BLOG

  • Noise is an equity issue
    August 9, 2020
    Listen out for the voice of the voiceless The better-off we are, the louder our complaints about any noise problem we may have.   This can give the impression that noise is not really a concern for people who are less well-off. Yet, the evidence suggests otherwise. But before looking at some of it, it is worth making this distinction.  Communities, areas, places can ...
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  • Sheer fury unleased against the aviation industry
    April 14, 2020
    Taming the Tsunami of anger against the aviation industry Maybe I shouldn’t have been, but I’ve been taken aback by the sheer fury against the aviation industry which the Coronavirus crisis has unleashed.  I’m not talking about anti-capitalists calling for ‘system change not climate change’.  That was fairly predicable.   What has come across with the force of a tsunami is the ...
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  • Community engagement a condition of expansion
    March 11, 2020
    In this short blog I argue that the Department for Transport in its forthcoming White Paper should make expansion or growth at any airport conditional on quality community engagement: https://hacan.org.uk/blog/?p=634 We don’t know yet what will happen with the third runway at Heathrow.  But whether or not it is dropped, it is important that one aspect of the process remains: the ...
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  • Third Runway delay
    December 28, 2019
    A note to the man ‘who got Brexit done’: delay a 3rd runway decision and many communities will hurt A third runway at Heathrow could still be a decade away.  That’s even if it gets the final green light from the Secretary of State for Transport in 2021 following the public inquiry which is expected to start later this year.  It ...
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  • Boris and the third runway
    July 28, 2019
    Will Boris bulldoze the Heathrow third runway? Boris once rang me up.  It was a bit incongruous really.  Here was I standing on the deserted platform of  Isleworth rail station in West London, with the Mayor of London on my mobile.  He was congratulating me on my work in campaigning against a third runway and urging me to stand firm. I am ...
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  • Hot weather
    March 7, 2019
    GETTING HOT UNDER THE COLLAR ABOUT AIRCRAFT NOISE It is during these hot sunny days and warm nights that people’s vastly different reactions to aircraft noise come to the fore.   I remember shortly after I started campaigning with HACAN arriving at a member’s house just as her husband was preparing to ‘enjoy’ the summer sunshine in his garden….seemingly oblivious to the ...
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  • But I never had planes before
    March 7, 2019
    We hear these kinds of phrases more and more – maybe because it is so easy to put them on to social media.    ‘I never had planes before’ or ‘the planes were so high, they were no problem’  Sometimes it is true that flight paths have changed but all too often that is not the case.  Even when independent evidence is ...
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  • Independant Parallel Approaches (IPA)
    January 18, 2019
    An interim measure Heathrow wants to bring in 25,000 more flights a year between 2022 and when any new runway opens (expected to be 2026). To do this, it is proposing that these extra flights use new dedicated flight paths. These flight paths would only be in existence during those years.  If a third runway opens they would cease.  Only if Heathrow remains ...
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  • Are we really more noise sensitive?
    January 3, 2019
    Those all important numbers One of the most significant, and most welcome, sentences in the Government’s Aviation Green Paper (1) is this: “the government recognises that statistics showing past and future improvements in noise do not necessarily match the experience of some people living under flightpaths, for whom the benefits of quieter aircraft can be cancelled out by greater frequency of movements ...
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  • Aircraft numbers matter
    December 21, 2018
    One of the most significant, and most welcome, sentences in the Government’s Aviation Green Paper (1) is this: “the government recognises that statistics showing past and future improvements in noise do not necessarily match the experience of some people living under flightpaths, for whom the benefits of quieter aircraft can be cancelled out by greater frequency of movements or the effects ...
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  • Hendy Noise
    December 11, 2018
    Din from gyms, bars and brothels is nothing new… author and broadcaster David Hendy considers how the impact on society of global and historical soundscapes must inform our management of neighbourhood noise in today’s complex, crowded cities. A year ago, while recording my BBC Radio 4  series, I found myself at a busy road junction in Accra, the capital city of ...
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  • Changes to flight paths
    November 26, 2018
    A New Type of Flight Path Coming Our Way  Over the next few years Heathrow will see the biggest change to its flights paths since it opened in 1946.  It will happen whether Heathrow remains a two runway airport or if a third runway is built.  Changes to flight paths are happening at airports across the world, driven by new technology.  Ground-based ...
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  • PBN
    November 22, 2018
    Performance-Based Navigation More fundamental than changed flight paths A revolution is taking place in the way aircraft use airspace.  And it will have a lasting impact on local communities.  Flight paths are changing across the world but the change is much more fundamental than simply moving routes around.  New technology is enabling aircraft to be flown in a fundamentally new way.  And ...
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  • to Heathrow and City
    November 19, 2018
    Here’s your starter for 10.  How many times during a typical year has the east wind blown above 5 knots between lunchtime Saturday and lunchtime Sunday?   The question is of more than quiz trivia interest to people in South East London because it is the only time many of them get a break from aircraft noise.   Here’s how it works: West ...
