John Stewart of HACAN (Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise) spoke at Hanwell Community Forum this week. He outlined the many and various changes that are likely to subject Ealing to more noise and air pollution from Heathrow.
– the interim report of the Airports Commission outlined 3 options for expanding airport capacity: two possible sites for a new runway at Heathrow and one at Gatwick. It is widely rumoured that Heathrow is the favoured option. There will be a major campaign against Heathrow expansion over the coming 18 months. The Airports Commission submits its final report in summer 2015 but the final decision about expansion will remain with the Government of the day.
– a government consultation on night flights wanting to continue the current regime whereby flights can take off till 11.30pm and beyond. The hints at improvement given early last year have not materialised despite increasing evidence linking aircraft noise to coronary heart disease and other illness.
The deadline for responses is 31 January:
– a proposal by Heathrow to remove westerly preference. Planes usually land into the wind. As the prevailing wind is westerly, this means Heathrow planes land over Hounslow and take-off over Windsor. The westerly preference rule means that this pattern is preserved for easterly winds with a speed of up to 5 knots so only strong easterly winds result in Ealing being overflown. If Heathrow’s proposal is accepted, the number of days on which Ealing is overflown will increase.
– Heathrow also intends to test out whether easterly preference should be exercised for night flights.This would mean that planes fly over Ealing when there is an easterly wind (as now) and when there is a light westerly wind.
As above, this would increase the number of nights that planes fly over Ealing.
If you have concerns about any or all of these changes:
– write to your councillors (Ealing Council has not been active in lobbying against Heathrow expansion), your MP and Heathrow (email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
– join HACAN which represents overflown communities: www.hacan.org.uk/