Night flight

Noise pollution campaigner Elise has been back in touch with an update about the problem of Heathrow night flights passing over Brockley as a result of a policy being trialed at the moment, which involves aircraft avoiding areas to the north and south of Brockley in the early morning (the issue is discussed in some detail here). She writes:

I have been speaking with BAA again today. They tell me that they “have received an increase in complaints from the Brockley area”. Thank you to those of you who have taken them time – please continue to do so. It is not too late yet! 

BAA also said “the changeover day occured last Sunday night/Monday morning, however this week aircraft have been using the Northern Runway (27R/09L), which means Brockley should be quieter in the early morning this week and next. It would be helpful if you could let me know if you notice a difference.” 

We can continue to log complaints by calling this number: 0800 344844 or at and including your name, address and postcode for the complaint to be valid.

Also, Cllr Darren Johnson has tabled a formal question to the Mayor of London, so the issue is getting more exposure:

"I have had numerous complaints from residents of SE4 about a significant increase in aircraft noise and early morning flights since Heathrow/BAA began a trial scheme of changed flight paths. Are you monitoring the impact of this trial and will you be making representations to BAA and the relevant bodies?"

Brockley resident JPM has also been speaking to the press office at BAA, the parent company of Heathrow, which comments:

The trial currently taking place has been developed with HACAN – which is dedicated to campaigning on behalf of those who live under aircraft flight paths - in response to feedback from communities. 

We are keen to listen to communities, including residents of Brockley, to hear what impact the trial is having which is why we welcome feedback. All feedback is logged and recorded.

If you want to know which flights are passing over your house, click here for a tracking service. If you type in your street name, and a specific date and time, it will show an animated view of which flights were arriving/ departing at that time. If you hover the cursor over each flight, it will give you the flight number, the origin, and the height at which it was flying.


Anon said...

The wind is Easterly this week so we shouldn't hear any flights at all ... Unfortunately most of the time it's westerly so we get them all the time over Brockley.

inrtigued observer said...

looking at that tracker I don't think anyone in the area's got cause to complain over the last few days.

Good website

Tim said...

I just think it's rather narrow minded to live in Zone 2 and moan about flights, when we are far better off than many other parts of London.  I'd feel a lot more comfortable about this whole thread if people were proactively talking about a solution.  To my mind that is the airport in Kent:

a) It's where it logically should be were you starting from scratch.
b) People talk about jobs being lost and businesses being hurt.  But on a net basis, more jobs would be created if the airport led to more flights and more inflows to the British economy.  There would be very many years for people and businesses to transition.  At the end of the day, you have to worry about what is best in aggregate, not individual sets of people.
c) Any 3rd runway is just a temporary solution.
d) Anyone that says Britain doesn't need more flight capacity doesn't live in the real world or is happy for Britain to fall behind economically.
e) Yes the environment is a worry, but planes are becoming far more environmentally friendly, and any solution has to be on a global level, rather than one country weighing itself down.

Aricana said...

I complained a few weeks back as felt exhausted after regularly being woken at 4.45am, and i have double glazed windows.

Not everyone knows about the trial or this website so I do think it would be worth leafleting. Someone said that this would be happening but I 't seen anything.

Anon said...

Is this really just related to the trial though? We get noisy aircraft over Brockley all the time, not just in this "trial" period...

Airbus said...

This smacks of a Daily Mail campaign to get people to complain about 'offensive' TV shows that they never saw. I know a lot of people in Brockley and not a single one has mentioned this. But yeah lets close Heathrow because you have ears as sensitive as a dog.

anonymous said...

Clearly not everyone in the community feels the way you do, Airbus, and a lot of people are legitimately disturbed by this constant noise

Between Catford and Lewisham said...

I've been woken up pretty regularly at 4.30 am for a couple of months now. I've watched the flights come in one after the other every couple of minutes or so between 4.30 and 5.00 am; I've checked the flight tracker and the path passes over a mile north of my flat. I haven't been bothered enough by the noise to complain (early to bed and early to rise) but anyone living directly under it certainly has a right to.   At that time of the morning, with virtually no other noise to mask it, it must be pretty impossible to ignore.  It surely must be possible to vary the path so that a narrow band of London doesn't get ALL the noise.

TW said...

Re: Tim, I agree with all your points, except about locating an airport in Kent (I assume you mean the "Estury" airport):

Due to the prevailing winds travelling from a (south-)westerly direction, the runways are aligned in this direction to reduce the risk to aircraft, since they are able to land and take off at a lower ground speed.    
Therefore, the best location for noise reduction in London will be North or South of the city.  Putting an airport in the Thames Estuary could potentially increase noise in SE London, as the aircraft would now be passing over when taking off, which is the loudest phase of flight.  

This is why you never hear anyone complaining about the noise from Gatwick, which is approximately the same distance as Heathrow from Brockley (35 vs 29 km respectively).  

Having said that, as much as I dislike Heathrow airport, I reserve a special hatred for travelling from Gatwick, so wouldn't for one minute suggest making that the primary hub for London....

TW said...


Note to self: Log-in next time

Aricana said...

That's ridiculous! If you're not affected or bothered by it then that's fine. I never used to wake at 4.30am and don't want to have to do so.   Once awake it's almost impossible to go back to sleep because of the short intervals between the planes flying overhead. It feels like hell some mornings!  

Tracker Addict said...

