Aviation Noise

Plenary on 2013-10-09
Session date: 
October 9, 2013
Question By: 
Murad Qureshi
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
Boris Johnson (Chair, TfL) and Sir Peter Hendy (Commissioner, TfL)


Given that aircraft noise disturbance is now affecting increasing numbers of Londoners and the fact that some parts of London now suffer from noise generated by both Heathrow and London City Airport, why have you failed to get to grips with tackling aviation noise?


Answer for Aviation Noise

Answer for Aviation Noise

Answered By: 
Boris Johnson (Chair, TfL) and Sir Peter Hendy (Commissioner, TfL)

In partnership with the west London Boroughs, I have successfully opposed the previous Government's efforts to build a third runway at Heathrow. Such expansion would further blight the lives of hundreds of thousands of local people who already suffer terribly from noise disturbance as well as introducing many more new people to the impacts of aircraft noise. 

I have also called on the Government to develop a new independent noise monitoring regime for Heathrow, similar to that which exists in other European cities. In response to the Department for Transport's night flight consultation earlier in the year, I have called for a ban on all flights between 11pm and 7am at Heathrow with an understanding that transitional arrangements would apply as a new hub airport was built elsewhere. I am also keeping a very close eye on the potential changes to operations that could arise from any proposals to permanently introduce operational freedoms at Heathrow following the recent trials. 

Minimising the number of people affected by aircraft noise is an absolute priority when looking at where the UK should increase its aviation capacity. This is set out in both the Government's Aviation Policy Framework and the Airports Commission's recently published sift criteria. In September, TfL responded to the Airports Commission's discussion paper on the impacts of aircraft noise. I also wrote to Sir Howard Davies, urging him to act upon the mandate given to him by Government and undertake a review of the currently inadequate system of measuring the impact of noise disturbance on local communities near Heathrow.

The only credible solution, that would allow the seemingly conflicting priorities of providing the hub capacity that he UK economy needs whilst minimising the environmental impacts to be reconciled, is to establish a new hub airport, away from densely populated areas. I have presented three very credible proposals to the Airports Commission as to how this can be achieved to the east of London, at the Isle of Grain, in the Outer Thames Estuary and at Stansted, and I hope very much that these will be shortlisted in their interim report which is expected at the end of the year.