All posts by John Stewart

Communities face ‘a tsunami of noise’ as cabinet backs third runway

PRESS RELEASE

 Communities face ‘a tsunami of noise’ as cabinet backs third runway

 5/6/18 for immediate use

A leading campaign group said that many communities would face ‘a tsunami of noise’ if a third runway went ahead at Heathrow.  On the day the Cabinet gave its official backing to a new runway HACAN, the long-established residents’ group which opposes Heathrow expansion, said that ‘many people’s lives would be changed forever’ as a result of the noise from the 700 extra planes a day that would use the airport if a third runway is built.

Parliament will be required to vote on the Airports National Policy Statement (1), which sets out plans for a third runway, within 21 days.  Most Conservatives are expected to back the plans.  The Labour Party is divided on the issue.  A number of leading members of the shadow cabinet such as John McDonnell, Emily Thornberry and Diane Abbot have a long history of opposing a third runway but it is backed by many MPs outside London who believe it will improve connectivity to their areas. The Liberal Democrats oppose the new runway but it is supported by the DUP and the Scottish National Party, though the latter may be reluctant to vote with the Conservatives.

The National Policy Statement, laid before Parliament today by transport secretary Chris Grayling, also set out a number of binding conditions which Heathrow would need to adhere to.  These included a six and a half hour night ban, up from five hours at present; strict air pollution limits; improved compensation for local residents; and tough powers for the Civil Aviation Authority to ensure the costs of the third runway do not become excessive.

HACAN chair John Stewart said, “This is a bad day for residents.  Many communities will face a tsunami of noise if a third runway goes ahead.  Many people who will be under new flights paths will find their lives changed forever.  We will continue to oppose a new runway but, obviously, if it becomes inevitable, we will fight for the best conditions possible for residents.”

A number of local authorities are expected to challenge any Parliamentary vote for a third runway in the courts.

If Parliament backs a third runway, it becomes Government policy and Heathrow will start drawing up its detailed plans.  It expects these to be put out to public consultation next year and to be laid before a planning inquiry in 2020.  If the plans are approved, it hopes to start building the runway in 2021 and open it in 2025.

ENDS

 Notes for editors

 (1). Link to the National Policy Statement – https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/proposed-heathrow-expansion

For more information:

John Stewart on 0207 737 6641 or 07957385650

 

 

SONA Study: major new CAA study on levels when aircraft noise annoys people

When people get annoyed by noise

The findings of the new HACAN study are supported by SONA, a study the Government commissioned from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA): Survey of Noise Attitudes 2014. SONA found that people start to get annoyed by aircraft noise at lower levels than previously officially recognised.  This is reflected now in the Government’s Airspace Strategy which recognised that people can get annoyed by aircraft noise when it averages out over a 16 hour day at 54 decibels.  Previously government argued it was57 decibels. Some people get annoyed at even lower levels.

The chart above, taken from the study, compares the results of the Government sponsored 1982 ANIS Study with the new SONA study.  SONA found  9% of people are highly annoyed when the average is 54 decibels.  In geographical terms around Heathrow that goes as far as about Clapham to the east and about 16 miles to the west: about 65,000 people in total.  The lower average of 51% extends about as far as Peckham.

The full study  http://publicapps.caa.co.uk/docs/33/CAP%201506%20FEB17.pdf

South East London Study

HACAN launches major new study

Today (3rd April) HACAN has launched a major new study which reveals the extent of the aircraft noise problem in South East London.  Corridors of Concentration, published in conjunction with Plane Hell Action, a local group based in SE London,  has revealed a dramatic increase in the number of flights over many areas of South East London in recent years.  It also found that flight paths have become more concentrated.

Over a dozen areas from Clapham Common in the west to Greenwich in the east were surveyed.  The number of aircraft audible from each location was recorded.  Key counts were verified by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

The overall number of flights is much the same as when we last surveyed the area 10 years ago but this masks significant changes in certain places.  Particularly dramatic was the increase in the number of flights in the far east of the region has increased dramatically: daily flights in the Brockley corridor grew by 135 between 2011 and 2017; Greenwich saw an increase of 165 a day.

The study concluded many more planes are joining their final approach corridors further east than before and are more concentrated within those corridors.   

Read the study:  http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Corridors-of-Concentration-Report.pdf

NEW STUDY: DRAMATIC INCREASE IN FLIGHT NUMBERS OVER PARTS OF SOUTH EAST LONDON

PRESS RELEASE

2nd April 2018, embargoed until 00.01 3rd April

NEW STUDY: DRAMATIC INCREASE IN FLIGHT NUMBERS OVER PARTS OF SOUTH EAST LONDON

A new study (1) reveals a dramatic increase in the number of flights over many areas of South East London in recent years.  Corridors of Concentration, published today by HACAN and Plane Hell Action, also found that flight paths have become more concentrated. The study was carried out to highlight the current impact of aircraft noise on south east London and to influence the policy debate by feeding into Heathrow’s recent consultation on future flight path design.

