Heathrow restores the Brockley peace

Heathrow Airport has today confirmed that the report it commissioned to examine the impact of its night flight trials, which have disturbed many Brockley residents' sleep over recent months, recommends that the trial "should not be taken forward in its present form". This should mean quieter nights for this part of London (although have some sympathy for the 100,000 West Londoners that the trial reportedly benefited).

The statement by Heathrow Airport specifically calls out Brockley as an area adversely affected by the trial and a reason why the report recommends that the night flight patterns should cease:

The trial, the first of its kind anywhere in the world, did though have some unforeseen consequences. Some areas, such as Brockley in South East London saw an increase in night flights. Also during the trial aircraft joined the approach paths further from touchdown in order to avoid overflying the exclusion zones. This in turn resulted in the areas between the zones being overflown more during the trial. The Helios report recommends that the trial should not be taken forward in its present form and adds that, in future, pre-trial assessments should be undertaken to predict likely outcomes to better understand the balance of likely the benefits against the unintended negative outcomes.

The fact that Brockley gets a name-check in the statement is a testament to the effectiveness of the campaign, started by Brockley resident Elise Parkin, who used these pages to good effect, collecting evidence and mobilising other residents.

32 comments:

KiwiSteve said...

Thank you Elise!
Does that means the planes won't start at 4.30am and I can stop wearing ear plugs?!!

Ian Convery said...

Never noticed .....

anon said...

Good news, but the noise is still absolutely horrendous lately. Just constant.

Mezzer said...

I was going to say that you'd hardly notice the change. The noise seems to have increased dramatically over the last few years.

Algernonian said...

This is great news. I really hope it makes a difference. I used to live in Kew, right under the flight path and obviously very noisy, every 90 seconds. I couldn't really complain about that, as it's not as if I didn't know it would be noisy. However, I wasn't expecting this level of disruption in SE London. I wake up every morning as the first flight passes over and I struggle to get back to sleep properly.

Gio said...

I like the words "unforeseen consequences". Who - planning this - didn't think that it would disturb sleeping residents at 4.30 in the morning?

Brockley Jon said...

Yes, and that they might have to fly over other areas, perhaps!

badbob said...

Liekwise. Foxes making out is another matter.

Tom said...

I live in central Ladywell and I have noticed the plane noise has increased on a massive scale over the last few months. We now seem to be under the flight path, with planes every 2 minutes or so either flying over the bottom of our street, in the middle or at the top by ladywell road most of which would then go over brockley central or by the cemetary. When I moved here in November 2009 there was very little / no aircraft noise now we are inundated. The aircraft do stop at about 11/11.30pm till 5.30/6am though.

Having been brought up in West London I got used to waking up as if on an aircraft carrier but I moved to Ladywell in the knowledge that there was little or no aircraft noise.

Hannah said...

We recently moved to Ladywell and I've been very aware of the aircraft noise, even compared to our old flat which was at the Lewisham Way end of Tyrwhitt Road - but maybe I've just been noticing it more. Does anyone know whether the cessation of this trial will have an impact on daytime flights over Brockley, or just the night flights?

UB_Rogue said...

Have a look at these maps for 2008, 2011 and 2012: http://www.heathrowairport.com/noise/noise-in-your-area/aircraft-tracking-maps

What this shows is that the vast majority of Heathrow arrivals are "westerly" i.e. flying from east to west. If you watched the recent "Airport Live" series on BBC you'll know this is because the prevailing wind is westerly (from the west) and planes land and take off into the wind. 2008 saw a total of 83% of all flights arrive from our direction. 2011 was 81% and 2012 was 89%. Not all of those will fly over us as some join the landing path later on, but a lot will.

