Local community
Local community

Noise mitigation scheme

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

Heathrow Airport, British Airways A380 seen taking off from northern runway, August 2015.

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.

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 next Summer (2017). 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

With our expansion plans 200,000 fewer people are expected to be affected by significant aircraft noise. 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

We have set out proposals to compensate residents most impacted by aircraft noise.

The £700m noise mitigation scheme proposes two zones: an outer an inner zone based on an accepted noise contour used by the European Union and the Mayor of London.

Residents would be eligible regardless of whether they experience noise under existing flight paths or would be newly affected by noise from the proposed runway.

Under the proposed scheme, homes in the designated zone closest to the airport with higher levels of noise (the inner zone) would have the full costs of their noise insulation covered by the airport. In addition, up to £3,000 in noise insulation would be offered to homes further away from the airport (the outer zone).

A third party assessment, free of cost to homeowners, would be made to determine the extent of each home’s needs within the eligible insulation zones. Our insulation package could include:

  • Acoustic double glazing in windows;
  • Ceiling over boarding in bedrooms; and
  • Loft insulation and ventilation.

The final boundary of the scheme will be dependent on the design of flight paths around an expanded airport. However, all homes within the towns and villages of Wraysbury,Datchet, Sipson, Harmondsworth, Harlington, Colnbrook, Brands Hill and Stanwell Moor would be covered by the scheme.

We would start insulating properties at least one year before operations on the new runway begin. This may be brought forward if we are granted consent to release additional air traffic movements before a third runway opens.

As with our property compensation schemes, the noise mitigation scheme will be consulted upon as part of our application for development consent. This scheme was announced in February 2015 – see the full announcement here.

Want to know more?

Click here to find answers on our new Local Community Information site 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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