Heathrow night flight trial will end in March

Cllr Darren Johnson writes:

I am writing to update you on the issue of early morning flights over Brockley following the public meeting on aircraft noise in New Cross on Friday. I attended this along with a number of local residents and we heard from representatives of both Heathrow Airport and HACAN, the campaign group on aircraft noise.

Heathrow have confirmed that the so-called “Respite Trial” that has inconvenienced so many local; residents in recent months WILL come to an end on 31st March. The original thinking behind the trial was to give respite from noise to certain communities on alternate weeks. However, the Heathrow representative confirmed it had caused particular problems for areas like Brockley and Greenwich which have been getting disturbed from all 16 of Heathrow’s early morning flights between 4.30am and 6am throughout the trial, without any respite.

On behalf of residents, should any future “Respite Trials” be held, I sought assurances from Heathrow on the following:

- Firstly, that proper modelling be undertaken beforehand so Heathrow and Air Traffic Control have a clear indication of the likely impact on different communities,  and there aren’t “unintended consequences” as there have been for the people of Brockley and Greenwich

- Secondly, that there should be proper engagement with local community groups, residents and elected representatives in the areas likely to be affected prior to any trail being adopted.

I am pleased to say in that the Heathrow representative assured me that both of these points would be taken on board should there be any future trials. I would also like to reiterate my complete opposition to night flights and my support for HACAN’s goal of a complete ban on flights before 6am. In the meantime the early morning flight patterns will revert to the way they were at the end of this month so Brockley residents should be experiencing far less disruption from 31 March.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any further queries.


Sleepless in Brockley said...

Great news! I hope we get some relief soon (though the last few weeks of easterly winds has been blissful)... the last year has been horrendous in Brockley for aircraft noise.

Brockley Jon said...

Someone who understands this better than me, please remind me - where do they now revert to? Do they just get spread out across the South East?

Guest said...

 Yeah, they will be spread out across the South East. For the trials they were all channeled over Brockley. (This is only for the early morning flights (pre 6am), the other all-day flights we get will remain the same).

Tracker Addict said...

If the flights go back to the way they were before the trial, then they can join their final approach to Heathrow at any point from 10 miles out from Heathrow (all night flights must join by 10 miles out). However, before the trial most flights also joined their final approach from the north, whereas during the trial many more joined from the south. So if flights truly revert to the pre-trial pattern, they will go back to being spread out much more across the north than the south (east). 

Also, thanks to Darren, Elise and many others for helping to make this happen. 

Saul Gainford said...

The issue with the day and evening flights hasn't been addressed. Probably won't be apparant to most residents until summer when windows are open and people sre in the garden. Heathrow have ignord my complaints as they are only prepared to acknowledge the early morning respite scheme.

Mark said...

Jus emailed BAA regarding flights. Last few weeks have been mercifully quiet but don't know if that's due to flight plans or Easterly wind direction.

I live on Drakefell Road and it seems that flights converge there from all directions, all day every day, it's horrific and drives me nuts. fingers crossed people will take notice and spread the noise around so it's not just here

Toner said...

It would seem the trial is not yet over, or a new one has started. I have been listening to early morning flights pass over Malpas Road from 4.30am today, every five to ten minutes. Has anyone been informed of the decision to start these early morning flights again?

Sleepless in Greenwich said...

I am pleased to here that others also think that the trial has not stopped because I am constantly aware of the noise. I am awake at 4.30am every morning, and no earphones have helped.

I have been monitoring flight paths on Heathrow's website for the past month, and almost all of the 17 early morning flights are directly flying over Greenwich and Brockley, which explains the contact aircraft noise.

I contacted BAA seeking an explanation as to why there has been a change in flight paths, but they say that there has been no change since last year. I asked them for data for flight paths for the same month last year for contrast to prove that more flights are being directed over South London, but they say they can't share it with the public.

Given this, it is hard to prove that they have changed flight paths, and therefore seek an explanation as to why.

Perhaps we should file a Freedom to Information request to get this data. If anyone knows on how to do this then that'd be great.

Bobblekin said...

Contact your local MP/councillor. BAA only answer to the exact question and they will not give you aggregate data over a number of years.

I think what has happened is that Controlled Descent Approaches CDAs have increased over the years. This means aircraft need to join the approach further out to the East than they used to. The reason BAA do this is it takes people out of the decibel limits further off to the West as this is the statistic they are measured on. A cynic would say that once they get their numbers down it will open the door to a third runway.

The politicians in South East London have really dropped the ball on this issue. Although the noise you are suffering is very bad does not have to be measured in the "official" statistics that BAA is measured on.

Our politicians (Mayor Bullock in particular) need to (1) get the data that measures the impact to SE london over the last 5-10 years and (2) get a new criteria for measuring noise impact.

South East London suffers continuous overflights for very long periods most days (the wind blows west 70% of the time). But because the sound isn't loud enough to blow your windows out no one is measuring that or controlling it.

Buzzing Brockley said...

I am constantly bothered by the all-day flights too... is there nothing we can do about this except to accept it? I've emailed MPs and get no response. Heathrow just say we should expect planes over the area. It's really shocking.

Sleepless in Greenwich said...


After seeing your comment, I had requested for data to show heights of aircrafts as they land into London. They have sent me height maps of aircrafts landing into London on 4 July 2012 and 4 July 2013 for comparison, I'd happy to post these here, if possible.

It shows some differences, but only at the margins. So for example, I think Greenwich now faces more lower flying aircraft, but not tremendously more.

Also, I wonder whether the heights brackets used by them obscure the level at which sound becomes too loud? So they have two levels: 2000-3000 and 3000-5000, I wonder if 3100 is the level at which aircraft sound becomes too loud, but since it is in the 3000-5000 grouping, one can't see it in the chart.

Brockley Nick said...

Yes, please send me what you have nick.barron@gmail.com


Sleepless in Greenwich said...

Hi Nick,

I think I sent it to you the other day, did you get the maps?

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