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  • Licence to grow
    September 29, 2018
    In its Aviation Green Paper, expected in December, the Department for Transport will promote the ‘Licence to Grow’ concept where the aviation industry will only be allowed to grow if it deals with its downsides.  In this blog I argue that, if the DfT can pull it off, it will get the benefits of aviation growth while minimizing its downsides. ...
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  • Numbers impacted by a third runway
    April 11, 2018
    The Select Committee were right to call on the Department for Transport to come up new estimates of how many people would be impacted by a third runway using the most up-to-date contours.  At present, as I indicate below, it is very messy. Contours Contours are created by averaging the noise out over a 16 hour day.  Until very recently, the Government ...
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  • Adventures on night trains
    April 6, 2018
    It would be a pity if night trains in Europe disappeared.  It would reduce choice for travellers.  That is why the week of action starting today organised by Train Tracks Europe – https://back-on-track.eu/action-week-april-2018/ – is important.  The campaign seeks to preserve the remaining night trains and bring back many of those which have been withdrawn in recent years. Night trains may ...
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  • Metrics matter
    April 5, 2018
    Twenty years ago I wouldn’t have been reading a blog on metrics; far less writing one.  I’m not sure I’d really have had much idea of what “metrics” were. But having chaired HACAN for nearly 20 years I now know metrics matters a lot.  The way noise is measured and the assumptions behind when it becomes annoying are critical factors in ...
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  • Shaping the Future
    January 18, 2018
    Shaping 2018 The essence of successful campaigning is to shape the future.  There will be a number of opportunities for aviation campaigners to do that in 2018.  It will be the year when crucial decisions will be made and pivotal policy positions set in train. The most headline-making decision will be on a third runway at Heathrow.  Already it is the Government’s ...
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  • Pricing
    December 27, 2017
    Pricing
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  • 2018
    December 26, 2017
    2018 could turn out to be a significant year for communities impacted by Heathrow.  It is highly likely a decision on a third runway will be made. But it will also be the year when Heathrow will begin the biggest change to its flight paths since it opened in 1946. The airspace changes are being driven by the introduction at airports ...
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  • Heathrow flight path changes
    November 6, 2017
    It is not often you get to design your own flight path.  But that could happen over the next couple of years at Heathrow.  We won’t get to draw precise line on maps.  So, forget about putting it over the home of your worst enemy!  But Heathrow will be consulting about the principles on which flight paths should be based. It ...
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  • 700
    September 11, 2017
    Here’s an odd thing.  The number of flights at Heathrow has more than doubled since the 1980s yet, according to official statistics, the number of people annoyed by the noise has fallen from 1.2million in 1980 to around 250,000. But this is more than an historical curiosity.  It matters for the future because the Department for Transport’s National Policy Statement, Heathrow ...
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  • Numbers matter
    September 10, 2017
    Numbers matter
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  • Election candidates
    June 6, 2017
    What has surprised us during the General Election campaign is the level of previously silent opposition there is to a third runway at Heathrow amongst key candidates. Campaigners opposed to a third runway attended over 20 ‘hustings’ meeting during the General Election Campaign.  I was at half a dozen of them. We also wrote to the key candidates.  This is obviously only ...
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  • SE London’s challenge to NATS
    May 31, 2017
    It’s rare I write a blog at 11 o’clock at night with tea and a scrumptious cream scone in my hand.  But that it what I did last night when I popped into see Pearl, one our long-standing members in Camberwell, on my way home from an election hustings in nearby East Dulwich. I told Pearl about the constant noise from ...
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  • Flight path changes
    May 30, 2017
    Changing its flight paths: Heathrow’s chance to be a beacon for positive change It’s the other big aviation story.  The focus has been on the third runway at Heathrow.  Perhaps inevitably, given the controversy it creates.  But the other big event over the next decade will be the flight paths changes that will take place at virtually every airport in the ...
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  • Third Runway not a done deal
    May 24, 2017
    On the day that the consultation about a third runway closes it is still my view that a new runway at Heathrow is far from a done deal. There are still many hurdles for the airport to overcome.  So far it has got over just two of them: the recommendation of a third runway by the Airports Commission in July 2015 ...
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  • Hotspots
    April 6, 2017
    Some years ago, while doing some work for the UK Noise Association, I was asked to shortlist the noisiest roads in the UK.  I took a trip like no other.  Not for me seeking out the quiet beauty spots, the wooded glens or the babbling brooks.  I was on a mission to find the noisiest roads…and to spend as much ...
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  • Airspace Policy Consultation
    March 30, 2017
    It is in danger of being forgotten.  Yet the Airspace Policy Consultation contains a raft of proposals which will radically change the way the aviation industry does business.    All eyes are focused on the parallel third runway consultation.  Understandably so.  Any new runway built anywhere arouses strong emotions.  And at Heathrow the fears are particularly acute.  Already the its aircraft ...
