aircraft passing over Ascot, Sunningdale and Sunninghill – scheduled to start some time in September.
This will impact on communities because passenger jets will be passing over their homes at 3,000ft.
Times between takeoffs have been shortened, and the increased number of passenger airline departures will last until January 26. There will be a public consultation in 2016 and Heathrow’s ‘noise team’ has been briefed to deal with complaints.
Details of the flight alterations have been unearthed by the Ascot, Sunninghill and Sunningdale Neighbourhood Plan Delivery Group and published online.
Royal Borough councillor David Hilton (Ascot and Cheapside) says he has already had complaints in advance of the ‘trials’ and has alerted Windsor MP Adam Afriyie.
Cllr Hilton said: “This could be Heathrow’s way of increasing their traffic capacity and we are obviously worried about what will happen. This is not like popping outside your front door to have a look at Concorde.
“Heathrow can undergo trials without consultation and appear to be concentrating more aircraft in narrower channels than they have done in the past.
“Obviously many people in this region depend on Heathrow but Heathrow has to be fair and reasonable and we are worried in case too many planes are channelled in narrow air corridors.
“There appears to have been increased activity since June and I have received five or six complaints. One Jumbo flew very low over Winkfield.”
The campaigners’ newsletter says: “There will be six new routes, three of which will track our area.
“The purpose of these trials is to reduce the intervals between take-offs by using more departure routes which diverge more significantly from each other than current ones.”
The group’s map shows new routes passing at 3,000ft south west over Cheapside, another west of the Ascot Racecourse and a third south west over Sunningdale to Lightwater.
A Heathrow spokeswoman said its proposals have not been kept under wraps and are accessible online.
She said: “It is all part of the airspace modernisation strategy which has not been upgraded for 40 years.”
A Heathrow website article says: “This has the potential to reduce holding times on the ground to reduce delays on departure.”
A spokeswoman for NATS Holdings – formerly National Air Traffic Control Services – said: “Basically it is upgrading technology and streamlining old designs.”
Ascot area residents’ petition to end new Heathrow flight path trial
Residents in the area in and around Ascot (not far from Heathrow) have a Change.org petition asking that the new Heathrow flight path trial, which started in the last few days, should immediately be ended. It is causing considerable noise nuisance, and making life there unpleasant.
Residents can see the planes very clearly from their gardens, and the noise is so loud now it disturbs any conversation they have outside.
The noise has increased massively since early July and is especially loud since the 28th of August 2014. Residents can see the planes very clearly from their gardens, and the noise is so loud now it disturbs any conversation they have outside. Residents are now opposed to any more expansion at Heathrow and call for an IMMEDIATE end to the flight path trial!
What if the 3rd runway is given the go ahead – this noise will be a permanent feature unless we voice our concerns. We need over100,000 signatures and we all want the same result – the government to stop the trials affecting our area, whether it’s, Ascot, North Ascot, Windlesham, etc.
In the 3 Villages area (Lightwater, Windlesham and Bagshot) residents have been impacted both by the latest trials – that started on 28th August 2014 – as well as those which ended on 15th June.
With local feelings running high, people in this began a campaign and now also have an online petition with links from their website at www.aircraftnoiselightwater.co.uk
Following contact with John Holland-Kaye in early August, the campaign has secured a meeting with Cheryl Monk, (Head of Community Relations and Policy) to which residents of all affected areas are invited (both 3 Villages and Ascot will attend) – to be held on 15th October (time and venue to be confirmed).
There is a Change.org petition to the Heathrow complaints team, here They say:
“Flights are passing overhead, lower, louder and later than ever before disturbing all aspects of everyday life. Flights continue as late as 11.30pm and as early as 6am – a period when a reasonable person expects the right to peace and quiet.
“Local residents are now opposed to any more expansion at Heathrow and call for an IMMEDIATE end to the flight path trial!”
Indicative timeline for planned trials at Heathrow to inform the London
Airspace Management Programme (LAMP) consultation.
2012 – 2017 includes flight path trials in 2014, 2015 and 2016