Heathrow, consultation on Noise Action Plan, called to act on noise disturbance
People around Heathrow are being asked to respond to a public consultation on how to limit noise disturbance coming from the Airport. Its Noise Action Plan 2024-28 is, in theory, trying to devise a strategy for how it aims to limit disturbance caused to those living nearby. The strategy is required by law, and the Airport administration is currently running a consultation on its proposals. It aims to develop a preferential night route trial for planes aimed at providing predictable periods of respite from night operations. It also proposes work on a Noise Insulation Scheme (NIS), which provides noise insulation for households and community buildings, with first beneficiaries set to be contacted this October. The West Windsor Residents Association (WWRA) which has concerns about the health impacts of the noise and sleep disturbance caused, which cause more illness, earlier death, reduced work performance, and impaired learning. WWRA councillor, Wisdom Da Costa, has encouraged people to report noise disturbances at night directly to Heathrow, which can be made using an online form, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 0800 344844.
Consultation ends 17th July 2023.
Heathrow says: “We would like your feedback on the proposed Noise Action Plan. Your comments will help our team shape the final proposal that is submitted to the Government for approval. You can share feedback using the form below, by emailing email@example.com or writing to us: FREEPOST Noise Action Plan.
The deadline for responding to the consultation is 23:55 on 17 July 2023.
Heathrow Airport called to act on noise disturbance
12th July 2023
By James Aldridge, Slough Observer
Neighbours are being asked to respond to a public consultation on how to limit noise disturbance coming from Heathrow Airport.
The airport east of Slough and Windsor, which is the biggest in the UK, is currently devising a strategy for how it aims to limit disturbance caused to those living nearby.
This strategy, called the Noise Action Plan 2024-28, is required by law, and the Airport administration is currently running a consultation on its proposals. The Noise Action Plan itself is at https://www.heathrow.com/content/dam/heathrow/web/common/documents/company/about/consultation/Heathrow_Noise_Action_Plan_2024-2028-Consultation.pdf
Measures proposed include strengthening the Quiet Night Charter, a series of rules around improving flight punctuality, giving hours of predictable operation and making operations quieter.
The Airport also aims to develop a preferential night route trial for planes aimed at providing predictable periods of respite from night operations.
Furthermore, the plan states Heathrow Airport aims to impose limitations on the use of certain aircraft which are divided into ‘chapters’.
The strategy has a stated aim of continuing to seek an entire phase-out of noisier Chapter 3 aircraft, an example being Airbus A320 planes.
Another proposed measure involves continued work on a Noise Insulation Scheme (NIS), which provides noise insulation for households and community buildings, with first beneficiaries set to be contacted this October.
But Heathrow Airport has been accused of not being a good neighbour by the West Windsor Residents Association (WWRA) which has concerns about the health impacts of the noise and sleep disturbance caused, which they claim include greater levels of sickness, earlier death, reduced work performance, and impaired learning.
The WWRA has devised a number of suggestions for improvements to be made to the plan.
Primarily, they have suggested that the airport enacted a lapsed planning permission for surface works to its runways which would allow for a change in flight paths to cause less noise disturbance to people in Windsor and Datchet.
These surface works were rejected by the planning authority Hillingdon Council in 2014, allowed on appeal in 2017 but never enacted.
The suggestions were written by councillors Wisdom Da Costa and Carol Da Costa, the sole WWRA councillors representing Clewer & Dedworth West on the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead council.
They have encouraged the public to take part in the consultation before it ends at 11.5pm on Monday, July 17.
Wisdom Da Costa said: “Heathrow has clearly not acted as good neighbours to people living in Windsor & Datchet but, we have this window of opportunity to let them know our views and also how aircraft overflights have affected you and your family.
“For children, to whom it can cause permanent educational impairment, the Heathrow Airport Noise Management Consultation is a once in a lifetime to align Heathrow’s operations with the health needs of those young people in our care.
“We urge the Royal Borough, schools, Frimley Health and local GPs to act on this.
“Let’s step up and provide Heathrow Airport the feedback that they need, and are requesting from each of us.”
Wisdom Da Costa has also encouraged people to report noise disturbances at night directly to Heathrow Airport, which can be made using an online form, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 0800 344844.
On Operating Procedures, it says:
The flight configuration or path that planes take when arriving or departing from Heathrow, influences the level of noise experienced on the ground. How we manage operations can help to reduce noise for communities. To reduce noise from how we operate, we propose to:
- Continue to support the achievement of the DfT night noise objective through the Quiet Night Charter.
- Establish a Technical Engagement Forum (TEF) with membership from the aircraft manufacturers, top 10 airlines, NATS, and Heathrow Operations to undertake a review and renewal of the arrivals, departures, and ground operations Code of Practice by 2026 aimed at supporting the achievement of the noise abatement objectives.
- Enhance the data and understanding of the effectiveness of operational interventions such as landing gear deployment, ground noise, hybrid Noise Abatement Departure Procedures, creation of respite, slightly steeper approaches, and other AIP requirements.
- Review the departure noise limits and fines. The work with members of the TEF and the Noise and Airspace Community Forum (NACF) will allow us to develop a preferential night route trial aimed at providing predictable periods of respite from night operations.
- Undertake a review of the Fly Quiet and Green programme through the TEF, propose amendments by 2027, and raise the monitoring level of Continuous Descent Approach (CDA).
Under operating restrictions and voluntary measures, in the consultation, it states:
The number of air traffic movements at Heathrow is currently capped at 480,000 per year, and there are also restrictions on night flights. We will continue to restrict scheduled night flights in line with government policy and publish how well airlines comply.
We will work with airlines and NATS to support the Quiet Night Charter, a voluntary Charter to be relaunched this year, to reduce noise and the number of flights late into the night. Our aim is to have year-on-year improvements in reducing noise.
The next step will involve reviewing and following up recommendations to amend the existing Operational Safety Instructions (OSI). These changes will relate to the use of Ground Power Units (GPU) to reduce carbon footprint and local air quality, and the limitation of Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) usage to abate noise. We also intend to reassess conditions and monitoring of engine testing to restrict this source of noise to a strict minimum. We will be working with international partners to develop a standard for the use of Preconditioned Air (PCA) and are investigating the modernisation of our infrastructure.
Additionally, we will continue leading the work with the Airport Council International (ACI) colleagues to collate a database of night restrictions internationally.