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  • Heathrow’s 25 mile catchment area
    March 19, 2017
    It is half as far from Heathrow as Edinburgh is from Glasgow.  So why is aircraft noise a problem in Brockley?  It is in South East London in the borough of Lewisham, over 20 miles from the airport.  And yet alight at Brockley Station and the dominant noise you will hear is from planes passing overhead. It is part of Heathrow’s ...
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  • Why Heathrow and City need to liaise
    March 15, 2017
    Most of us remember Blind Date with some affection.  Cilla Black’s match-making show attracted big audiences on a Saturday night.  Would the couple hit it off on their holiday together?  Would some of them even settle down with one another? Heathrow and London City Airport need to go on a date.  There are some signs they are getting together.  I understand ...
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  • A whole new night-time experience: sleep!
    March 13, 2017
    It is just possible that residents under the Heathrow flight paths could enjoy a whole new night-time experience: sleep!  Currently that sleep can be badly interrupted by planes.  There’s the unscheduled late take-offs after 11.30pm – in fact the last plane is timetabled to leave Heathrow before 11pm.  There are the 16 arrivals between 4.30 and 6am.  And there are the ...
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  • Flight paths
    February 18, 2017
    The lack of information about where the new flights will be is emerging as a key criticism of the Department for Transport’s current consultation into the third runway at Heathrow.  Commonsense would suggest that flight paths should be an integral part of any consultation on any new runway.  After all, most people are pretty agnostic about a new runway.  They ...
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  • 2017
    January 27, 2017
    2016 taught us the folly of making predictions.  If anybody had put a bet on Leicester City winning the League, the UK leaving Europe, Donald Trump becoming the US President and a Briton ending up as the number one tennis player in the world, they would be almost rich enough to pay for Heathrow’s advertising blitz that helped secure it ...
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  • Mental health and aircraft noise
    December 8, 2016
    Why having a good mental health isn’t a right anymore?  If 10 years ago, when I brought my house, someone had said to me one day you will be writing a blog on the effect of airplane noise on your mental health I may have paused for a thought, but after a mere second into that through would have completely dismissed ...
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  • Nantes 2016
    December 7, 2016
    Even if you are a big fan of aviation, you’d be hard-pushed to back the proposed new airport outside Nantes in west France. The huge numbers which turned up last weekend (9th and 10th July) to two days of protest highlighted once again why the plan to build the airport has become the most controversial environmental project in France. It is causing ...
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  • Respite: Desirable? Practicable? Inevitable?
    July 28, 2016
    Here are some thoughts on why HACAN is backing respite. People under the landing flight path in West London have had respite since the 1970s.  Planes landing at Heathrow switch runways at 3pm to give people a half day’s break from the noise.  Our members in West London tell us that this is what makes life bearable for them and, in ...
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  • Guest blog: don’t forget flight paths
    July 27, 2016
    We have published this letter to us in the form of a blog as it highlights a key point that has been made to us in an increasing number of emails and letters; that, in focusing on opposition to a third runway in our campaigning, we are in danger of neglecting measures, such as respite, needed to assist people currently ...
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  • Fair Flight Paths
    June 18, 2016
    Fair Flight Paths The UK will have it’s airspace modernised over the next few years, and this will mean, what the industry has described as, ‘once in a lifetime’ changes. Naturally, with so much at stake, communities up and down the country (particularly the already overflown) are concerned to ensure that the process delivers fair outcomes, and fair flight paths. This is ...
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  • Areas without respite
    June 11, 2016
    I’ve been checking the emails HACAN has received over the last two months.  There is one striking feature.  Over 95% of those which contain a complaint are from people living in areas that get aircraft noise all day long.   Some are about departure routes that have become more concentrated.  Some are about arrivals over places that get no respite.   Astonishingly, ...
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  • Movement on flight paths
    April 2, 2016
    At last we are seeing movement on introducing flight paths which can benefit residents. Last week Gatwick Airport accepted the recommendations of an independent report which outlined a new approach to flight paths.  http://www.gatwickairport.com/globalassets/publicationfiles/business_and_community/all_public_publications/2016/gatwick—response-document-action-plan-final-31mar2016.pdf  These included looking to introduce multi-path approaches to share out the noise burden.  The devil of this scheme will lie in the detail and there will need to ...
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  • Way beyond west london
    December 16, 2015
    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 ...
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  • Back Heathrow
    October 11, 2015
    Back Heathrow had a clear (and legitmate) job to do yesterday.  They were faced with a high-profile anti-3rd runway rally in Central London at which the mayoral candidates of all the five main parties were speaking.  It would get significant coverage and it did.  They needed to find a way to undermine it. The most effective way to do so would ...
