Heathrow joins forces with noise campaign group on noise respite trial

2012-12-05 — /travelprnews.com/ — Heathrow, in partnership with HACAN, NATS and British Airways, has launched a new trial to test whether creating ‘noise relief zones’ for communities under the flight path could ease disturbance for residents.

On average, around seventeen flights arrive at Heathrow each morning between 04.30 and 06.00. As air traffic controllers route these aircraft through the sky to achieve the safest and most efficient arrival routes, the flight paths are spread across areas of London – there is no set route. The Early Morning Noise Respite Trial will explore whether the flights – particularly at the beginning of their approach into Heathrow – can be routed in a more defined way, offering more predictability for residents living below.

The trial will work by defining two zones over each trial area that will be ‘active’ sequentially week by week. Pilots will be directed by air traffic control to avoid flying through whichever zone is active for that particular week. The aim is to provide communities with definite periods of relief from early morning aircraft noise.

Matt Gorman, Heathrow’s Sustainability Director said: ‘We are very pleased to be working with HACAN to find innovative solutions to minimise the impact of aircraft noise on residents. Working with the air traffic controllers at NATS, we are testing whether aircraft can be directed around specified areas to provide some respite and certainty for local residents. A relatively small adjustment in terms of the flight path can have a big impact on those living underneath it.’

HACAN chair John Stewart said: ‘Periods of respite are very important for residents under the flight paths. We welcome this initiative’.

Ian Jopson, NATS Head of Environmental and Community Affairs, said: ‘NATS has unparalleled expertise in designing and managing airspace. We are delighted to have been able to use that expertise to work in collaboration with Heathrow, British Airways and HACAN to explore opportunities to improve the day to day experience of people living under the Heathrow flightpaths.’

Whether the aircraft land from the east or west depends on the wind direction so there will be four trial areas, two to the east of the airport and two to the west (please see attached map for more details). These areas cover places such as Vauxhall, Wandsworth, Battersea, Clapham Common, Westminster, Bermondsey and Streatham to the east of the airport, and Binfield, Reading, Purley on Thames and Winnersh to the west of the airport.

The trial began on 5th November and will run for five months.

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Notes to editors

For further information, please contact the Heathrow media centre on 020 8745 7224 or email heathrowmediacentre@baa.com

Heathrow will be visiting locations affected by this trial over the next few weeks to explain more about the trial:

· Tuesday 4th December: event organised by HACAN at 7.30pm in Toynbee Hall, 28 Commercial St, London E1 6LS.

· Tuesday 11th December: event organised by HACAN at 7.30pm in St Francis de Salle Church Hall, 26 Larkhall Lane, SW4 6SP.

Further information about Heathrow’s approach to managing the impact of aircraft noise can be found at www.heathrowairport.com/noise


HACAN ClearSkies is the largest voluntary organisation in Europe dedicated to campaign on behalf of those who suffer because of aircraft flight paths.

About NATS

NATS is the UK’s leading provider of Air Traffic Management services, handling 2.2 million flights in 2011/12, covering the UK and eastern North Atlantic.

About British Airways

British Airways is a full service global airline, offering year-round low fares with an extensive global route network flying to and from centrally-located airports.
Contact information

Heathrow Airport media centre
Telephone +44 (0)20 8745 7224
Email heathrowmediacentre@baa.com

Flight paths during the trial

Flight paths during the trial