Stop Heathrow expansion, says London Assembly Environment Committee

Posted: 25 January 2019 | | No comments yet

The London Assembly Environment Committee calls for halt to expansion plans at both Heathrow and London City amid noise concerns.


Heathrow has recently announced plans for 25,000 extra flights a year, bringing new areas of London under its flight paths. Meanwhile, London City Airport, in the middle of its own significant expansion, saw record passenger numbers in 2018.

But as the appetite for air travel grows, so does the misery for those who have no choice but to live with the noise invasion from the air traffic from these airports. 

A new report, ‘Aircraft Noise’, published today by the London Assembly Environment Committee, says noise levels are unacceptable and calls for a halt on all air traffic growth at Heathrow and London City airports.

The report builds on evidence given by residents who told the Committee of the disruption the late night flights cause. The report details the impact of altitude, flight paths and out-of-hours flights on the noise landscape.

As a result of the report, the proposed actions are:  

  • The Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise should use lower thresholds for disturbance, allowing residents to leave their windows open when they need to
  • Air traffic at Heathrow and London City should not increase and Heathrow’s third runway should not go ahead
  • Air traffic controllers should minimise continuous stacking and maximise descent and ascent to keep aircraft further from the ground for longer. They should also minimise overlap between City and Heathrow flight paths
  • There should be no night flights, and restrictions on early morning flights should be strengthened. All London airports should provide predictable periods of respite.

Caroline Russell AM, Chair of the Environment Committee, said: “The experiences of residents living with the daily nightmare of overhead noise are deeply worrying. There are significant health impacts that follow from an inability to sleep, relax and concentrate. This drive towards filling airspace capacity must be checked. For too many people, including children, aircraft noise is a major dominant intrusion into their everyday lives. It is not an acceptable price to pay for air travel. It isn’t right and must be challenged. We have already made clear our objection to the expansion of Heathrow but aviation authorities and operators must prioritise the health and well-being of Londoners and give us a break.”