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  • What if Davies got his sums wrong
    August 28, 2015
    What if Davies got his sums wrong…………… The Airports Commission recommended a third runway at Heathrow largely on the basis of the economic benefits it would bring to the country.  However, over the last few weeks evidence has emerged that the economic case for a third runway is much less convincing than it may have appeared. What strengthens the argument is that ...
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  • What if Gatwick are right
    August 23, 2015
    What if Gatwick is right…………… The Airports Commission recommended a third runway at Heathrow largely on the basis of the economic benefits it would bring to the country.  However, over the last few weeks evidence has emerged that the economic case for a third runway is much less convincing than it may have appeared. What strengthens the argument is that much of ...
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  • Happiness
    July 25, 2015
    The Airports Commission has a view on happiness.  It got lost in the immediate analysis of its report. But it is important……because a key justification it gives of  a third runway at Heathrow is that flying abroad on holiday or to visit family and friends makes you happy. On page 70 of its final report it says:  “Leisure flights have a high ...
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  • Davies could be a game-changer on noise
    July 10, 2015
    The Airport Commission’s report could be a game-changer.  But not necessarily in the most obvious way.  New runways dominated the headlines last week when its chairman, Sir Howard Davies, published the report.  Inevitably so.  Gatwick or Heathrow.  It is a big story.  And, if the report does result in a new runway being built in London and the South East, ...
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  • Schiphol
    April 28, 2015
    We routinely are told that, if Heathrow doesn’t expand, people from other UK airports will choose to fly to Schiphol to interchange on to a long-distance flight.  The CEO of Schiphol has even rather cheekily called it ‘Heathrow’s third runway’.  He knows full well it can never be that because Schiphol has almost reached capacity. It is not that Schiphol lacks ...
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  • NATS wake up call
    March 21, 2015
    Some good may yet come out of last week’s revelation that NATS (National Air Traffic Control) failed to tell Heathrow Airport about critical flight path changes.  Residents in the affected areas – Ascot, Binfield, Virginia Water and Bracknell – had consistently complained about the increase in flights over their areas.  Heathrow Airport admitted that trials had taken in 2014 but ...
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  • Night flights
    March 16, 2015
    Night flights before 6am should come to an end if a third runway is ever built.  That is the view of Jock Lowe, the former Concorde pilot who heads up Heathrow Hub, the independent consortium proposing a new runway.  And he is right. Night flights shouldn’t be allowed anyway.  And they are not needed.  A seminal report from the European Commission ...
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  • Airspace changes
    February 26, 2015
    NATS airspace plans:  ‘probably the most important and far-reaching aviation announcement of the year’ Today’s announcement by National Air Traffic Control (NATS) that it proposes to reconfigure airspace could be more significant that any plans for a new runway.  ‘Airspace’ and ‘flight paths’ sound like a technical turn-off but, in my view, this is the most important and far-reaching aviation announcement ...
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  • A new runway is for now but flight paths are forever
    February 6, 2015
    Chicago agrees to reprieve on dismantling O’Hare’s diagonal runways http://trib.in/1FQp3tZ  City Of Phoenix Has Filed Suit Against The FAA Over Aircraft Noise on new, concentrated flight paths – http://ow.ly/NK9H9 
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  • Noise attitude survey
    January 30, 2015
    People are becoming more disturbed by noise because the noise climate has become worse; not because they are less tolerant of noise Blog by John Stewart The official National Noise Attitude Survey (1), recently published by the Government, showed that more people were disturbed by noise than ten years ago. Those disturbed by neighbour noise was up from 9% to 11%; aircraft ...
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  • So how much support is there for a third runway?
    January 26, 2015
    How much support is there for a third runway at Heathrow? So, how much support is there for a third runway?  Heathrow – understandably from their perspective – made a big deal of this week’s Populus Poll which saw support edge up to just over 50% – http://mediacentre.heathrowairport.com/Press-releases/New-Poll-Growing-local-support-for-Heathrow-expansion-ab2.aspx .  They have now crafted huge adverts around the findings. The reliability of the ...
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  • Responding to Davies in numbers
    January 24, 2015
    Dear Sir Howard, As a seasoned campaigner, I find it all somewhat ironic.  You will have noticed from the number of pro-forma letters your Commission has been receiving that Heathrow Airport and Back Heathrow have strained every sinew of their advertising budget to try to persuade as many people as possible to email or write to the Commission that they want ...
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  • Why did you move under the flight path?
    January 11, 2015
    “Well, you knew Heathrow was there, so why did you move under the flight path?”  It is one of the most common responses to residents’ complaints about noise. And it is not always said in a sneering, aggressive way, although that can and does happen.  Often the questioner is simply drawing a very logical conclusion.  Most of us moved into our ...
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  • HACAN New Year 2015
    December 31, 2014
    Five years ago in the week between Christmas and the New Year I wrote Victory Against All Odds – the story of how the campaign to stop a third runway at Heathrow was won.  It was five months before the 2010 General Election but I was banking on the fact that Labour, which was promoting the new runway would lose, ...
