People in Richmond affected by aircraft noise are not likely to receive any night time or early morning respite, a Heathrow director has said.
The London Assembly urged the airport to encourage planes to approach from the west of London to reduce the number flying over the capital, but Heathrow said it did not want to “raise hopes” in west London by pledging action if it could not deliver.
Matt Gorman, Heathrow’s sustainability director, said: “We are working with air traffic control to understand more about operating an easterly preference in the early morning as we understand the benefits it could offer to local communities.
“However, there are a number of factors that affect how often easterly preference could be implemented and until we understand this fully, we do not want to raise hopes in west London only to then disappoint.”
Due to wind direction, more than 70 per cent come from the east, but the London Assembly’s health and environment committee said if planes landed from the opposite direction when weather conditions allowed, only 40 per cent would fly over the capital, making the split fairer.
The changes would reduce noise disturbance for about 110,000 people in Richmond, Isleworth and Hounslow, but increase it for 15,600 living in parts of Windsor, Datchet and Stanwell Moor.
Heathrow said the number of early morning arrivals was essential to the airport’s business because it connected the UK to emerging economies, such as Asia.
There are about 15 flights landing each night at Heathrow between 11.30pm and 6am, most of which are flights from the Far East landing after 5am.
Labour assembly member Murad Qureshi, chairman of the health and environment committee, said: “We want to see the end of Heathrow night flights because it is unacceptable that thousands of Londoners are unable to get a good night’s sleep because of planes flying over the capital.
“But if they must continue, then landing more planes from the west of London would at least share the noise burden more equally.”
Heathrow encourages its airlines to fly their quietist planes overnight by charging for louder aircrafts, offer noise insulation to people affected and work with campaigners to reduce early morning disturbance.
Last week Richmond Heathrow Campaign urged people in favour of a ban on night flights to respond to a consultation, which ends on Monday, April 22. For guidance, visit http://richmondheathrowcampaign.org.
Last week, a printing error meant we printed bit.ly/night-flights as the address to find the consultation questionnaire. This is incorrect and we are happy to print the correct link as http://bit.ly/nightflights
Third runway crucial to west London's ecnomy
Opposition to a third runway at Heathrow will do major damage to the economy, a business expert has said.
Chief executive of West London Business Frank Wingate, who will appear at a Heathrow question time event in Richmond next month, said a third runway, funded by the private sector, not the taxpayer, was essential to the UK’s economy.
He said: “The west London economy is a very large economy and that’s got a lot to do with Heathrow.
“It’s worth about £37bn, second only to the City and central London.
“From a general economic point of view we are quite sure that we want greater capacity.”
West London Business is the chamber of commerce and inward investment agency for west London.
There are about 170,000 jobs in west London dependent on Heathrow, which is about a quarter of the total number of jobs in the area.
Mr Wingate said building an airport in the Thames estuary would be immensely costly.
The former Oxford University student said: “If Heathrow were to close or to be moved this would absolutely damage the west London economy.
“It would have a massive effect on jobs and major companies because the reason they are in west London is because they are near their international markets.”
He said environmental issues, such as noise and air pollution, could be managed by setting standardised limitations to the airport and airlines.
Increasing number of passengers per aircrafts was only a marginal solution to an airport that is already working at full capacity, he said.
The question time event will be held at Duke Street Church in Richmond on Friday, May 3, from 6pm until 9pm.
Panellists include MPs Zac Goldsmith and Vince Cable, as well as the Mayor of London’s aviation adviser Daniel Moylan.
Residents have their say in referendum
Every person in the borough will receive a referendum ballot paper on Monday, April 22, so they can give their views on Heathrow.
The £46,000 borough-wide vote has been organised by Richmond Council to show the Government their stance on Heathrow expansion.
People will have a month to vote and can do so by using the unique code on the ballot paper or return it by post.
The council has organised a number of information events for people to attend including stalls at the Richmond May Fair and Chestnut Sunday in Bushy Park as well as the question time event at Duke Street Church.
Cabinet member for environment Councillor Virginia Morris said: “Residents should make sure they use this opportunity to make their views known on this issue which is of huge importance.
“As a council we are committed to involving all residents in decision making and improving the borough’s environment.”
Heathrow information sessions:
- Twickenham: Outside Santander in King Street on Tuesday April 23, from 10am to 4pm.
- East Sheen: By the war memorial in Upper Richmond Road West on Wednesday April 24, from 10am to 4pm.
- Teddington: Outside Boots in Broad Street on Thursday April 25 from 10-4pm
- Richmond’s May Fair, The Green, Richmond, Saturday 11 May 11am to 5pm
- Bushy Park’s Chestnut Sunday in Bushy Park, Teddington, Sunday 12th May 12.30pm to 5pm.