Community Engagement Board

1st April 2018

Rachel Cerfontyne has been appointed as the first chair of the new Community Engagement Board.  She spent her early years in Feltham, started life as a social worker and has over twenty years’ experience in leading public sector and charitable organizations.  Her most recent role was as Deputy Chair of the Independent Police Complaints Commission, where she oversaw their two largest investigations: the Hillsborough Disaster and the Rotherham Child Sexual Abuse scandal.

Commenting on her appointment, Rachel Cerfontyne said:

“My highest priority is getting out and about, meeting people in the local communities and hearing their views. I am keen to listen and learn and to ensure that the membership and activities of the HCEB are shaped by the key stakeholders, especially Heathrow’s closest neighbours. I’ve already started meeting with local community representatives and over the coming weeks and months look forward to engaging formally and informally from all who have a view on and a relationship with the airport.”

The Community Engagement Board replaces the Consultative Committee.  It has taken over the function of the Consultative Committee of holding Heathrow to account on day to day matters but will have the additional function of holding the airport to account as it consults on its detailed plans for a third runway.

Cabinet backs 3rd Runway, with link to full National Policy Statement

Cabinet backs 3rd Runway

5th June 2018

On 5th June the Cabinet backed a 3rd runway at Heathrow.  Parliament will now vote on the Airports National Policy Statement, which contains the plans for a third runway, with 21 days.  If it supports the new runway, it becomes Government policy, though some local authorities are expected to challenge the decision in the courts.

Link to the full NPS:

DfT Summary of the NPS:

Chris Grayling’s Statement to Parliament:

On the same day, the Government published its detailed response to the Transport Select Committee’s report on the NPS:

HACAN, along with Campaign for Better Transport, Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace, produced this short report arguing that the 3rd runway doesn’t meet Labour’s four tests:

Major new departures report from the CAA, plus HACAN’s assessment of it

Major new departures report from CAA

27th July 2018

The Civil Aviation Authority published a major report on 27th July into departures from Heathrow Airport.  It was largely done in response to complaints from local people than aircraft have become louder and lower.

Key findings:

  • ‘A gradual decrease in average aircraft heights over recent years’ but ‘lower heights have not lead to overall noise increases’ because most planes have become quieter.
  • The take-off procedures can vary from airport to airport but the noise on the ground from aircraft departing Heathrow differs little from that at comparable airports
  • The rate of climb of the A380s is much the same as at other airports.
  • If planes use a steeper departure procedure a). they reduce the noise for people right under the flight path but increase for those to the side but b) they increase the duration of the noise for everybody.

The report is packed with other useful information but note it concentrates on heights and noise.  It doesn’t deal in any depth with other causes of noise such as increased concentration or a rise in flight numbers.

Read HACAN’s assessment of the report:

Read the summary:

Full report:

Heathrow Flight Path Consultation: January to March 2019: Details on consultation and responses

Major Heathrow consultation launched in January

8th January 2019

Heathrow Airport launched a major public consultation today.  It runs for 12 weeks until 4th March.

Key Points:

Runway alternation in West London will be cut from half a day to a third of the day to allow for alternation on a third runway if it is built.  The consultation is asking for views on how this should be implemented.

Significant changes to airspace are proposed to allow for vast swathes of London and the Home Counties, which currently get all-day flying, to get respite from the noise for the first time.  It applies to both arrivals and departures.

HACAN has released its response to the consultation.  Please feel free to use it to inform your own response should you wish.  It can be found at:

And here is the response of our sister organisation HACAN East:

For a 2 page summary of the runway alternation and respite proposals click: 

For a 1 page summary on the departure proposals click:

The night period when there are no scheduled flights allowed will be extended from 5 hours to six and a half hours.  Views are sought on how this should operate.

For a 1 page summary of the night flight proposals click:

Views are sought on whether ‘westerly preference’ should remain – this is where planes continue to fly as if a west wind is blowing when there is an east wind (of up to 5 knots)

For a 1 page summary on the westerly preference proposals click:

Heathrow is proposing to bring in 25,000 extra flights a year in the years running up to the opening of any third runway.  Some of these flights will use new dedicated flight paths called Independent Parallel Approaches.

