Report from London Assembly says due to noise, air traffic should NOT increase at Heathrow or London City airport
Give Londoners a break from aircraft noise
Heathrow has recently announced plans for 25,000 extra flights a year, bringing new areas of London under its flight paths. Meanwhile, London City Airport, in the middle of its own significant expansion, saw record passenger numbers in 2018.
But as the appetite for air travel grows, so does the misery for those who have no choice but to live with a debilitating noise invasion.
A new report, ‘Aircraft Noise’, published today by the London Assembly Environment Committee, says noise nuisance levels are unacceptable and calls for a halt on all air traffic growth at Heathrow and London City airports.
The report builds on evidence given by residents who told the Committee of a dawn chorus of disruption that continued well after their children’s bedtime. The report details the impact of altitude, flight paths and out-of-hours flights on the noise landscape.
Among the recommendations in ‘Aircraft Noise’:
- The Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise should use lower thresholds for disturbance, allowing residents to leave their windows open when they need to.
- Air traffic at Heathrow and London City should not increase and Heathrow’s third runway should not go ahead.
- Air traffic controllers should minimise continuous stacking and maximise descent and ascent to keep aircraft further from the ground for longer. They should also minimise overlap between City and Heathrow flight paths.
- There should be no night flights, and restrictions on early morning flights should be strengthened. All London airports should provide predictable periods of respite.
“The experiences of residents living with the daily nightmare of overhead noise are deeply worrying. There are significant health impacts that follow from an inability to sleep, relax and concentrate.
“This drive towards filling airspace capacity must be checked. For too many people, including children, aircraft noise is a major dominant intrusion into their everyday lives. It is not an acceptable price to pay for air travel. It isn’t right and must be challenged.
“We have already made clear our objection to the expansion of Heathrow but aviation authorities and operators must prioritise the health and well-being of Londoners and give us a break.”
Follow us @LondonAssembly and tweet about the report using #AssemblyEnvironment and #AircraftNoise
Notes to editors
- Read the report (attached).
- Caroline Russell AM, Chair of the Environment Committee,
- Find out more about the work of the London Assembly Environment Committee.
- As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.
The report is at
These are the calls for action in the report:
Calls for action:
• The Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise should regulate noise disturbance more stringently, using lower thresholds for disturbance (taking into account WHO guidelines and the need for residents to keep windows open) and mapping the combined effect of all London’s airports, especially Heathrow and City. The Mayor should support this work.
• Air traffic using Heathrow and City airports should not increase, and the proposed third runway at Heathrow should not go ahead.
• Flight paths should be rotated to give respite for those living under concentrated flight paths. Flight paths should be designed to minimise noise impacts: stacking, low-level overflying, and overlapping flight paths should be minimised.
• There should be no night flights, and limits on early morning flights should be retained, and preferably strengthened.
• The severe levels of noise disruption now being experienced by some of London’s residents are not acceptable, and urgent, decisive action is needed across the board to alleviate it.