I don't know whether it's just because it's summer and it's been so warm that we have the windows open all the time, but my impression is that we have got more flights recently as well. My vaguely educated guess is that we have got more flights joining the flight path from further out so that the sky over and around Brockley is the "joing point" and the 2013 map will show a heavier "green" concentration over us. Anyone who is interested in seeing how things move and has a smartphone - download Fligthradar24 Pro (costs a couple of quid) from the android/apple app store and then you can watch them all live in real time...might not be able to do anything about them, but at least you can see the plane details, where they've come from and which airline it is so you can aim your curses at the sky more accurately... Most planes are at about 4500ft over us, and it's the smaller ones that are actually louder. Newer, bigger planes like the A380 are actually quieter than the likes of a 737 or an Airbus A319/20/21 as they are more efficient and have been designed to be noise-reducing. Yes, I am a geek about this. I wanted to be a pilot when I was younger.

anon said...

This is good news! I’m still a little confused though. There still seems to be constant plane noise over Brockley from 4.30am to 7am every morning. If anything, it seems to me that this has got worse in the last month or so. Are we expecting a change as a result of this news and if so, does anyone know when this will start?

ArabinClaire said...

Hello. I'm Claire and I'm part of the campaign which Elise started. I live on Arabin Road and I agree that plane noise has got much worse in the last few months. I can confirm that we are not expecting a change in the plane noise as a result of this Heathrow press release. I met with Helios and Heathrow airport several weeks ago, and was told that all flight paths went back to their pre-trial patterns much earlier this year. Obviously this is not the case! We have heard from many residents complaining of increased plane noise in the area. We are currently in touch with local Green councillor Darren Johnson and the chair of HACAN John Stewart to see if we can reduce flights over Brockley. If you are affected, please contact us at brockleynoise@hotmail.co.uk (even if you live in Ladywell!) and join us! We are trying to raise awareness that, even in SE London, plane noise is a major issue.

Tom said...

Thanks Claire, since this exclusion zone test thing took place it seems like someone has decided to shift the flight path and the amount of planes which go over Ladywell and Brockley. I have spoken to Heathrow Noise and they said there had been no change in the flight path and they were surprised I had not noticed the amount of planes overhead before/ notice it more with windows open in Summer.

The flight tracker on the Heathrow noise website only goes back to May, otherwise we could check a year ago and compare with the amount of planes arriving from the West then and now. I dont know if there is any way of getting this info or why they only allow you to view the last 3 months. I am sure other areas are benefiting due to this change and I dont think it is at all fair. I can handle a few planes flying overhead but when they are going over every 2 minutes it ruins your quality of life!

ArabinClaire said...

If you are suffering from airplane noise, please email/call BAA Noise at noise_complaints@heathrow.com or 0800 344 844. You must leave your full name and address for the complaint to be registered. Thanks! If enough of us make some noise about this we can make a difference!

Headhunter said...

Got to say it didn't really bother me. I've lived in Brockley since 2006 and there's always been a fair amount of aircraft noise. Sometimes in the morning it's literally 1 after the other which can be a bit annoying, yet other days there's nothing... I think it depends on the wind conditions...

Greenwich Plane Noise said...

Dear Claire,

It is not just Brockley, planes are much louder in Greenwich too. I have also noticed a lot more planes fly over at a lower height and are much louder; often I can clearly see their underside when this wasn't the case before.

I have contacted Heathrow several times over the past three months to see why there has been a change, but they insist that nothing has changed.

I believe that the Heathrow is trying out the 3 degree glidescope - there was some discussion on this - which means that the planes have a steeper decent into Heathrow. This does mean however that further out at transition zones, before they start their decent to Heathrow, they are at a lower height, which increases the sound for those on the flight path further out. I asked Heathrow for altitude maps and it does seem that there have been changes in the altitude planes arrive at. Though they have chosen buckets that obfuscate the height of planes. I don't think they are flying in at 4,500ft over Brockley.

http://www.richmond.gov.uk/home/environment/pollution/noise_pollution/heathrow/heathrow_the_details/background_information/flight_routes.htm.

Confused said...

They are generally lower than 4'500 ft and quite a few are below 4, 000 ft. That's according to webtrak. They look a lot lower. I doubt the accuracy of Webtrak.

Brocstation said...

I live close to Brockley Station and I'm curious if anyone else has noticed an increase in aircraft noise over the past few weeks. I seems a lot louder than it has been in the past.

skywatcher said...

