I’ve written about this before, but it is worth saying it again. Heathrow is not just a West London problem. Or just a Windsor problem. Its impact is felt over 25 miles from the airport. Kate Hoey, the Vauxhall MP, emphasized it again in the House of Commons this week ((14/12/15) during questions to the Transport Secretary when she SAID:
The Secretary of State is a very honourable gentleman, particularly as he is my constituent. I am sure that deep down he is not particularly happy today. In his statement, he talked about the best possible outcome for local residents. Does he accept that my Vauxhall constituents may not be considered as local residents to Heathrow, but that it is crucial that their views are taken into consideration?
This video, commissioned by HACAN, illustrates the impact of aircraft noise on Vauxhall, about 17 miles from Heathrow: https://youtu.be/rXf8o_khz8s
A study HACAN commissioned from the independent noise consultants Bureau Veritas in 2008 found that in Kennington Park, close to the Oval Cricket Ground “aircraft noise dominated the local environment.” In a separate study found that during certain periods of the day over 40 planes an hour fly over the Oval.
It is important to stress the extent of the noise problem to counter the accusation heard again in recent days following the Government’s decision to postpone a decision on expansion that it is a handful of ‘West London Nimbys’ who are damaging the national interest by holding up a third runway.
An email sent to HACAN in August. From Hounslow, Windsor or even Vauxhall? Try Walthamstow, deep in North East London.
Of course, it is not true that everybody in Walthamstow is disturbed by the noise. Just as there are people in Hounslow, Windsor and Vauxhall who are not bothered by it.
But my point is that there are people from the airport seriously impacted by it. A lot of them. HACAN gets more emails from South East London than from any other area.
Most of these people are not captured by the noise statistics. They live outside the official noise contours, even the more realistic ones used by the European Commission. Their opinions are not sought in the (in)famous Populus polls commissioned by Heathrow which claim to show just over 50% support for a new runway in the boroughs closest to the airport.
What they are looking for is respite: a predicable break from the noise. It is the constant refrain in email after email, week after week which HACAN receives. Heathrow Airport has now recognized the problem and has commissioned research to look at practical ways of introducing respite. It is a considerable piece of work which won’t report until the end of 2016. But the sooner
The Secretary of State is a very honourable gentleman, particularly as he is my constituent. I am sure that deep down he is not particularly happy today. In his statement, he talked about the best possible outcome for local residents. Does he accept that my Vauxhall constituents may not be considered as local residents to Heathrow, but that it is crucial that their views are taken into consideration? They live under early morning noise pollution that is absolutely shocking. An extra runway at Heathrow will make it much worse.