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  • Santa gets it
    December 21, 2014
    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 ...
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  • Sunday Times
    December 1, 2014
    The Sunday Times expose of Back Heathrow’s methods is significant – http://hacan.org.uk/?p=2753 . Not because Back Heathrow has hidden the fact it has received considerable funding from Heathrow Airport.  It has made it clear from the early days that Heathrow had put money in.  Much more because the Sunday Times reveals how Back Heathrow fails to spell out to the ...
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  • NIMBY or equality
    November 1, 2014
    Sharing Flight Paths: the classic call of the Nimby or a desperate plea for help? HACAN is open 365 days a year and every single day we get emails from people driven to distraction by aircraft noise.  Every. Single. Day.  People in despair.  Two from this weekend’s batch:  “I haven’t slept without earplugs for over a year and now spend 2 nights ...
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  • Aircraft noise a London wide problem
    November 1, 2014
    Aircraft noise a London wide problem
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  • Concentrating noise
    October 11, 2014
    Dear London City, Your flight path proposals will have a profound effect – for the worse – on tens of thousands of Londoners…..and you are simply not telling them.  You are planning to concentrate the planes using the airport on narrow corridors, meaning that the unlucky communities will suffer all the noise. It is deeply inequitable.  It reminds me what has happened ...
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  • Flight paths matter
    October 5, 2014
    Recent events have illustrated how much flight paths matter.  As Mark Hookham put it in today’s Sunday Times “low-flying aeroplanes are causing uproar in affluent commuter towns and idyllic villages across Britain as airports test new flight paths” – Suburbia in revolt at new f light paths Unless you are a Harmondsworth resident whose home is threatened by a third runway ...
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  • 3rd runway not essential to London’s economy
    August 19, 2014
    On the face of it, it may seem odd to cite the economy as a reason why Heathrow does not need a third runway.  After all, many in business back a third runway.  And it is the main reason Heathrow Airport gives for promoting one. Let’s acknowledge up front that a 3rd runway would bring economic benefits.  And that it would ...
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  • Populus
    August 13, 2014
    Populus, Heathrow’s favourite pollster, are in trouble.  Their questionable methods have been exposed in a poll they did for the fracking industry. Thie poll published on Monday, carried out for UK Onshore Oil and Gas, was described by a polling expert as ‘one of the most misleading poll findings I’ve ever seen’. And today the pressured on Populus has increased with ...
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  • Heathrow’s noise claims unravel
    June 20, 2014
    Blog:  Heathrow Airport’s noise claims unravelling fast Heathrow’s claim that the overall noise climate will improve if a third runway is built is unravelling fast.  It always did leave people shaking their heads in disbelief.  But two recent independent reports show that it does not stand up to serious scrutiny. The most devastating critique comes from a report from Atkins, the well-established ...
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  • Howard Davies and the London Assembly
    June 18, 2014
    How times change.  Ten years ago the Labour Government was planning four or five new runways across the UK plus full use of existing runways at all the country’s airports.  It proposed a third runway at Heathrow, a second runway at Stansted or Gatwick, plus a second runway at Birmingham and at least one new runway in Scotland. This morning Sir ...
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  • An open letter to Sir Robin Wales
    May 24, 2014
    Dear Sir Robin, We haven’t met.  So I don’t know whether or not you have a sense of humour.  But residents under the Heathrow flight paths aren’t at all amused at the remarks you made when you addressed a recent conference on economic development in West London (http://lookwestlondon.com/2013/10/23/complacency-the-enemy-for-west-london/#more-11409):   “What is it with West London? You build an airport, generate thousands of jobs, ...
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  • Heathrow revised plans
    May 13, 2014
    Heathrow still have a mountain to climb.  Today’s launch of their revised plan for a third runway http://www.heathrowairport.com/static/HeathrowAboutUs/Downloads/PDF/taking_britain_further.pdf shows they understand the need to pull out all the stops to make it politically deliverable.  But it also shows the extent of the task they face. Their last attempt to get a new runway ended in failure: http://www.hacan.org.uk/resources/reports/how.the.heathrow.campaign.was.won.pdf   Since then, they ...
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  • Putting the polls into perspective
    May 5, 2014
    Last week Heathrow Airport claimed that there was more support now for a 3rd runway than when it was proposed by the last Labour Government.  It cited a recent opinion poll of more than 1,000 local residents by Populus which showed 48% are in favour of a third runway while 34% oppose. http://www.populus.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Heathrow-Borough-Poll-March-2014.pdf The reality is different.  HACAN unearthed a Populus poll ...
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  • People Power
    April 24, 2014
    It was a momentous result.  It was the victory against all the odds.  No one expected the coalition of local residents, environmentalists, direct action activists, local authorities and sympathetic politicians to pull it off.  Except perhaps ourselves.  In the latter months of the decade-long campaign to stop a third runway at Heathrow Airport we sensed we were on the verge ...
