Friday, 14 January 2011

Airplane noise

Have your say in the Future Airspace review

Below are some of the actions you can take to influence future airspace arrangements. It is necessary to understand that the adverse noise environment made by Heathrow arrivals is a result of concentrating these flights along a narrow corridor – and that there is no reason why this cannot change.
Why airplane noise has become so bad: The reason aircraft noise has become so bad is because there has been a significant and adverse increase over the past 10/15 years in the number of airplanes flying over central/south London. This is a direct result of a deliberate policy to concentrate the arrivals airplanes bound for Heathrow over narrow corridors. Arrivals are now beginning their alignment with the runways 30 miles away from Heathrow in Hackney and the East End, and overflying central/south London including Greenwich, Southwark, Westminster, Pimlico, Vauxhall, Kennington, Clapham and Chelsea. It is this concentration, and the resulting numbers of flights over a restricted area, which has caused the airplanes to become such a noise problem. The situation is described on the HACAN website at
In Vauxhall, for instance, 40 planes an hour have been recorded in one fixed spot. This concentration is not necessary: flights used to be more dispersed 20 years ago and can be so again – reducing the noise for everyone so that it is below the annoyance threshold. With dispersion or route alternations for flight arrivals everyone would get periods of respite and the burden of noise could be spread sufficiently thinly as to no longer cause annoyance. A more equitable and just arrangement for arrivals is both viable and possible.
The Civil Aviation Authority (The CAA) is currently drafting airspace policy for the next 20 years. You can have your say. You can view the consultation documents on the HACAN website. Most importantly, they acknowledge for the first time that noise may be an issue outside the vicinity of Heathrow on the arrivals flight path. You can influence the outcome of the new policy.
You can influence the outcome of the new policy:
1. Write to the CAA, telling them the area you live in and describing how the noise of airplanes affects you. Ask for a more equitable and just arrangement for arrivals at Heathrow and City airports in Future Airspace arrangements. Write to: or send your letter to Policy Coordinator, Directorate of Airspace Policy, CAA House, 45-59 Kingsway, London WC2B 6TE
2. Become a member of HACAN (if you are not already a member), which is dedicated to reducing the impact of the noise from Heathrow and City airplanes. By becoming a member of HACAN you strengthen its hand (it’s only £13.00 p.a.). The more members it has who do not live in the vicinity of Heathrow but are nonetheless adversely affected by the noise of arriving aircraft, the more weight HACAN’s arguments will bear with politicians and policy makers. Visit HACAN’s website at, and the membership tab is on the left hand side of the home page.
• To date HACAN has commissioned the Vauxhall video mentioned above. It has also commissioned a photograph to show the number of airplanes flying over a single location in Vauxhall. The photograph is shown below.
• In addition, HACAN has commissioned a report from the Aviation Environment Federation to look at the concentration of arrivals and recommend viable changes or alternatives. This report can be seen
3. Write to your MP: not just to complain but also to ask what he/she is doing about the getting the noise burden more equally shared over London. You can find your MP’s email address at
4. To get sufficient momentum, anybody who is directly affected or has experienced the noise while in your area, should take action. So please pass this email on to any neighbours, friends or relatives.

You can find more information on the HACAN website at