Heathrow Noise meeting

Yesterday I convened a meeting with the Chief Executive of NATs and the Chief Executive of Heathrow to discuss increased aircraft noise over Berkshire and North Surrey and the growing number of complaints it is generating.  I was joined by Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, John Howell MP, Adam Afriyie MP and Dr Philip Lee MP whose constituencies are also badly affected.

We explained the problems which have arisen from shifting the Compton Gate and concentrating flights on departure, and the growing noise from low flying planes landing during easterlies.

Heathrow accepted that the Compton Gate route had changed, and pointed out that there has been a traffic increase and more heavy planes flying over our area.

The two authorities promised to do more work on the causes of the disruption, and agreed that some combination of flying higher and flying in quieter ways could help abate the problem.  The MPs pressed for a return to past patterns which had been considerably quieter.

I will post any official minutes which we agree, and will be following up the meeting as we need change.


  1. Tim Henderson
    June 8, 2016

    Martin Rolfe’s blog post on the meeting is at


    I have a problem with “not a change to the route but to the procedures used to direct air traffic along it”. If the planes are consistently flying somewhere different, its a change to the route.

    The CAA weakly argue that they only have a legal function in relation to published airspace changes – but this is the interpretation that they have chosen to make. Lots of us think that the airspace change process should include procedural changes in the vicinity of airports which NATS will record at changes to their internal procedures and the CAA will approve on safety grounds. Proper environmental assessments of the impacts of these changes and consultation with those affected by them should take place before the procedures ae implemented.

  2. Bob Mclellan
    June 8, 2016

    This is an enormous problem and is only the tip of the iceberg. A third runway will add a further 50% plus planes over our heads and the consideration of environmental and noise pollution will continue to be ranked down the priority order in favour of the economic (00ps sorry -airspace efficiency) criteria. Come on local MPs make a bigger fuss and stop this sleepwalking into making the western home counties a noise ghetto!
    I know the 23rd is critical but don’t let the Heathrow decision be buried in the frenzy!

  3. MJ
    June 8, 2016

    After reading Rolfe’s summary it feels like they pulled a fast one using ambiguity to baffle. Tim’s bang on the money in relation to change. If it looks like a change, sounds like a change and lots of people say it’s a change – it’s a change.

    They need to be held accountable, not tickled gently until they squeal for it to stop…which it inevitably does, due to lack of consequences. They should be made to live for a month in an affected area then be prepared to say it’s acceptable. They wouldn’t be able to.

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