26/5/17 for immediate use
HEATHROW TO START CONSULTATION ON 3RD RUNWAY FLIGHT PATHS IN LATE SUMMER
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