Plans to expand Heathrow and what it might mean for West Ealing

Heathrow’s proposals to expand

Heathrow has been in the news a lot recently proposing a third and possibly fourth new runway. The proposals are being considered as part of the Davies Commission set up by the Government to examine whether and where additional airport capacity is needed in the UK .

Heathrow has outlined three potential sites for runways to the north, northwest and southwest of existing operations. If the go ahead is given:

– the number of Heathrow flights, currently capped at 480,000 a year, will rise to about 750,000 with a third runway and about 1million with a fourth

– passenger numbers will increase from 70 million a year to 130 million with just a third runway


What does this mean for West Ealing ? 

The proposals are sketchy. Flight paths are not yet known in detail but, given the potential doubling of flights, it is questionable to say the least to suggest (as Heathrow does) that the noise climate will improve. Their calculations are based on a highly contentious method of measuring noise which does not take into account the frequency of planes overhead. 

Heathrow’s proposals to transport the millions more passengers to and from the airport are also thin on detail and fail to acknowledge the current infrastructure is creaking under existing passenger numbers. Crossrail is a key component of their plans so don’t bank on that fast service to central London, you might not be able to fit on the trains by the time they get to West Ealing .


What can you do if you oppose these plans?

– Write to the Davies Commission copied to your MP urging them not to opt for expansion at Heathrow. It is always good to describe how you personally have been affected by aircraft noise. 725,000 people already live under Heathrow flight paths, this is 28% of all people disturbed by aircraft noise across Europe . Building a new runway at Heathrow will exacerbate existing problems of noise, congestion and pollution. The Aviation Environment Federation in its submission to the Davies Commission described how forecasts of passenger demand have been too high since 2000 and the case for additional runways needs to be balanced against other factors such as noise disturbance, pollution etc.

– If you have been disturbed by noise, it is important that you contact Heathrow with the details of the date and time of the incident. The number of complaints they receive about noise is one of their key performance indicators. 


Further information 

Evening Standard’s summary of the proposals: Super Heathrow: airport unveils 4-runway plan

Heathrow’s proposals to the Davies Commission: A new approach

HACAN actively campaigns against the expansion of Heathrow and the reduction of aircraft noise. The website contains many useful documents including its latest briefing on Heathrow and Noise the latest on noise


What to look out for next 

A consultation on night flights is due to take place in Autumn. We need to urge the Government to stop all flights after 11pm (the last take-off from Heathrow is scheduled for 10.45pm but you wouldn’t guess that from the number of flights flying over West Ealing up to and beyond 11.30pm) and before 6am. 


One Reply to “Plans to expand Heathrow and what it might mean for West Ealing”

  1. Thanks for this, David. All depends on the Davies commission really – I might try to find out more about it/them. I’ve certainly noticed late night flights lately; I guess due to the holiday trade. What puzzles me is how the so-called ‘rules’ are administered and monitored, and by whom. Gill

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