MPs Munira Wilson, Sarah Olney and Ed Davey – along with the Leader of Richmond Borough Gareth Roberts and other Liberal Democrat representatives from across London – have written to Heathrow Airport to raise concerns about its Noise Action Plan (NAP).

The letter was sent in response to the public consultation on the Noise Action Plan, which closes today. You can read the full text of the letter here.

Munira said:

“Countless residents have told me that they’ve lived in the area for decades and have never experienced noise as bad as it has been recently. People are struggling to work, study and sleep, and they’re really worried about the effect on human health and the environment.

“My Liberal Democrat colleagues and I are demanding that Heathrow explain how far the Noise Action Plan will go to alleviate these issues, and how planned changes under the banner of ‘airspace modernisation’ will impact overflown communities in our area.”

In the letter, Munira and the other signatories welcomed some of the points in the Noise Action plan as a step in the right direction. However, they called for Heathrow to go further on issues such as night flights, insulation, introducing easterly alternation and granting residents an independent means of redress. Specific asks include:

  • Noise impacts of airspace modernisation: Asked Heathrow to provide detail of the work it is currently undertaking on noise pollution that takes airspace modernisation into account, as well as an indication of when a further consultation on the new flight paths and their noise impact will be launched.
  • Night flights: Asked Heathrow to commit to extending its voluntary night flight ban to ensure a full eight hours of uninterrupted sleep for residents in Southwest London.
  • Noise Insulation Schemes: Asked Heathrow to confirm the areas eligible for its forthcoming Noise Insulation Schemes before the end of this consultation, or if that is not possible, to launch a further consultation specifically on the NIS to seek residents’ views before their implementation in 2024.
  • Easterly operations: Asked Heathrow for a cast-iron guarantee that easterly alternation will indeed be implemented on schedule and not derailed again by plans for a third runway.
  • An independent noise ombudsman: Asked Heathrow to publicly support the campaign for greater transparency and access to redress through the reinstatement of an independent noise ombudsman.
  • Landing charges: Asked for all income raised through landing charges to be earmarked for reinvestment in measures to reduce noise pollution.
  • Steeper climb gradients for departures: Asked for regular updates on the progress of this study following on from DET09 Steeper Departure Trial report which found that increasing gradients to 5% did reduce the impact of noise under flight paths.

Munira added:

“My inbox is overflowing with messages from residents who are suffering the effects of relentless aircraft noise. We know that noise pollution from aircraft causes disrupted sleep and impacts on the mental and physical health of local residents, so it’s absolutely crucial that improvements be made.”