The London Assembly Environment Committee has heard from residents and community groups about aircraft noise across widespread areas of London, particularly in south-east, north-east and south-west London.
We have investigated the issues raised and taken evidence from London airports. What we have learnt is deeply worrying. Disturbance to daily activities, including working, learning and relaxation, and to sleep, can have severe effects on people’s health and wellbeing.
Aircraft noise remains a serious issue and will inevitably be a greater problem if airports increase their traffic. We have identified the following key actions that London and its airports need to undertake to reduce the far too high levels of disturbance to daily lives.
Calls for action
- The Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise should regulate noise disturbance more stringently, using lower thresholds for disturbance (taking into account WHO guidelines and the need for residents to keep windows open) and mapping the combined effect of all London’s airports, especially Heathrow and City. The Mayor should support this work.
- Air traffic using Heathrow and City airports should not increase, and the proposed third runway at Heathrow should not go ahead.
- Flight paths should be rotated to give respite for those living under concentrated flight paths. Flight paths should be designed to minimise noise impacts: stacking, low-level overflying, and overlapping flight paths should be minimised.
- There should be no night flights, and limits on early morning flights should be retained, and preferably strengthened.
- The severe levels of noise disruption now being experienced by some of London’s residents are not acceptable, and urgent, decisive action is needed across the board to alleviate it.