Over a dozen areas from Clapham Common in the west to Greenwich in the east were surveyed.  The number of aircraft audible from each location was recorded.  Key counts were verified by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

The study found that:

  • The area is heavily overflown, with typically 38 planes an hour audible to many communities.  This could rise to over 40 during busy periods.
  • Increased concentration of flights has taken place in recent years. More than ever, flights are being guided through ‘concentrated corridors’ which means particular communities are especially badly hit.
  • The overall number of flights is much the same as when we last surveyed the area 10 years ago but this masks significant changes in certain places:

– the number of flights in the east of the region has increased dramatically: daily flights in the Brockley corridor grew by 135 between 2011 and 2017; Greenwich saw an increase of 165 a day.

– flight numbers in the ‘southern corridor’ – which is focused on the southern runway – have risen significantly.

– increased concentration has meant more flights for particular communities.  Although the study focused on daytime flights, it found evidence to suggest night flights have also become more concentrated.

The study concluded many more planes are joining their final approach corridors further east than before and are more concentrated within those corridors.   Increased concentration and the join point shifting have meant that people living south of the river are experiencing an increased density of turning aircraft over their homes.

The study made three key recommendations:

  • In the short-term, flight paths need to be varied as much as possible to reduce the concentration identified.
  • The practice of concentrating night flights over particular communities should be avoided.
  • In the longer-term, when Heathrow redesigns its airspace, it needs to ensure that the new technology is used to distribute arrivals fairly over multiple approach routes.

 Dan Scorer, of Plane Hell Action, said: “This study confirms everything that people have been telling us across south east London.  The increased concentration of flights is driving many people to despair, with no escape from the constant noise over our heads.  We can’t wait 7 years for Heathrow to change flight paths – action is needed now.”

HACAN chair John Stewart said, “This study makes a powerful case that the problems caused by flights to Heathrow are not confined to West London and areas close to the airport.  For many communities in South East London the situation has got worse rather than better over the last decade.”

ENDS

 Notes for editors:

(1). Link to the study:  http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Corridors-of-Concentration-Report.pdf

For further information:

John Stewart on 0207 737 6641 or 07957385650

Dan Scorer on 07949 653 704

 

 HACAN WELCOMES TOUGHER ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS ESPECIALLY RECOMMENDED 7 HOUR NIGHT FLIGHT BAN

PRESS RELEASE

 Embargoed until 00.01 23/3/18

HACAN, the campaign group which gives a voice to residents under the Heathrow flight paths, has welcomed the fact that the Transport Select Committee in its report on the National Policy Statement on Airports has recommended tougher conditions on noise and air quality should a third runway be given the go-ahead.  These include a night flight ban of seven hours, longer than the six and a half hour break that was recommended by the Government.

In its report the Committee has endorsed the Government’s view that a third runway at Heathrow is the best option for expansion.  But it has recommended that the Government take on-board a raft of new conditions.  These include stricter conditions on noise and air quality and more clarity on new rail access to the airport.

HACAN Chair John Stewart said: “Although disappointed the Committee didn’t reject the third runway, we welcome the tougher environmental conditions which it has recommended.  In particular we welcome its recommended seven hour night flight ban.”

Currently there is a ban on scheduled night flights from 11.30pm until 4.30am.

The Government will now be expected to respond to the Committee.  A vote on the NPS is expected to take place in Parliament in the summer.  If it is backed by Parliament, a third runway becomes Government policy and Heathrow would start to consult on the detailed plans for the runway.

ENDS

 For more information:  John Stewart on 0207 737 6641 or 07957385650

Heathrow’s Review of 2016 Published

On November 30th Heathrow published is review of 2016.  It comes in the form of two reports:

https://www.heathrow.com/file_source/HeathrowNoise/Static/Flight_Performance_Annual_Report_2016.pdf

https://www.heathrow.com/file_source/HeathrowNoise/Static/Heathrow_NAP_Contours_2016_and_Summer_Contours_2016.pdf

Key points of interest from the first report include the fact that during the year there was a 70/30% west/east split in wind direction (generally, aircraft land take-off into the wind); and that planes adhered to runway alternation 90% of the time.

But it was the second report which Heathrow highlighted.  It said, ” Although 2016 had the highest passenger traffic, the Lden 55 dBA contour had its smallest area and the fewest number of people living within it over the 11-year study period (2006-2016)”.  In other words, the noise contours are shrinking because of the introduction of less noisy planes.

But, as HACAN pointed out in its response, “This doesn’t tell the whole story.  The way Heathrow measures the noise gives too much weight to the noise of individual aircraft which has fallen but not enough to the number of planes going overhead.  It is the sheer volume of planes that drives people to distraction these days.”

