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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Independent CAA modelling shows more than 300,000 could be taken out of Heathrow noise footprint with a third runway

Heathrow has today published independent CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) analysis on the number of 
displaymediapeople affected by aircraft noise with a third runway.

Using the Mayor of London’s preferred 55 dB Lden measure for noise at least 199,550, and potentially as many as 325,950 will be taken out of Heathrow’s noise footprint, according to the CAA forecast. The data confirms that between 34,450 and 49,550 fewer people could be affected by aircraft noise with a third runway in 2040 than today according to the Government’s preferred 57dB LAeq measure of noise. The noise reductions are delivered by a combination of a new runway location, steeper landing approaches and new aircraft technology.

The data forms part of a series of technical annexes that Heathrow is submitting to the Airports Commission and publishing on its website today. The technical submission on noise provides indicative flight path maps which confirm that a reduction in noise and periods of noise respite for local communities are achievable with a third runway. The flight paths show that by 2040 there will be at least 15% fewer people exposed to 57 dB LAeq compared with today. Using 55 dB Lden measure, the London Mayor’s preferred approach, shows at least a 28% reduction in population exposed to noise. Heathrow is not proposing any extra night flights and the plans could reduce the number of night flights on existing flight paths. Residents under existing flight paths could have night flights only every third week rather than every other week today.

The indicative flight paths detailed in the document show that Heathrow would be able to provide periods of respite from noise for all local communities with a third runway. The public consultation that Heathrow held at the start of 2014 showed a strong preference from local communities for runway alternation and noise respite to be maintained. This contrasts with Gatwick’s proposals which would see both its runways operating in ‘mixed mode’, offering no respite from noise for communities under their flight paths. A further consultation on proposed noise mitigation and compensation for local communities will be launched in a few weeks’ time.

The flight paths shown in the technical document are illustrative only and do not represent the final flight paths that would be used if a third runway was given the go ahead by Government. The final flight paths would be subject to more detailed working with NATS and comprehensive consultation with local communities. The flight paths have been developed to test Heathrow’s noise reduction assumptions and to prove that it would be possible to operate all runways while maintaining the runway alternation that delivers noise respite for local communities.

Matt Gorman, Heathrow Sustainability Director said:

“The CAA’s modelling shows that Heathrow can reduce aircraft noise while delivering the long-haul flights that Britain needs to prosper in a global economy.”

“As we have seen recently with the significant opposition to the changes to flight paths at Gatwick, any decision on the location of new flight paths will be difficult. While some people could experience more noise, others who are under existing flight paths in places like Richmond could experience less noise than today. The flight paths that we are publishing are indicative only and will be the subject of extensive debate and consultation if Government approves a third runway.”

Heathrow is committed to publishing all of its submissions to the Airports Commission so that the information available to the Commission is also available to local residents who would be affected by the proposals. In total, Heathrow has now made available on its website more than 3,000 pages of evidence and information about its proposals for anyone to scrutinise. By contrast, Gatwick has kept its submission to the Airports Commission secret.

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