For a 2 page summary of Independent Parallel Approaches click:

The full Heathrow document is here:

Here’s a link to where and when the Heathrow consultation exhibitions will take place: 

Here’s a powerpoint we have put together highlighting how different areas could be affected by the consultation proposals:


HACAN, in conjunction with the Aviation Environment Federation, staged a successful seminar on aircraft noise and mental health on 4th July 2016 in Parliament.  It was chaired by Tanya Mathias MP.  The speakers included Dirk Schreckenberg, one of the authors of the ground-breaking NORAH Study, and Matt Gorman, Director of Sustainability at Heathrow Airport.

 Summary of presentations of seminar on aircraft noise and mental health (pdf)

Read latest blog on what could be done to ease the situation for people with mental issues living under the flight paths:

Here is the link to a powerful blog I put on the impact of concentrated flight paths on one man’s mental health .



Heathrow consultations finished on March 28th

Heathrow Airport held two key consultations. One set out options for construction around a third runway in the more immediate area of the airport including a possible shorter runway, moving part of the M25, changes to the local road lay-out and compensation for the Heathrow villages.

The other set out options for the principles which inform the design of the extensive flight path changes, driven by new technology, which will be brought in whether or not a third runway is built.

Read the official HACAN response to the airspace consultation:

Read the official HACAN response to the expansion consultation:

Read the response from HACAN East:


Major new departures report from CAA

The Civil Aviation Authority published a major report on 27th July into departures from Heathrow Airport.  It was largely done in response to complaints from local people than aircraft have become louder and lower.

The report is packed with other useful information but note it concentrates on heights and noise.  It doesn’t deal in any depth with other causes of noise such as increased concentration or a rise in flight numbers.

Read HACAN’s assessment of the report:

Read the summary:

Full report:


South East London – No Respite  from aircraft noise

 HACAN today (13/8/18) is pleased to publish an important report by Forest Hill resident Tim Walker outlining what happens when London City and Heathrow airports combine to create community noise hotspots in south east London

Using London SE23 as an example, the paper aims to make clear to policymakers, campaigners and the two airports what the problems for communities are with the introduction of concentrated flight paths (City Airport) and separate development of the two London airport flight paths.

Noise from arriving London City Airport aircraft combined with departing and arriving Heathrow aircraft blights thousands of south east London homes, with no respite.

City Airport’s low altitude air superhighways, beginning in Feb 2016, have resulted in a perfect storm of aircraft noise for many SE London residents.

Respite means scheduled relief from aircraft noise for a period of time. There are community noise hotspots in SE London that receive no respite from 6.30am to 10pm nearly every day of the year.

Read the full report:


 Respite Report launched

Heathrow published its long-awaited respite report commissioned from Anderson Acoustics on 16th February 2017.  It is the first of its kind to be done.  HACAN was part of the steering group.  Summary video: .

Where to find the reports:

Most people favour respite

Heathrow’s consultation on the principles it should use in designing its new flight paths showed most people backed respite.  54% wanted the priority to be respite even if that increased the total number overflown; 25% wanted the priority to be to prevent new areas being overflown (that included most respondents not currently overflown); any only 22% backed minimising the total number overflown by concentrating all the flights over certain areas.  (Some backed more than one option which is why the don;t add up to 100%).

You can reading about further findings here:

Aircraft noise and health – some studies



New World Health Organisation Guidelines (2018) tougher on aircraft noise

The new noise guidelines from the World Health Organisation, published 10th October 2018, are tougher on aircraft noise than previously.

Recommended Limits

Road                            53Lden                        45Lnight

 Rail                              54Lden                        44Lnight

 Aircraft                      45Len                          40Lnight

 Wind Turbines      45Lden         no recommendation

Our view this a strong message to Heathrow as it develops its new flight paths that aircraft noise problems are not confined to areas close to the airport.  The guidelines indicate that aircraft noise can affect the health of people living well over 20 miles from Heathrow.  They are of course just guidelines, not intended to be implemented overnight, whose main purpose is to indicate the levels at which noise can become a health problem.

For more details, see the HACAN press release: 


HACAN’s plain person’s guide to the WHO report:

A good overview of noise and health research:   Aircraft Noise and Public Health the evidence is loud and clear final reportONLINE

 And here is the summary: AEF_aircraft noise and health_FINAL3

HYENA-study-712 – this study by Imperial College assed the impact of night flights on the health of people living around a number of European airports, including Heathrow  A study of aircraft noise and cardiovascular disease near Heathrow airport finds the risk of heart problems are much higher for people living under noisy flight paths

Night Noise Guidelines for Europe:  Produced by the World Health Organisation in 2009.  These have been updated in 2018 – see above.

Night noise factsheet