But HACAN added, “We do welcome the inclusion for the first time in the report a range of new metrics which actually paint a more accurate picture of the noise experienced by residents than its over-dramatic headline suggests.  Heathrow becomes one of the first airports in the world to use such a wide range of metrics.”

Heathrow has not just averaged out the noise over the day – the traditional way of measuring the noise – but has, additionally indicated the number of planes going over each community and how noisy they are which many believe is a more meaningful measurement.  Because planes have become quieter, this metric also shows a reduction in the numbers impacted.  Heathrow has also for the first time produced noise contours just for the days of the year when planes are flying over communities rather than just the annual average which can be misleading because it includes the days when there are no planes.

Heathrow does acknowledge that the noise climate between 2006 and 2016 has become a little worse in some areas, particularly those ‘south of Windsor’ due to the increase in planes, often large, heavy planes, serving long-haul destinations.

It is not clear that the report has fully factored in the increased concentration that some communities have experienced, both on landings and departures. 

Heathrow to launch two key consultations in January

 

PRESS RELEASE

13/12/17 strictly embargoed until 14/12/17 00h01

CAMPAIGN GROUP PLEDGES TO FIGHT FOR TOUGH CONDITIONS TO BENEFIT RESIDENTS

Heathrow has announced that on 17th January next year it will launch two major consultations.  The first will be into the mitigation measures that should be put in place if a third runway is given the go-ahead.  The second will be on the design of new flight paths as the airport embarks on the biggest reorganisation of its airspace since it opened in 1946.-

John Stewart, chair of HACAN, which gives a voice to residents under the Heathrow flight paths, said:  “These will be very important consultations for local communities.   They could impact the quality of people’s lives for generations to come.  During the consultation period HACAN will be putting forward tough proposals to mitigate the impacts of a third runway should it be given the go-ahead.  And we will seize the chance to assist with the design of new flight paths so that they give local people as much respite from the noise as possible.”

Both consultations will last for a 10 week period.

Parliament is not expected to vote on whether to give the third runway the go-ahead until April or May next year.  However, Heathrow is consulting on mitigations measures on the basis that last year the Prime Minister announced that Heathrow was the Government’s preferred option for a new runway.

Heathrow has been expected for some time to consult on new flight paths.  It will reorganize its airspace whether or not it is given permission for a new runway.  The airspace changes are being driven by new technology which allows aircraft to be guided more precisely.  This cuts the cost of fuel for airlines, reduces CO2 emissions and improves the resilience of the airport.   All airports in Europe are expected to introduce this new technology over the next decade.

Stewart said, “This new technology to modernize airspace clearly benefits the aviation industry.  But it could also work for residents if the new precision flight paths that will be coming in are rotated so as to give meaningful respite to local communities.  That is what we will be fighting for”.

ENDS

 For more information:

John Stewart on 0207 737 6641; 07957385650

Heathrow’s Review of 2016 Published

On November 30th Heathrow published is review of 2016.  It comes in the form of two reports:

https://www.heathrow.com/file_source/HeathrowNoise/Static/Flight_Performance_Annual_Report_2016.pdf

https://www.heathrow.com/file_source/HeathrowNoise/Static/Heathrow_NAP_Contours_2016_and_Summer_Contours_2016.pdf

Key points of interest from the first report include the fact that during the year there was a 70/30% west/east split in wind direction (generally, aircraft land take-off into the wind); and that planes adhered to runway alternation 90% of the time.

But it was the second report which Heathrow highlighted.  It said, ” Although 2016 had the highest passenger traffic, the Lden 55 dBA contour had its smallest area and the fewest number of people living within it over the 11-year study period (2006-2016)”.  In other words, the noise contours are shrinking because of the introduction of less noisy planes.

But, as HACAN pointed out in its response, “This doesn’t tell the whole story.  The way Heathrow measures the noise gives too much weight to the noise of individual aircraft which has fallen but not enough to the number of planes going overhead.  It is the sheer volume of planes that drives people to distraction these days.”

But HACAN added, “We do welcome the inclusion for the first time in the report a range of new metrics which actually paint a more accurate picture of the noise experienced by residents than its over-dramatic headline suggests.  Heathrow becomes one of the first airports in the world to use such a wide range of metrics.”

Heathrow has not just averaged out the noise over the day – the traditional way of measuring the noise – but has, additionally indicated the number of planes going over each community and how noisy they are which many believe is a more meaningful measurement.  Because planes have become quieter, this metric also shows a reduction in the numbers impacted.  Heathrow has also for the first time produced noise contours just for the days of the year when planes are flying over communities rather than just the annual average which can be misleading because it includes the days when there are no planes.

Heathrow does acknowledge that the noise climate between 2006 and 2016 has become a little worse in some areas, particularly those ‘south of Windsor’ due to the increase in planes, often large, heavy planes, serving long-haul destinations.

It is not clear that the report has fully factored in the increased concentration that some communities have experienced, both on landings and departures.