ANIMA App project


This is a Quality of Life survey app developed to gain a deeper understanding of the influence of the sound and visual environment on our day-to-day quality of life.

There is increased recognition of the importance of in-situ assessments thathelp researchers develop greater understanding of how people perceive their visual and acoustic environment. Inspired by soundscape studies, and in the wider context of the ANIMA European H2020 project, this Experience Sampling Method has been developed to ask people over the course of their daily lives about the quality of their acoustic and visual environment. The dedicated mobile application prompts the user to collect data a few times throughout the day (excluding overnight). After a notification, a participant is asked to record the soundscape over a minute. They then complete a few questions in relation to their sound and visual environment, and mood. The experiment lasts approximately two weeks depend­ing on the number of notifications per day the participant finds acceptable.

Within the ANIMA project we are particularly interested in people who live in a wider airport region considering taking part. Your contribution to our research will entail downloading and using the app. At random times across the day, you will be prompted to engage with the app. All data collected will be totally anonymous (no personal data is gathered) and used solely for research purposes. By statistically analysing the responses of people living in airport regions, the ANIMA research team will gain greater understanding of what sound/visual factors contribute to different levels of perceived quality of life. Based on our findings, we will be in a better position to share knowledge with policymakers to enable them to improve the quality of life in residential areas.

Currently, the number of people exposed to a certain level of aircraft noise is calculated on the basis of a person’s registered residence. It is recognised that people’s daily activities naturally involve movements away from/towards home during the day and that they are, thus, exposed to higher/lower sound levels in their environment. As researchers, we would like to have a clearer view of overall movements, and the app asks, therefore, for permission to register your rough position all the time. Data is completely anonymous – we do not know whose position is being registered – and the location data are rounded to a 100x100m grid, thereby making it even more “uncertain” where the user actually was. You can naturally refuse to be followed, but we would really appreciate if you wouldn’t do so.

It is important to underline that we know that current levels of air traffic are extremely low compared to pre-pandemic levels. Thus, this research is not designed to capture experience of air traffic that is in anyway representative of previous aircraft volumes. The study is focused, instead, on how people’s interactions, activities and movements are affected by their soundscape. We are carrying out the study to enable us to determine the app’s usability and potential applicability when aviation is well on its way to recovery. By being involved, you will be providing us with snapshots of your experience – we have no intention to extrapolate or misinterpret the results.

Court rules Government policy on 3rd Runway illegal


The Court of Appeal  ruled that the Government’s policy on a third runway at Heathrow was illegal. It found that the Department for Transport should have taken the climate change implications of the Paris Agreement into account when drawing up the National Policy Statement which outlined its plans for a third runway. The court invited the Government to review the climate section of the National Policy Statement.

What the court ruling means

(This is a longer piece than we normally put up but we feel the potential importance of the decision justifies it – if you want to send this story as a link, use )

The National Policy Statement on Airports (NPS), drawn up by the Department for Transport, put forward the case for a third runway at Heathrow.

In June 2018 the House of Commons overwhelmingly voted in favour of the NPS by 415 votes to 119.

That gave Heathrow the green light to draw up detailed plans for the new runway.  Those plans would need to be put to be put to a Public Inquiry but the principle of a third runway had been agreed by Parliament.

What the Court of Appeal found was that the NPS was unlawful because it had not taken into consideration the Paris Agreement and the commitment to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Here is the key paragraph of the judgement:

” Our decision should be properly understood. We have not decided, and could not decide, that there will be no third runway at Heathrow. We have not found that a national policy statement supporting this project is necessarily incompatible with the United Kingdom’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions and mitigating climate change under the Paris Agreement, or with any other policy the Government may adopt or international obligation it may undertake. The consequence of our decision is that the Government will now have the opportunity to reconsider the ANPS in accordance with the clear statutory requirements that Parliament has imposed (paragraph 285).”

The Court has not said there will be no third runway but is inviting the Government to reconsider and amend what the NPS about the third runway in order to take account of the Paris Agreement.

In normal circumstances that it what a Government would do so that the project would be delayed rather than abandoned.  But it is widely assumed that the Prime Minister Boris Johnston, a long-standing opponent of Heathrow, will amend the NPS to kill off a third runway. 

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps in a statement to Parliament yesterday, said: “The court’s judgment is complex and requires careful consideration. We will set out our next steps in due course”.

The NPS, for example, could be amended to allow expansion at other airports instead of the third runway at Heathrow.  That is what Grant Shapps hinted at in his statement.

“We fully recognise the importance of the aviation sector for the whole of the UK economy. The UK’s airports support connections to over 370 overseas destinations in more than 100 countries facilitating trade, investment and tourism. It facilitates £95.2 billion of UK’s non-EU trade exports; contributes at least £14 billion directly to GDP; supports over half a million jobs and underpins the competitiveness and global reach of our national and our regional economies. Under our wider “making best use” policy, airports across the UK are already coming forward with ambitious proposals to invest in their infrastructure”.

The Government has said that it will not appeal to the Supreme Court to get yesterday’s decision overturned.

Heathrow will appeal to the Supreme Court but might struggle to overturn yesterday’s decision without Government backing.

It is expected that Heathrow will continue to draw up, and consult on, its detailed plans for a third runway while the appeal is being taken to the Supreme Court.

Except for the ruling on climate change, the Court found all other aspects of the NPS – on noise, air pollution etc – were lawful.

Appeal Court’s summary of its Judgement:

Full Judgement:-

What will the Government do if it drops a third runway? It is clear from Shapps statement to Parliament that it will encourage expansion to take place at other airports.  I suspect, too, that Heathrow will come back with plans to increase the number of flights using the airport by abandoning/reducing the half day’s runway alternation enjoyed by communities in West London.  There might also be a push from the airlines for more night flights.

The re-organisation of Heathrow’s flight paths will continue as it has been driven by new technology not by the third runway.

The ruling could have implications for other large projects.  The Court has ruled that projects must be assessed to ensure they adhere to the Paris Agreement and ate compatible with achieving a zero-carbon target by 2050. There are being questions raised today over the Government’s £28bn road building programme.   And, although the Paris Agreement regulations are carried out on a national basis, other countries will be looking with interest at this judgement. 

Third Runway Related Reports and Briefings

These briefings were written over the last few years. Some of have aged a little but we have left them up as the question of a 3rd runway is not yet settled.

What a 3rd runway will cost the taxpayer: (pdf)

Just how many new destinations will a 3rd runway serve? (pdf)

Will a 3rd runway ever be built or will we just waste another 10 years? (pdf)

Can a three runway Heathrow, with 700 more planes a day, be quieter than the airport is today?  Check out the HACAN blog:

Why a 3rd runway is undeliverable

7 easy-to-read briefing sheets spelling out the 7 reasons why a 3rd runway cannot be delivered

7 pages Briefing sheets

READ: 20 Things To Know About A 3rd Runway

Download our Briefings in PDF format: Third Runway timelineThird Runway at Heathrow FAQ

Our Flickr page has great photos of pictures of campaigning  events – check it out to see the range of protests that have been taking place 


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:


 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: