Thursday, 14 February 2013

No peace this year – Heathrow’s new night flight arrangements


Some residents of Richmond upon Thames and surrounding boroughs are threatened with a year of even more unacceptable disruption as Heathrow has announced a break in the current night flight alternation scheme.
Due to works to resurface the southern runway, all night flights will be landing on the northern runway – with their flight paths bringing them in directly over Kew and Barnes – for most of the summer. This means that instead of the current night flight alternation patterns, where Heathrow tries to land night time arrivals on one runway one week and the other the next, many residents will now get almost no let-up from the noise of aircraft landings at night. Those under the southern flight path will gain some rest, but should not be fooled into thinking that the night noise menace has gone away.
Lord True, Leader of Richmond Council, said:
“There are currently an average of 16 flights each night between the hours of 11:30pm and 6:00am, and even more coming in 6:00 to 7:00am, interrupting residents sleep and severely effecting people’s quality of life.
“As bad as this is, at least residents are meant to gain periods of valuable respite, when the planes land on the other runway.
“Yet now, Heathrow wants to end this arrangement and take away, for some of our residents, the brief periods of peace and quiet at night that are so valuable to the residents of this borough. Whilst I understand the need to resurface the runways to maintain safety, Heathrow should not put so many people through the ordeal of weeks or months of broken sleep, with 4:30am wake-up calls and insufferable noise. When works are under way, there should be a no more night flights rule on any flight path – and if that means some services will have to be stopped or rescheduled during resurfacing, then that would be the least we should expect of Heathrow’s arrogant management.
“People in west London will not be ‘softened up’ to accept more night flights. Quite the reverse - it will harden our resolve. Any one disturbed by a night flight should protest. The government should put a stop to all night flights at Heathrow, be they on the south runway or the north. 17.5 hours of ceaseless bombardment from this airport is quite enough, without the night time as well.”
On May 16 this year, Richmond Council will be running a referendum-style ballot to give the people of this borough their chance to have a say on the future of Heathrow and to show the Government and the airport how they feel. The ballot will consist of two questions; one asking about residents’ views on the expansion of Heathrow and the other their views on allowing more flights.
“No-one should miss their opportunity to say no to Big Heathrow in that ballot,” added Cllr. True.
For more information on Heathrow and Richmond Council’s stance and campaign, please visit www.richmond.gov.uk/heathrow.
Be sure to register any noise complaints with BAA by emailing noise_complaints@baa.com remembering to copy in heathrow@richmond.co.uk so we can also keep a record.