Thanks for the update. I've also contacted BAA, HACAN and others to register a complaint, and to ask for answers to a couple of specific questions. E.g., why are there more flights over Brockley all day even though the trial is supposed to be about 'early morning' flights only? And what will happen at the end of the trial period? No answers yet, so we'll see what they say (if anything). 

I've also realised that there seems to be no public indication of how the trial will be evaluated. Has Elise (or anyone else) been able to find out what the evaluation process involves, or what BAA, HACAN or others consider 'success' to be? 

roysavage said...

why are they flying so low is my problem

E Parkin said...

Hi, I haven't been able to find this out either. If you haven't already, pl contact councillor Johnson who can add this to his question. After 2 blissfully quiet weeks (remember the trial is on an undefined rota!) the noise started again this weekend and is again unbearable (to many of us). To those who are not suffering, I am delighted for you; for those who are suffering, pl register your complaint! If you are suffering and you are willing to leaflet your street, pl contact me via Brockley John and I will get you some leaflets. Thanks

guest said...

The reason we had 2 quiet weeks was because the wind was going in the other direction - we weren't given a break. If this comes in permanently we'll have this all the time when we get westerly winds (i.e. at least 70% of the year!)

Parkin said...

Hi, wind direction may be a contributor but over the last 2 weeks the approach route was changed to northerly so the flights were not coming in over us either.

Parkin said...

Hi, we have leaflets ready but need help distribute them. If you'd be able to help distribute in your street, pl let me know. Thanks

confused said...

Hi - can you give me some contact details for the leaflets please? I will be happy to distribute in my area.

The current problem may well be more complex then the PR that BAA are releasing. Principally the massive curve ball of announcing all this as an "early morning respite scheme" which actually masks the much greater yet unpublicised change which is the new single narrow band flight path that feeds Heathrow and "collects" flights over Lewisham.  

(1) the route cause of the increase is the narrow band flight path that feeds Heathrow. The top of the funnel that feeds this band is situated over Lewisham/Brockley area. This means a greater volme of air traffic concentrating over a smaller area than ever before.  

(2) The "respite" zones is a red herring really because this is set up as a consequence of the new narrow band that feeds Heathrow.

(3) There are more early morning flights as a consequence of the narrow band - ie there is a smaller area to accomodate all those early morning flights. Again the respite zone is a conseqence of (1) and not in spite of this.  

(4) under a seperate scheme called "operational freedoms" Heathrow can at certain times operate both runways thereby increasing the volume of air traffic being funneled down the new narrow band flight path.

The lower altitude flights may well becase of the greater concentration of flights or simply to lower the noise pollution for the wider area outside of the narrow band flight path. I don't know but there are certainly more lower altitude flights than before.

Getting any hard data on this is very difficult. Flight tracker only replays an hour period at a time. You have to manually count the traffic and compare to prior period. Then there are all the variables - wind direction, total flights scheduled etc.

But there is a definite increase no matter how BAA describe the changes in their PR. It seems to be affecting communities in west london as well.

The disadvantage we have is that this is a radical change of flight path that affects communities that have never taken this volume of air traffic before. Lots of people won't even have noticed yet or realised that this is a permanent re routing of air traffice over our area.

I am sure that this is an effort by BAA to concentrate flight noise to a smaller, unprepared popluation in London and give them a respite zone as alleviation to a problem they never had before. Anything to open teh door to the third runway.

I think I am right in saying that BAA is a private company, with international shareholders who have no interest in Londoners. I also think I am right in saying that over a third of passengers flying into heathrow fly straight back out and do not help the economy of London in anyway other than food and drink whilst waiting for their onward connections.


E Parkin said...

thank you so much for the info and your offer to help.  Pl email

Tracker Addict said...

Everything 'Confused' says seems right to me, alas. 

Elise: I'm happy to help and I've emailed you. Thanks for all your work. I'm away at the moment so contact is patchy, but will be back soonish.  

stasaph said...

From the research I have done 'confused' is correct, unfortunately. We really need to get onto this - if it becomes permanent it's going to take a very long time (if ever) to fix it and get some peace and quiet again.

thomas steeve said...

I'm happy to help and I've emailed you. Thanks for all your work. I'm away at the moment so contact is patchy,


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MrD said...

This is the complaint email i just sent to BAA:

I am writing this email to complain about the aircraft noise over Brockley. It is truly unbearable. They fly too low directly over or very near to our house. It’s effecting our sleep and that of our children let alone out standard of living. I am starting to hear aircraft noise even when they are not there (when I am not in Brockley). This has to stop. If I wanted to hear aircraft all the time I would have moved to

The area of Brockley we live in is a conservation area, the area should be conserved for many positive things, not for the use of aircraft. Why the planes cannot circle and fly over other areas besides the most densely populated area of the Uk I do not know. Moving the flight paths to rural locations and over the English Channel is surely an obvious solution and not over central and SE

Nick said...

Does anyone know if the early morning trial has started again? I was woken up at 4.30 by a big jumbo which is bl**dy early!

anotherearlyriser said...

It seems like we're on the main flight path again, a lot of people have been complaining about this ... ... email and Elise will be able to give you more info and tell you where to add your complaint (the more we get the better)

Lewisham Resident said...

This was mentioned on BBC News today (14th August) that the trialling of new flight paths had specifically seen an increase over Brockley South London

Peggy said...

Is it just me or is there a big increase in flights during the day and they seem to flying pretty low too. I even see which airline it is!
I'm not sure if I am going mad.

brockleynoise said...

Yes! Please email - there are a lot of us complaining about this at the moment, it would be good to have another person on board ... it might actually make something happen.

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