Heathrow finally completes £4.8 million of insulation work on schools etc – after 10 years

Heathrow has finally finished installing noise insulation at the 42 schools and other community buildings (31 in Hounslow) where it promised in 2005 to carry out the work. It has taken 10 years, and it cost Heathrow £4.8 million.  Heathrow said in 2005 it would install double glazing and make other improvements to minimise the din from aircraft, at selected schools etc under its flight paths. Now, pressing for a runway, John Holland-Kaye ensured the work under the Community Building Noise Insulation scheme was completed this April.  Part of the cost is the adobe buildings for school playgrounds, in which children can be taught “outdoors” under the dome. How being inside an adobe dome counts as being “outdoors” is a mystery. The adobe buildings have cost £1.8 million, from Heathrow, and have been installed in 5 schools in Hounslow and Slough – with 5 more due to be completed in Hounslow this year. If Heathrow gets a 3rd runway, it has “promised” to spend £700 million insulating homes, schools and other buildings affected by aircraft noise – more than 20 times the £30 million currently on offer. But is it not saying if it will make any improvements, if it does not get a runway. John Stewart, chairman of HACAN, said: “What’s important is that further insulation should not be dependent on a third runway.”

As one wit asked: “If it has taken them 10 years to do £4.8 million of insulation work, how long could it take them to get round to £700 million?”   A fair question indeed …..

Heathrow fulfils schools promise – decade after it was made

25.4.2015 (Get West London)

By Robert Cumber

The airport’s operator has finally finished installing noise insulation at the 42 schools and other community buildings where it promised in 2005 to carry out the work

An adobe hut at Hounslow Heath Infant and Junior School, which was the first to get one of the noise-insulated domes funded by Heathrow

Heathrow’s owners have fulfilled a promise to insulate schools in Hounslow from the noise of passing jets – a decade after it was made.

Bosses at the airport pledged in 2005 to install double glazing and make other improvements to minimise the din at selected schools and other community buildings lying under its flight paths.

But they had faced flak for taking so long to make good the commitment, which had its origins in a 2003 government white paper ordering airport operators to offer such measures.

When Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye took up the top post in July last year, one of the first promises he made was to complete the Community Building Noise Insulation scheme by April 2015.

The airport operator announced on Tuesday (April 21) that he had kept his word, with noise insulation now completed at all 42 buildings qualifying for the voluntary initiative, 31 of which are in Hounslow.

Heathrow said the total cost of the work to the buildings, which include nursing homes and community centres as well as schools, was more than £4.8m.

Mr Holland-Kaye said: “The completion of this schools insulation programme and our innovative adobe buildings are only part of our ambitious plans to reduce the impact of aircraft noise on local communities, and be a better neighbour.”

He also hailed the impact of new adobe huts being built at schools around Heathrow thanks to £1.8m funding from the airport.

The Teletubby-style huts, which are built from soil-filled tubes and offer refuge from aircraft noise during outdoor lessons, are already in place at five schools in Hounslow and Slough, with another five scheduled for completion in Hounslow this year.

Hounslow Council leader Steve Curran said: “The conclusion of the insulation programme is a good step towards creating better schools in Hounslow and we will continue to work with the airport in promoting the adobe buildings scheme and the primary and secondary school challenges, Heathrow’s education programme to inspire the next generation of engineers.”

Hounslow Heath Infant and Nursery School has benefited from noise insulation and the adobe huts, along with a bespoke ventilation system also funded by Heathrow.

Its headteacher Kathryn Harper-Quinn said: “We are very pleased with this noise insulation work as it makes a difference to staff and pupils, and we are just one of many schools in the Heathrow area to benefit from this scheme.”

If Heathrow gets a third runway, the operator has promised to spend £700m insulating homes, schools and other buildings affected by aircraft noise – more than 20 times the £30 million currently on offer.

However, it has resisted pressure to say whether it would improve the current compensation scheme should it fail in its bid for a new landing strip.

John Stewart, chairman of the anti Heathrow expansion campaign group HACAN said: “This insulation programme has been welcomed by local people. What’s important is that further insulation should not be dependent on a third runway.”



See earlier:

Adobe earth houses in school playground give pupils refuge from Heathrow noise

Pupils at the Hounslow Heath Infant school ( children aged 3 –  7) just under a Heathrow flight path, have very loud and intrusive aircraft noise from the planes flying some 180 metres approx overhead. The problem is so bad that BAA (as it was) paid for the construction of some adobe structures in the playground, so the children can spend at least part of their time outdoors in places where they can hear each other speak. At some times of day, there is aircraft noise for 25 seconds out of every 90 seconds. Classes of up to 30 children can be seated inside the main dome, and inside the noise is reduced by some 17 decibels. Outdoor learning is valued by teachers and is also a statutory part of the national curriculum. The headteacher said the adobe structures are important as refuges because  “When kids are playing they are also developing their language skills, and in the playground again they’re being interrupted.” Schools should not be located under flight paths where planes are low.



Heathrow pays £1.8m for noise-reducing adobe huts in playgrounds of 21 schools under its flightpaths

It was reported in April 2013 that four adobe domes had been put  up in the grounds of Hounslow Primary school, which is under the southern runway at  Heathrow, in order to enable the children to use the playground despite the plane noise. Now Heathrow says it will spend £1.8 million to extend the scheme to 21 schools that are badly affected by aircraft noise. Heathrow is desperate to try and persuade London residents that aircraft noise is being dealt with, and a 3rd runway will not cause intolerable noise to those overflown. The 21 schools, which have not been  named, will each get around £85,000 for the building of these structures. The largest can hold 30 children, and the level of noise can be 17 decibels lower than outside. Children can hear the teachers inside the domes, so teaching does not have to stop for a considerable time every 90 seconds or so, when planes go over. Children can also hear each other, and so develop their language skills. However, the domes do not solve the problem of providing ventilation and soundproofing of classrooms.


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.https://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=2363


Heathrow noise ‘hinders pupils’ reading progress’ – would only worsen with more runways and fights

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.

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