Category Archives: Press releases



2nd April 2018, embargoed until 00.01 3rd April


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.”


 Notes for editors:

(1). Link to the study:

For further information:

John Stewart on 0207 737 6641 or 07957385650

Dan Scorer on 07949 653 704




 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.


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

Heathrow to launch two key consultations in January



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


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”.


 For more information:

John Stewart on 0207 737 6641; 07957385650



 26/5/17 for immediate use


 Heathrow is to start consulting on flight paths for a third runway later this summer.  It told the Heathrow Community Forum (1) earlier this week that it will launch a 12 week consultation into the design principles people want to see the flight paths based on.  It will be seeking views on things like whether people want the flight paths concentrated on a few communities or prefer to see the introduction of multiple flight paths so the noise is shared around more equally.

Heathrow told the Community Noise Forum that it will be starting from ‘a blank piece of paper’ to put in place what would be the biggest change in flight paths since the airport opened in 1946.  Flight paths will be radically altered even it Heathrow fails in its attempt to build a third runway and remains a two runway airport. The changes are part of a world-wide programme to alter flight paths driven by new technology.  Precision-Based Navigation (PBN) is being introduced.  It enables planes to be guided more precisely saving the airlines fuel, cutting CO2 emissions, allowing air traffic control to run a slicker operation with fewer staff and giving airports more resilience, regarded critical at a busy airport like Heathrow.

The technology allows aircraft to be concentrated along narrow corridors.  This concentration has caused uproar in many America cities.  It also resulted in a four-fold rise in complaints at London City Airport when it was introduced last year.  Heathrow  favours multiple routes so as to give communities under the concentrated flight paths some relief from the noise.

John Stewart, chair of HACAN, the campaign group which gives a voice to residents under the Heathrow flight paths said, “Whether or not they get permission for a third runway, Heathrow know they have got to get the flight path changes right.  With so many people affected by noise from the airport, if they get it wrong there could be major problems.  We will be pressing Heathrow to create as many flight paths as it can so that the noise is shared around as fairly as possible.  The alternative is noise ghettos.”

It will be summer 2018 before Heathrow provides a clearer idea of where the new flight paths will be when it will consult on noise envelopes.  These envelopes will show the broad swathes within which there will be flight paths.  They will not include the exact alignment of the flight paths but those who will be outside the swathes will know they will not be under a flight path.  There will be a further consultation on the detailed flight paths, probably late 2020, with a view to the new flight paths being in place by around 2025.


 Notes for Editors:

 (1). The Community Noise Forum was set up by Heathrow a couple of years ago to discuss with community groups and local authorities all Heathrow noise-related issues and to involve the communities and local authorities in new initiatives at an early stage.

For more information:

John Stewart on 0207 737 6641 or 07957385650

Environment Select Committee: Government not doing enough to mitigate impact of 3rd runway

Press Release

 22/2/17 strictly embargoed until 0.01am Thursday 23rd February 2017


The influential Environmental Audit Committee in a report (1) issued today has said that the Government is still not doing enough to mitigate the environmental impacts of the planned new runway at Heathrow.

Mary Creagh MP, Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, said:  “If the Government wants to get Heathrow expansion off the ground it needs to show that a third runway can be built and run without exceeding legal limits on air pollution or breaching our carbon budgets.”  The report also found that the measures to tackle noise lacked ambition.

John Stewart, the chair of HACAN, the campaign group which opposes Heathrow expansion, said, “The Committee is saying in no uncertain terms that both the Government and Heathrow Airport have got to up their game big-time if they are to have any chance of getting a third runway.  They have got to prove they can deliver on noise, climate and air pollution, not just say they can.”

The report comes out just weeks after the Government launched a public consultation on a third runway at Heathrow.  The consultation ends on 25th May.  Later this year or early next year MPs are expected to be asked to vote on the runwayOnly if they vote in favour will a third runway become Government policy and Heathrow will be able to draw up detailed plans for it.

(1). The report:


Ministers must be bold enough to reject 3rd runway if consultation reveals real problems


 2/2/17 for immediate use


Campaign group HACAN has urged ministers to be bold enough to reject a third runway if the National Policy Statement consultation, issued today, reveals real problems with the proposal.  As expected, transport secretary Chris Grayling when launching the consultation highlighted the importance of a new runway to the post-Brexit economy but HACAN, which gives a voice to residents under the flight paths, argues that the downsides of a new runway are also considerable.

HACAN chair John Stewart said, “There is no way that a quarter of a million extra planes a year cannot but have a severe impact on many people’s lives.  A third runway will also mean the demolition of many homes and could add to London’s air pollution problems.  The Government must be even-handed in assessing the consultation and reject a third runway if, as we believe, its downsides are simply too high.”

Stewart added: “Heathrow still has considerable hurdles to overcome before a third runway can see the light of day.  The Government has for the first time made permission for a new runway conditional on it serving unfashionable UK destinations for which there is a limited market and on Heathrow ensuring there will be no increase in airport related road traffic if the runway is built.  These are very big asks indeed.”

The consultation will last for 16 weeks.  After that the proposals will be considered by the Parliamentary Transport Select Committee.  Parliament will vote on the National Policy Statement late 2017/early 2018.  Only if it is approved will a third runway become Government policy.

