Residents living under Heathrow’s flight paths have called for an annual day of silence to celebrate the “blissful” quiet caused by the volcanic ash cloud.

BAA has grounded all planes flying to and from the airport, leading campaigners to pounce on the opportunity to contrast the empty skies with the usual roar of jet engines.

John Stewart, chairman of campaign group Hacan, said: “This cloud of ash definitely has a silver lining for residents under the Heathrow flight path. It has brought a blissful period of peace and quiet.

“We have been getting emails and letters from people all over Europe celebrating the silence.

"A completely silent day is clearly unrealistic but we think an annual day of silence would be a useful reminder to us all of just how noisy our world has become.”