Managing impacts

Aircraft noise & mitigation

A new runway will lead to some changes to flight paths around Heathrow.

In one of our technical submissions to the Airports Commission, we set out a range of options for what flight paths might look like in the future – the report can be found here.

There are many different ways that flight paths can be designed – depending on whether they are being designed to minimise the total number of people overflown, the number of new people being overflown, or to provide respite and share the noise between communities.

Nothing has been decided.

Any changes to flight paths would require extensive public consultation and will be confirmed through an airspace change process which is determined by the Civil Aviation Authority.   The airspace change process is separate from the development consent regime for the third runway project and it is likely that final flight path designs will happen after obtaining development consent for the third runway.

As far as possible, we intend to integrate the consultations for our development consent application and airspace changes required for a third runway. We plan to undertake the first stage of consultation later this year. We are confident that when we come to submit our development consent application in 2019, it will give an indication of where flight paths and their associated noise impacts are likely to be.

Because of the extensive consultation process required, it is not possible to confirm right now where new flight paths will be. We understand that means there will be a period of uncertainty for those living around Heathrow, however it’s important that residents’ views are taken into account when planning airspace.

We have developed our plans so that with expansion, the number of people impacted by aircraft noise can be reduced.

This can be achieved by:

  • Using quieter aircraft – by the time the third runway opens, 90 per cent of aircraft at Heathrow are expected to be next generation aircraft like the Boeing 787;
  • Keeping planes coming into land higher for longer;
  • Alternating arrival and departure flight paths so that residents experience periods of time without overflight;
  • Maintaining runway alternation for communities living under the final approach paths;
  • Ending routine aircraft stacking;
  • Increasing the time without scheduled night flights from 5 hours today to 6.5 hours with expansion.

You can find out more about these measures here.

Compensation and mitigation

While the total number of people within Heathrow’s noise footprint will reduce with expansion, there will be communities under the flight paths of the new runway who will experience aircraft noise for the first time.

We have announced plans to compensate and mitigate the impacts for people most impacted by aircraft noise.

For those people living in very close proximity to an expanded Heathrow, we have set out our proposed wider property offer scheme that gives people the choice to either remain in their home or sell their home to us. For those choosing to stay, Heathrow will insulate their home against aircraft noise. The £700m noise mitigation scheme would also extend beyond this zone and would cover an area based on an accepted noise contour and includes over 160,000 homes.

There is more about our compensation and mitigation plans here.

Want to know more?

Click here to find answers to some of the most commonly asked questions we get asked about the property compensation and noise mitigation schemes.

If you still have questions or want more information, you can contact our team.

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