BY TOBY PORTER
Campaigners against a third runway at Heathrow say new proposals could mean less noise for residents of South London.
Groups and town halls who have protested against the plans believe the changes proposed in a consultation paper published this week could lift the misery for some people living in the flightpath of the world’s seventh busiest airport – which deals with 76 million passengers a year.
The plans propose the biggest changes to Heathrow’s flight paths since the airport opened in 1946.
They are part of a 12-week public consultation which Heathrow launched on Tuesday. All-day flying will become a thing of the past for many places.
The principle of respite – west London currently has no planes going over it from 3pm every day – could be extended to people living under departures routes and areas such as South-east London, which at present do not get any respite.
The consultation also asks for views on night flights.
One condition Parliament laid down when it gave Heathrow the go-ahead for a third runway was that the current five-hour night break is extended to six-and-a-half hours.
Heathrow is asking for views on how this should be implemented. Heathrow is also proposing to bring in 25,000 more flights a year before any new runway opens, under a scheme called Independent Parallel Approaches (IPA).
It would require the lifting of the 480,000 annual cap on flights which was imposed as a condition of Terminal 5. Heathrow will only ask for these flights until the third runway is operational.
They would only start once Heathrow’s detailed plans for a third runway had been approved – expected to be in 2021.
Heathrow aims to open a third runway in 2025 so it is likely IPA would be in place for about four years.
But under the proposals people in West London, who currently enjoy a half day’s break from the noise when planes switch runways at 3pm, will find that cut to one third of the day if a third runway is built.
John Stewart, chairman of HACAN, the organisation which gives a voice to residents under the Heathrow flight paths, said: “A lot of west London will be badly hit by these proposals but there will be many other communities who will be relieved at the prospect of all-day flying coming to an end.
“It amounts to a near-revolution to Heathrow’s flight paths.”
The only consultation events in London south of the Thames are at Roehampton’s Elm Grove Conference Centre in Roehampton Lane on January 30 from 2pm-8pm, the Antoinette Hotel in Wimbledon Broadway on February 12 from 2pm-8pm and at Kingston University’s Penrhyn Road campus, on February 14 from 2pm-8pm.