Santa gets it. He knows just how much of London and the South East is impacted by aircraft noise from Heathrow. Most people don’t. They tend to only know their own patch. Not so Santa. The nature of his job means he’s familiar with every square mile.
He wouldn’t be surprised that most years the majority of complaints received by HACAN some from south, south-east and even east London. He senses most people in west London have learnt to live with the noise. On the whole, they don’t want any more of it – and they certainly don’t want to loose their respite periods – but in some ways aircraft noise has become part of the fabric of life in west London.
Certainly the biggest demand for ear defenders each year comes from south and south east London. But Santa has been known to bring them down the chimneys in places as far from Heathrow as Walthamstow, Hackney and Leytonstone. He suspects part of the reason for the problem in East London is the fact they get City Airport planes as well. It always amazes him the noise levels of aircraft from City and Heathrow are assessed separately. That’s not how his customers hear noise!
Genial though he is, Santa can get annoyed when he hears whispered conversations that people who don’t like noise shouldn’t have moved under the flight path. He accepts that may be true of people who moved into west London in recent years but it is a silly thing to say about folks living over 20 miles away in south east London. And even in west London it not always true – in these times of austerity many people have no choice but to move to where they can get a job.
Of course Santa is aware that not all the 766,000 people who are officially impacted by the noise are disturbed by it. He knows that the he only has to glide silently down the chimney of around 10% of homes. If he could deliver during the day, it would be a bit less. Still, more than any other city in Europe.
In his letters this year one big – and at first sight, rather surprising – request. The residents of Teddington, Ascot, Englefield Green and one or two others places were adamant: no present that included “free trials”.
So, what will be the big requests for Christmas 2015? Santa likes to collect his letters a year in advance to give himself and his elves plenty of time to prepare.
Top of the list came the call for official periods of respite from the noise.
Heathrow wanted respite plus a third runway.
And then there was the annual call for an end to night flights. Santa feels that could be a game-changer….and make his job so much easier.
The residents of the Heathrow villages wanted still to be in their homes this time next year.
Back Heathrow wanted a knighthood for the CEO of Populus for services to polling.
Santa doesn’t like to disappoint. But some of the requests appear contradictory. However, he’ll do his best. He senses he has a chance of pulling something off.
Have as peaceful a New Year as you can.