HACAN claim would halve respite period for tens of thousands
Tens of thousands of people who currently enjoy a half day’s break from the aircraft noise would see their respite period halved if a third runway went ahead at Heathrow claim campaign group HACAN. The say that many areas of West London would have planes passing overhead at a rate of one every ninety seconds for almost 13 hours a day.
The information is buried in an appendix to a report Heathrow Airport slipped out before the summer holidays. HACAN allege that is shows residents under the southern flight path, over places like Richmond, would only get just over 4 hours break from the noise each day. Currently they enjoy an 8 hour break when the planes switch runways at 3pm.
It would be all change if a third runway were to be built. People living under the current northern flight path would continue to get around 8 hours of respite but this would be off-set for many because they will be able to hear aircraft from one of the two other runways on either side of them.
Heathrow spokesperson denied the claims saying, “It is wrong to suggest most residents would be subject to 13 hours of aircraft noise with a third runway. We submitted a number of options to the Airports Commission, one of which we identified as having clear advantages because of its ability to maintain long periods of respite, whilst reducing the total number of people exposed to noise compared to today. We understand that respite is important to residents and if a third runway is recommended, we plan to consult further with local communities on how it will be delivered.”
HACAN Chair John Stewart said, “The prospect of 13 hour flying is nightmarish. Quite simply, many communities are going to be hammered if a third runway is built.”
Stewart added, “Heathrow Airport hasn’t hidden the information but the fact that it is buried in an appendix shows how reluctant they are to spell out the implications of a new runway.”
Hounslow Labour's Ruth Cadbury "The airport operator has buried this crucial detail deep in an appendix to a report detailing their proposals, yet this detail has massive implications for a large proportion of borough residents".
"Rather than consult us about compensations they are doing, I'd rather the airport came clean about the impact their expansion proposals will have on the communities closest to the airport. Heathrow should be planning its future as a better two-runway airport rather than paying for a third runway that will blight so many lives"
A decision on a third runway will not be taken for at least a year. The next Government will assess the findings of the Airports Commission, to be released in summer 2015, before deciding what to do.
August 6, 2014