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  • Back Heathrow newsletter
    April 14, 2014
    It’s got ‘em talking.  And fuming.  Back Heathrow’s latest news-sheet and questionnaire.  I didn’t get one dropped through my door but many of our supporters did and they sent me copies. The newsletter is a work of art.  The art of not quite telling it as it is.  Take the front page “Hillingdon Council want Thousands of Houses on Airport”.  What ...
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  • APD Budget 2014
    March 20, 2014
    The Chancellor’s announcement on Air Passenger Duty (APD) in yesterday’s budget speech was significant.  Less so because of the changes he announced; more for his underlying assumption that APD is here to stay.  This is a considerable blow to the aviation industry which for some years now has been united in its opposition to the tax.  But it was never ...
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  • Do the overflown benefit
    March 13, 2014
    Daniel Moylan, the Mayor’s aviation adviser, told the londonnoisesummit earlier this week that “millions on waiting lists have no choice about living under flight paths.” Decision-makers would do well to heed Moylan’s words when deciding Britain’s future aviation policy. Planes using Heathrow go over areas of deprivation unmatched by any other major airport in the South East.  It is true that the ...
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  • Doing Nothing is not an Option
    March 10, 2014
    I’ve been asked why we are jointly organizing a Noise Summit of Tuesday with Let Britain Fly! and London First, two organizations with whom we don’t necessarily see eye-to-eye with on the question of airport expansion.   The answer is simple.  Doing nothing about noise at Heathrow is not an option. For some other airports in the country noise may not be ...
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  • EU legal limits
    March 3, 2014
    Today the London’s Mayor is due to launch his low-emission zone for London.  It is an attempt to bring down the seriously high levels of air pollution in London – the highest NO2 levels of any capital city in Europe, way above the EU legal limits.   Last month the EU took the first step towards taking legal action against the UK.  ...
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  • Nantes ablaze
    February 23, 2014
    On Saturday Nantes was ablaze.  The anger at the proposed new airport outside this city in Western France boiled over:  http://youtu.be/eIgNvAHIVmw.  Up to 60,000 people took part in what was largely a peaceful demonstration:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EyZ9aDDqWfQ&list=PLYfjo3JyLy2TBtLWV_afrBLvUCVOzdOWa&feature=share   The local campaign group ACIPA say that the tension rose when the police refused to allow the march to take the normal route through ...
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  • Heathrow economic case
    February 17, 2014
    The Economy is not dependent on a 3rd runway at Heathrow.   Here’s the evidence. Heathrow Airport is more honest than many of its supporters when making the economic case for a third runway.  They acknowledge that it is not the only game in town.  The issue was highlighted last week when DeAnne Julius, a former member of the Monetary Policy Committee ...
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  • The real problems with a 3rd runway
    February 13, 2014
    Bringing Reality to the 3rd Runway Debate This blog is not dedicated to Back Heathrow.  That would be a step (or a runway) too far! Even on Valentine’s Day!  But it has been prompted by a Back Heathrow ‏@BackHeathrow  tweet:  Trouble is, protestors do or say anything to halt expansion anywhere so much harder for genuine concerns to be heard. How true is that?  ...
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  • Different reactions to aircraft noise
    February 9, 2014
    Frankie Goes to Hollywood had a big hit with their 1983 song Two Tribes to War.  It is a bit like that with aircraft noise.  Not so much war, perhaps; just mutual incomprehension.  People who are deeply disturbed by aircraft noise just can’t understand why their next-door neighbour hardly hears the planes.  And the neighbour dismisses the noise sufferer next ...
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  • Davies Quiet Revolution
    January 27, 2014
    The Quiet Revolution The Airports Commission could be driving a quiet revolution in the way aircraft noise is measured.   A blog about noise measurements?!   Resist the temptation to stop reading!  For this could turn out to be one of the most significant and far-reaching things to emerge from the Commission. For decades the Department for Transport (DfT) has clung desperately to its ...
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  • Davies noise
    January 15, 2014
    I’m not a Yorkshireman but, for once, I need to be as blunt as a Yorkshireman.  The Airports Commission has got it wrong on noise.  And, unless it changes tack, its final recommendation will be fatally flawed and forever contested. The Airports Commission has accepted the industry’s chosen method of measuring aircraft noise.  That enabled it to write this dreadful paragraph ...
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  • From Frankfurt
    January 13, 2014
    A blog from Frankfurt Originally put together by ‘Mainz and Rhine-Main: Together against aircraft noise’; abridged by John Stewart 13/1/14 If this blog was a film, it would be x-rated.  It contains graphic and compelling descriptions of the suffering of people hit by aircraft noise when the 4th runway opened. When the fourth runway opened at Frankfurt in 2011, it resulted in massive protests, ...
