Dr Lee, MP for Bracknell, and I met with representatives of Heathrow airport on Wednesday 18th March to discuss airport noise.
We had asked for the meeting on discovering that changes were made to flight routes last year without telling the local community. Readers of this site will know that I and others challenged the airport when it was conducting experiments with new routes last autumn. The airport accepted that these trial routes were thought too noisy by many of us and ended the trials early. However, noise levels still seemed different. Heathrow denied there had been any other changes.
They now inform us that NATs did indeed make operational changes last year which concentrate more flights over Bracknell and Wokingham during easterly operations. The airport apologised again, but said they did not know of this change. Apparently it is an operational change for safety reasons which NATs may do without consultation.
Dr Lee and I pressed the airport to do more to control noise. I raised the following issues
1. Can very early arrivals be delayed to a more civilised hour ? A first flight can come at 4.30am, though outbound flights start at 6am.
2.Can airlines be encouraged or made to use quieter planes for the early or late flights?
3. Can plans be advanced to get planes to climb higher sooner, or descend on steeper paths, to cut noise further from the airport?
4. Can more incentives be introduced to encourage use of quieter planes by airlines?
5. What action is taken to deal with poor flying by the occasional pilot who uses too much thrust/airbraking/banking and turning in a way which increases noise?
I was told work was going on with all of these matters. I asked for a report on what we should expect by way of improvement.