Teddington residents miserable under Heathrow easterly take-offs – though officially they are not affected

Teddington is an area largely affected by easterly take-offs from Heathrow.  The wind direction in the south east of England is generally for westerly winds for around 70 – 77% of the time. The level of aircraft noise over Teddington is therefore not a problem during westerly take-offs.  The way aircraft noise is measured – by taking an average over a period of time, and over many months, rather than the plane noise on a particular day – means that Teddington and areas like it, are not deemed to be within the noise contours that imply a significant level of noise nuisance. However, during periods of easterly winds, which can last for over 10 days, the level of noise is deeply intrusive. The campaign, Teddington Action Group, has made a powerful short film that illustrates the noise they are subjected to, for perhaps 25 -30% of the year. Yet, on the noise averaging system used by the CAA and the Airports Commission, they are considered not to be affected by noise. They wonder how many other areas can be regarded as untroubled by noise, when the reality on the ground is very different. And how much worse would this situation get, with how many more affected, if there was a Heathrow 3rd runway.  Watch the film. 



Teddington Heathrow Hell April 2015https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MR00hem1JcM&feature=youtu.be


Teddington noise contours The map above is one prepared by the CAA for the DfT, in October 2014.

The blue line shows the level of noise in 2013, with the outer line showing the 57 dB Leq noise contour for a year with 77% westerly wind and 23% easterly wind.

More on how Leq is measured here].


The map below was prepared for the Airports Commission, rather confusingly combining the noise area with and without a new runway. Either way, Teddington is shown as outside the noise are, though it would in reality be heavily overflown.

Teddington noise area from AC map by Jacobs



The Teddington Action Group (TAG) website says:


Last week was a busy week what with meeting Boris Johnson with Tania Mathias and Zac Goldsmith and them pledging their support, and having a meeting with Vince Cable about the future and current concerns.

TAG were present and contributed to the Community Noise Forum last Monday. .http://hacan.org.uk/community-noise-forum-set-up


* A third runway could bring 54% more air traffic roaring over our homes, schools and open spaces.
* More aircraft means more noise and airborne pollution and the effects can be a serious health hazard.
* A third runway at Heathrow could see flights increase from 480,000 to 740,000 a year.
* Increased noise nuisance will inevitably affect quality of life the value of your home.

Although the initial trials are behind us, (summer 2014) more may take place and a public consultation in 2016 will help determine where flight-paths will be by the 2020 mandate.

Even without Heathrow expansion, there are proposals for new concentrated flight paths over Teddington, Twickenham and other areas.

Studies show that aircraft noise causes sleep deprivation and affects health and well-being. Can you imagine if Heathrow gets night flights as well?

The Commission’s  ‘affected areas of expansion’ map (click for full size).

Heathrow expansion could increase flights by an estimated 54% from 480,000 to 740,000. There have been some illustrative flight-paths included in the report but no detail – it is currently unknown which communities (new or existing) would be affected by the increased plane numbers, but it’s likely that if combined with the new concentrated flight-paths, they could have a very detrimental impact on areas such as Teddington.

Disturbingly, using the measurement standard 57 LAeq that the Davies Report uses Teddington, Twickenham and other nearby towns aren’t within the contour of those currently affected and are ‘relatively unaffected by aircraft noise‘.

That is something locals might disagree with and particularly when flight-paths are combined and concentrated!

The Leq method measures noise on days when planes are flying over and when they are not. As planes take off towards the west 70% of the time, this means that these days when planes aren’t overhead bring down the average noise levels. The overall number of affected people is 250,000 using this method.

Using the European standard 55 Lden noise method (only measuring plane noise when they are actually overhead), our area is indeed included in those affected by noise nuisance and the overall number of residents affected by plane noise around Heathrow rises to over 750,000. This startling number makes up 28% of all people affected by aircraft in Europe!

[ Lden is defined as:  “Day-evening-night equivalent level : A-weighted, Leq. noise level, measured over the 24 hour period, with a 10 dB penalty added to the levels between 23.00 and 07.00 hours and a 5 dB penalty added to the levels between 19.00 and 23.00 hours to reflect people’s extra sensitivity to noise during the night and the evening.]


The Leq measurements are taken over a 3/4 month period over the summer months (because they are the busiest).

Noise campaign group HACAN has been calling for the noise measurements for areas like Teddington simply to be averaged out over the days when they get planes overhead, rather than an average over the whole year.


See also:

London MPs and Councils challenge Airports Commission on aircraft noise with updated “ANASE” report

In 2005 the ANASE (Attitudes to Noise from Aviation Sources in England) report into what level of sound caused community annoyance was undertaken, and it indicated that the 57 decibel contour  – the measure the UK authorities still use – did not satisfactorily measure aircraft noise.  In reality, significant annoyance was caused at much lower level of sound exposure.  However, this finding was inconvenient and so the report was shelved by the government.  The 57 dB contour is still being used, and is the measure being used by the Airports Commission. The ANASE report has now been revised and updated, and this new report has just been launched by Hillingdon Council on behalf of the all-party 2M Group of councils opposed to Heathrow expansion.  It shows far more people are badly affected by aircraft noise than the 57 dB contour would suggest.  The 2M group are asking that the Commission investigate a new, more rigorous noise metric with which to assess and compare the noise impacts and costs of all the airport proposals. They say the Commission’s decision on a new runway cannot be  based on seriously out of date evidence which bears no resemblance to real-life experience.


Dr Ian Flindell said:

“From a purely research evidence perspective, it is surprising that UK policy-makers continue to base their understanding of numbers of people affected by aircraft noise on out-of-date, biased, non-independently-reviewed research – especially when there is available much more up-to-date evidence of UK residents’ views on aircraft noise that is consistent with all other recent and substantive pieces of research in the UK and elsewhere in Europe.

“The consequence is that policy-makers continue to presume that ‘the onset of significant
annoyance’ is 57 LAeq and that communities below this noise exposure threshold are relatively unaffected by aircraft noise – despite the fact that many such residents say that they are.”