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  • Why a 3rd runway at Heathrow is undeliverable
    January 6, 2014
    A third runway at Heathrow will never be built.  That is my confident prediction for 2014…..and 2015!  It is not simply that I don’t want it to be built.  I firmly believe that it is just not politically deliverable. And it is not just me saying this.  Steven Norris, the former Conservative transport minister turned successful businessman, has consistently taken this ...
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  • It is noise not house prices
    December 26, 2013
    This blog is being written on Boxing Day.  It may be because I’m a sad obsessive.  But it is also because HACAN, like Heathrow, never closes.  We get complaints about aircraft noise Every.Single.Day.Of.The.Year. I stress this because recently stories have appeared which suggest that house prices are what really motivates people to complain about Heathrow.  A typical example of this was ...
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  • Davis interim report
    December 11, 2013
    Howard Davies has surprised us all.  We expected his Interim Report, to be published on Tuesday 17th December, to earmark Heathrow, Stansted, Gatwick and probably an Estuary option for further consideration.  Nobody thought it would be focused almost entirely on Heathrow. Yet we now have it on good authority that the draft Davies presented to the Chancellor George Osborne for his ...
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  • Respite can be real
    December 9, 2013
    Flight paths can be moved around London to give people respite from the noise.  The skies between Walthamstow and Leytonstone used to be criss-crossed by aircraft heading for Heathrow.  They are now virtually empty.  Only the irritating roar of planes taking off from City Airport spoils the silence.  It is not an official trial.  I don’t know why it has ...
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  • APD Air Passenger Duty
    December 1, 2013
    Yesterday was the 20th anniversary of the introduction of Air Passenger Duty (APD).  It has proved hugely controversial.  Environmentalists and most residents groups’ believe it is not high enough.  Aviation interests argue it is crippling the industry. Even today the Sunday Telegraph is reporting that some 250 chief executives have written to the Chancellor, in advance of his Autumn Statement this ...
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  • Louise Ellman
    November 30, 2013
    I don’t know Louise Ellman personally.  The only time we have spoken is when I gave evidence to the Transport Select Committee last year.  But it surprises and disturbs me that, as chair of the committee, she can write – or at least put her name to – an article of such stunningly poor quality as appeared in Politics Home ...
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  • Fighting a 3rd Runway…..at Hong Kong
    November 23, 2013
    This blog is a bit different.  Last week I spent a day with Michael Mo, the young man who heads up the campaign against a 3rd runway at Hong Kong Airport.  He had a fascinating story to tell.   My knowledge of Hong Kong Airport was limited.  I knew that the old, city-centre airport had been shut down for safety ...
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  • Let Britain Fly
    November 19, 2013
    Let Britain Fly had a difficult birth today.  Its proud parent, London First, surrounded by a glittering array of big names from the business world, overdid the hyperbole.  Baroness Jo Valentine, chief executive of London First, said that it was not acceptable for politicians “to dither” over new runways “and let our economy wither.”   She even went on to ...
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  • Unsound measurements
    November 10, 2013
    They won’t know whether to laugh or cry this weekend, the residents of Sabine Road in Battersea.  Their street has been named one of the quietest in London.  “Sorry you did say ‘quietest’ didn’t you?”  They’ll be asking each other over breakfast as the next plane roars overhead. Sabine Road, not far from Clapham Junction, is in an area where there ...
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  • Airports Commission Noise
    October 29, 2013
    There are rumours – just rumours – that Sir Howard Davies may be leaning towards a third runway at Heathrow, but only if he is satisfied that the noise problems can be mitigated. If that is the case, the response to his Airports Commission’s noise paper will have given him considerable food for thought.  A summary of the responses can be found ...
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  • A third runway will be the death of you
    October 13, 2013
    The news last week that deaths from stroke, heart and circulatory disease are up to 20% higher in areas under the Heathrow with high levels of aircraft noise than in places with the least noise is startling.  But is it true?  Dramatic findings, but true? Within hours of the release of the report, Back Heathrow (http://www.backheathrow.org/), the Heathrow Airport funded body promoting ...
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  • When is a NIMBY not a NIMBY
    October 3, 2013
    I’m taking a risk with this blog.  So often campaigners are dismissed as NIMBYs.  And I’ve been campaigning for over 30 years. The blog was prompted by this news story from India.  There are big local protests in Kerala, in the south west of India, against there are plans by a private company to build a large new airport, for low ...
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  • The IPCC report and ICAO
    June 27, 2013
    The IPCC Report should act as a wake call to the aviation industry It is just coincidence.  On the day that the IPCC report, calling for immediate action to tackle climate change, is published ICAO (the International Civil Aviation Organisation) is continuing its leisurely deliberations in Montreal to find a way to reduce CO2 emissions from aviation that is acceptable to ...
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  • European Aviation Campaigner’s conference
    June 25, 2013
    Last weekend’s conference in Munich showed just how vibrant the European movement against airport expansion has become.  On Saturday (22nd June) over 250 campaigners from across Europe packed the sports centre in the small town of Attaching, just outside Munich, sharing ideas and plan Europe-wide campaigns. Ten years ago this sort of conference would not have taken place.  There was little ...
