Plane Hell Action have visited the Heathrow Consultation Event and explained their views.
Why have it?
As per new planning rules for national policy projects, this is the initial public consultation following the Governments’s decision that aviation expansion should preferably be achieved by building a 3rd runway at Heathrow, LHR.
What is it?
There are 2 main areas of discussion within the Heathrow Consultation:
The Airspace Consultation
Routes taken by planes are being modified to use the new computerised air traffic control programme known as Performance Based Navigation, PBN. PBN will mean that planes fly in clear and narrow paths across the planet. Aviation superhighways will be created through the concentration of air traffic into densely packed routes, just as has occurred with motorways on terra firma. This will be intolerably noisy for people living below the PBN routes, where air traffic is flying low, as particularly occurs with planes departing from and approaching airports. One part of the government’s Heathrow Consultation will pertain to this use of PBN around airports and how flight path design might mitigate the noise effects of its use.
The Expansion Consultation
This part of the Heathrow Consultation relates to how the 3rd runway will affect the land and town scapes of the Heathrow area.
- Length of runway
- Position of M25
- Rail access
- Air quality
Where to see and take part in it
Plane Hell Action will be asking for this in response to the Heathrow Flight Paths Consultation
- Fair flight paths, with multiple approach paths ensuring that air traffic can be widely distributed across London, reducing intensity of operations on any one area. Absolutely no concentration of flight paths as PBN is introduced. This applies to all airports, including Heathrow and London City.
- An end to night flights between 11pm and 6am, regardless of whether a 3rd runway is built.
- An end to the westerly bias that sees Heathrow and London City operations over London at the same time as LCY do not operate a bias. This would create a fairer distribution of air traffic, which can be unbroken over south east and east London for 17 hours a day. 70% of the time already sees westerly operations overflying London.
- An increase in altitude to 6,000 feet of planes joining the descent path into Heathrow over London to reduce noise disturbance.
- Aircraft noise reduction must be a factor for all aircraft flying at under 6,000 feet.
- A ban on the noisiest aircraft using Heathrow, with strong financial incentives for airlines to invest in newer, quieter aircraft.
- Absolute transparency and full community consultation in relation to any proposed changes to aircraft movements.
- Full compliance with rulings from the Independent Noise Authority.
- An extension of insulation and glazing programmes to residents affected by aircraft noise beyond the current 69+Laeq noise contour across the east of London
- End use of the average 57 Leq* noise measurement approach, and use the 55 Lden** approach to better reflect the reality of disturbance by planes across London.
**Lden is the day-evening-night weighted measurement over the 24 hour period, with a 10 dB penalty added to the levels between 23.00 and 07.00 hours and a 5 dB penalty added to the levels between 19.00 and 23.00 hours to reflect people’s extra sensitivity to noise during the night and the evening.