Give Londoners a break from aircraft noise

23 January 2019

Heathrow has recently announced plans for 25,000 extra flights a year, bringing new areas of London under its flight paths. Meanwhile, London City Airport, in the middle of its own significant expansion, saw record passenger numbers in 2018.

But as the appetite for air travel grows, so does the misery for those who have no choice but to live with a debilitating noise invasion.

A new report, ‘Aircraft Noise’, published today by the London Assembly Environment Committee, says noise nuisance levels are unacceptable and calls for a halt on all air traffic growth at Heathrow and London City airports.

The report builds on evidence given by residents who told the Committee of a dawn chorus of disruption that continued well after their children’s bedtime. The report details the impact of altitude, flight paths and out-of-hours flights on the noise landscape.

Among the recommendations in ‘Aircraft Noise’:

  • The Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise should use lower thresholds for disturbance, allowing residents to leave their windows open when they need to.
  • Air traffic at Heathrow and London City should not increase and Heathrow’s third runway should not go ahead.
  • Air traffic controllers should minimise continuous stacking and maximise descent and ascent to keep aircraft further from the ground for longer. They should also minimise overlap between City and Heathrow flight paths.
  • There should be no night flights, and restrictions on early morning flights should be strengthened. All London airports should provide predictable periods of respite.

Plane flies over Houses of Parliament

Caroline Russell AM, Chair of the Environment Committee, said:

“The experiences of residents living with the daily nightmare of overhead noise are deeply worrying. There are significant health impacts that follow from an inability to sleep, relax and concentrate.

“This drive towards filling airspace capacity must be checked. For too many people, including children, aircraft noise is a major dominant intrusion into their everyday lives. It is not an acceptable price to pay for air travel. It isn’t right and must be challenged.

“We have already made clear our objection to the expansion of Heathrow but aviation authorities and operators must prioritise the health and well-being of Londoners and give us a break.”

Follow us @LondonAssembly and tweet about the report using #AssemblyEnvironment and #AircraftNoise

Notes to editors

  1. Read the report (attached).
  2. Caroline Russell AM, Chair of the Environment Committee, is available for interview.
  3. Find out more about the work of the London Assembly Environment Committee.
  4. As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.

For media enquiries, please contact Giles Broadbent on 020 7983 4067.  For out of hours media enquiries, call 020 7983 4000 and ask for the London Assembly duty press officer.  Non-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit on 020 7983 4100.

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