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  • HACAN noise
    May 30, 2013
    Heathrow Airport’s proposals to reduce noise, published today, are welcome –http://mediacentre.heathrowairport.com/Press-releases/Heathrow-publishes-commitments-on-noise-reduction-measures-57f.aspx.  There is little doubt that, if they were implemented, they would cut noise for residents.  Measures such as respite periods, steeper approaches, improved sound insulation and the plan to fine the noisier aircraft will improve the noise climate.  Some of the proposals, of course, are dependent on the cooperation ...
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  • Powerful political opposition
    April 27, 2013
    Today’s impressive rally against Heathrow expansion, organized by Zac Goldsmith MP, demonstrated the formidable forces that are massing once again to prevent expansion of the airport.  It will have given Heathrow Airport and their allies who want a third runway considerable pause for thought.  In the space of 40 minutes 15 leading politicians from right across the political spectrum lined ...
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  • Has the tide turned?
    February 3, 2013
    “There have been persistent whispers that the two big business organizations, the CBI and London First, are losing their enthusiasm for a third runway” This may be heresy.  But it simply may not matter what the Davies Commission, set up last year by the Government to look at future airport capacity, says about a third runway at Heathrow.  The tide may ...
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  • ‘It’s Politics, Stupid’
    January 17, 2013
    Boris gets it. The London Assembly gets it. Former transport minister Steve Norris gets it. Some business people get it.  I think Heathrow Airport – BAA as was – gets it.  Maria Eagle, Labour’s shadow transport minister, gets it. Willie Walsh certainly gets it.   However, I came away from giving evidence to the London Assembly’s first-rate transport committee this week ...
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  • So, why don’t you move
    December 27, 2012
    It’s probably the most common question we get. ‘Why don’t you move, if the noise is bothering you so much?’  It is sometimes said aggressively; at other times just quizzically.  It can be followed by the comment: ‘After all, you knew the airport was there before you moved in.’ When I respond to these questions by email, I usually start by ...
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  • Willie Walsh
    December 27, 2012
    “BA’s lack of interest in a third runway has important implications for the future of aviation policy in the UK.  It leaves Heathrow Airport without a critical ally”. Heathrow Airport, formerly known as BAA, is looking ever more isolated in its support for a third runway at Heathrow.  On Friday (30th November)  British Airways chief Willie Walsh told a major conference ...
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  • “It’s Politics Stupid”
    December 26, 2012
    Boris gets it. Former transport minister Steve Norris gets it.  I think Heathrow Airport – BAA as was – gets it.  Maria Eagle, Labour’s shadow transport minister, gets it. Willie Walsh certainly gets it.  I am not sure, though, that a lot of those backing a third or even fourth runway at Heathrow seem to get it.  It is simple:  ...
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  • Davies commission
    November 4, 2012
    Justine Greening would have approved Justine Greening would have nodded in approval when, last Friday, Sir Howard Davies explained the remit of the Airports Commission the Government has asked him to head up.  The former transport secretary, who was moved from her post in the September reshuffle because of her principled and implacable opposition to Heathrow expansion, would have warmed to ...
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  • Justine Greening goes
    September 5, 2012
    The Head of Justine Greening on a Platter The aviation industry got what it wanted: the head of Justine Greening on a platter.  Immediate policy on Heathrow is unlikely to change – the new Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has a record of opposing a third runway (http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2009-01 28&number=26&mpn=Patrick_McLoughlin&mpc=West_Derbyshire&house=commons) and the Liberal Democrats remain firmly opposed – but the industry’s marketing onslaught ...
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  • Why I’m backing Justine
    August 26, 2012
    Why I’m backing Justine….and Maria It may be a first.  I certainly can’t recall any previous occasion when voters have taken direct action in an attempt to influence a cabinet reshuffle.  Reshuffles are usually of less interest to most people than the football results of the Scottish third division. (I’m an exception to that incidentally having watching my parent’s home team ...
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  • Beyond parody
    July 10, 2012
    It’s beyond parody.  The call by the Free Enterprise Group of MPs for TWO new runways at Heathrow is bad news……for them.  To ignore the successful fight that stopped the third runway (http://www.hacan.org.uk/resources/reports.php?id=290) is politically naïve.  To spell out a range of destructive options for a fourth runway is bordering on political suicide.  It will simply result in a myriad ...
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  • Air Passenger Duty
    July 7, 2012
    There’s nothing unfair about Air Passenger Duty A summer fixture: as regular as Wimbledon or Henley, the aviation industry’s campaign to end the “tax on people’s holidays” It’s become a summer fixture.   As regular as Wimbledon, Henley or cricket as Lords.  It is the call by the aviation industry to end what it terms ‘the tax on people’s holidays’: the start ...
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