Deffo. If you look up at the sky (I was in the middle of the conservation area) there's stream of aircraft maybe about 5 mins apart. One after t'other like aerial ant trail.

Confused said...

Heathrow arrivals (from the north and south) collect and then fly direct west to the airport. This all used to happen west of Brockley. Seems this has now shifted east and the aircraft now "collect" over Brockley. The reasons are not clear - either for safety reasons or noise relief for other areas (see the "early morning respite scheme" thread on this site).
Looks like someone elses problem is now Brockley's problem.
If this annoys you complain at:
noise_complaints@heathrow.com or 0800 344 844

and contact
brockleynoise@hotmail.co.uk
For further info.

JoGreenwich said...

Very relieved to hear it isn't just me and there has been a fundamental change in flight paths/descent heights or SOMETHING in the last 2 months. Started in second half of August.

I have lived in Greenwich (Maze Hill area) for 18 months and feel rather like I am now living in a war zone. We have planes joining the East-West descent path from North of the river, turning directly above and from the South - again turning above us. Flights commence approx 4.30 am and continue until 11pm. Coupled with the noise from City Airport and the tourist helicopters at weekends, it is really beginning to get us down. We moved from Limehouse and for the first 16 months, Greenwich was much quieter. We've contacted Heathrow and got the standard response, will use the contacts you suggest above and write to MP/local council to see if we can get some more information about what has changed, why and whether it is permanent.

Brocstation said...

It has gotten so bad again that I have finally bitten the
bullet and complained to Heathrow. I'll follow up with the other contacts you suggest, thanks.

Jana said...

Exactly the same happened in Putney. I've been living in Putney for over two years and noticed the increased aircraft noise in the middle of summer last year. It is becoming unbearable!!! I have to go to bed with ear plugs every night and still get woken up by aircraft noise at 4:30am. It usually takes me an hour to go back to sleep!!! I also complained to Heathrow and received a letter asking me to call them. I didn't bother as I know nothing will get done anyway. I left my number with them so if they were interested in public being disturber by their operations they would call me. I couldn't find anything in the public domain suggesting what has caused this sudden change and where it will be permanent.

Peanut said...

I agree that the flight noise from at least as early as 4:30 every morning has hugely increased over the past few months and am beginning to find it effects my sleep. I wonder if there is a good place to make complaints about this issue.

Brockley Jack said...

Has anyone else noticed the significant increase in aircraft noise again? Looking at the Heathrow plane tracker most flights arriving in the morning over the past month have flow directly over Brockley!

confused said...

Yes, it certainly has been very poor with many early flights traversing the area
Please contact the brockley campaign group for additonal information and continue to make complaints to Heathrow.

the1beard said...

Help other with aircraft noise reduction please sign the petition

http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/47098

WAG said...

I live in Greenwich - GREENWICH - and flight after flight are already making their descents to Heathrow, from at least 25 miles away!!!
Do you know how many people live under that fligth path? Flying along the Thames from Woolwich to Heathrow? and over central London? Nearly 10 million!
And yes, it is annoying here, 20+ miles out! TWENTY MILES AWAY AND LHR IS ANNOYING!


Who in their right mind would establish and then perpetually expand an airport at Heathrow to become one of the busiest in the world, directly west of London?! Rather than constantly enlarging LHR, it should be reduced in size and closed! It's ludicrous. It is THE single worst place in the southeast to have an airport.

Monkeyboy said...

Well to be fair it would have been an heroic bit of crystal ball gazing 50 odd years ago

Greenwich Plane Noise said...

Has anyone noticed the reply that Nick Raynesford has got from Heathrow saying that we think planes are flying lower because they are bigger planes. Genius! So do bigger planes more noise? Probably?

http://www.nickraynsford.org.uk/aircraft-noise-over-Greenwich

Hillyfields said...

Yesterday I didn't notice much aircraft noise ... but at about 5 or so I woke up to the droning of planes going overhead (I'm in Tressillian Road). They were every couple of minutes both sides of our house and crossing right over the top... and have been the same so far all day (Bank Holiday Sat 23rd) . Anyone else noticed a sudden increase today? It's truly awful.. worse that I can remember it being before...

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