If it is approved, next year Heathrow will need to draw up detailed plans for the new runway which are expected to go to a planning inquiry in 2019.  Heathrow does not expect to get final approval for the third runway until 2020 or 2021.

The Government also launched a national consultation today on its future airspace strategy.  It will asking for views on the principles which it should use in making airspace changes – for example, if people prefer concentrated flight paths or a more dispersed approach.  But it will not deal with detailed flight paths.  It will be at least another 18 months before it becomes clearer where Heathrow’s new flight paths will be if a third runway is given the go-ahead.


 Department for Transport media briefing:

For more information:

John Stewart on 0207 737 6641 or 07957385650

No Change Proposed to Night Flight Regime

Press Release

 12/1/17 for immediate use


The Government is proposing no change to the number of night flights at Heathrow.  The consultation document, released today by the Department for Transport, argues that the current regime should continue for the next five years.  It will then be clearer whether a third runway will be underway.  Permission to build a third runway is expected to be conditional on a tougher night flight regime being introduced when it opens.

At present an average of 16 flights each night are allowed to land at Heathrow between 11.30pm and 6am.  There are no scheduled departures during this period.  The first flight lands at 4.30am.

John Stewart, chair of the campaign group HACAN said, “Local residents will be disappointed that their early morning wake-up call remains the first flight at 4.30am.  We do, though, see the sense in postponing any changes until the question of a third runway is settled.  During the forthcoming consultation on the new runway we will be arguing very strongly for no flights before 6am.”

Every few years the Department for Transport sets the night flight regime for the country’s three designated airports, Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick.  The current regime comes to an end in October this year.  This consultation will run until Tuesday 28 February 2017, after which responses will be reviewed by the Department for Transport and a final decision on night flights is expected to be published by May.

The consultation is proposing no change to the annual movement limit at Gatwick but a new limit will be set for Stansted to take out of the increased number of quieter planes which have been using it in recent years.


 Notes for Editors:

 (1). The consultation is available at

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


Press Release

3/1/17 for immediate use


Research carried out by the campaign group HACAN has revealed that Hounslow to be the most overflown borough in London.  Richmond is in second place but the surprise is that that only three of the top 12 most boroughs are in West London with Waltham Forest being the third most overflown (1). 

HACAN calculated the combined impact of Heathrow and London City aircraft on each borough.  It didn’t factor in the heights of the planes; only the number flying over each borough.  It follows up a similar study carried out in 2009.  It also put Hounslow, Richmond and Waltham Forest in the top three positions.

HACAN chair John Stewart said, “Our survey once again shows that aircraft noise is not just confined to West London.  It has become a London-wide problem.  Somewhere like Waltham Forest is bombarded by planes from both Heathrow and London City airports.”

HACAN found that the most significant change from the 2009 survey was the reduction in the number of flights over some of the inner London boroughs such as Camden and Islington.  This was matched by an increase in flights over the South East London boroughs of Lewisham, Southwark and Lambeth.  It put it down to the introduction of concentrated London City flight paths over these boroughs plus the fact that aircraft coming into land at Heathrow appear to be crossing the Thames further east than was previously the case.

The study comes out at the start of an important year for aviation.  In a few weeks the Government is expected to release its consultation document on a Heathrow third runway as well as a consultation on future airspace strategy.


 Notes for Editors:


For further information:

John Stewart on 0207 737 6641 or 07957385650




Joint call for Independent Noise Authority

HACAN has joined with Heathrow Airport to call for an Independent Noise Authority to be set up.  The unkilely allies have produced a joint report with suggestions of how an Authority could work in advance of a Department of Transport consultation on the subject, expected in January.  The two groups have also sent a joint letter to the Transport Secretary.

Read the report: file:///C:/Users/user/Downloads/IANA-Joint-Paper-HACAN-and-Heathrow-Airport1.pdf 

Read the press release:

Concentrated flight paths bring flood of complaints

We don’t normally post HACAN East press releases on this site but we thought this would be of interest as the new concentrated London City flight paths impact so many people who are also under the Heathrow flight paths

Press Release

29/8/16 for immediate use

 Concentrated flight paths bring a flood of complains

London City Airport’s decision to concentrate all its flights paths earlier this year has resulted in a flood of complaints.  HACAN East, which gives a voice to residents under the flight paths, today launched a short report outlining some of the complaints they received in just one month – read report: HACAN East booklet
John Stewart, chair of the campaign group, said, “We have received dozens of complaints over the last month.  The hot weather has made people particularly aware of the planes.  The concentrated flight paths have brought complaints from many areas for the first time.  The complaints have come from vast swathes of east and south east London.”
One person in south London said, “We have gone from having little or no flights to one every 3 minutes.  Some of us have spent a lifetime trying to get on the housing ladder only for this to happen.”
Another wrote: “I moved to Dagenham from Kingsland Road in Hackney in 2014 because my family & I wanted more peace and quiet; now it’s noisier than living on Kingsland Road in Hackney; we are heart-broken.”
Stewart said that HACAN East has met with the airport who said they ‘have not closed their mind’ to looking again at the concentrated flight paths but will not do so until next year after the Government has issued its forthcoming consultation on national airspace policy.