London Assembly members have warned that noise levels associated with flights in and out of Heathrow and London City airports are now at “unacceptable” levels and say no further increase in flight numbers should be allowed.
A report published today by the Assembly’s Environment Committee draws on the experiences of local residents, some of whom complain of being woken “by one flight a minute, starting early in the morning”.
AMs warn the nuisance factor is likely to worsen in future years as the capital’s summers are expected to get warmer in coming decades, making it even more essential for householders to open windows.
They want the noise threshold used to determine when households experience disturbance to be lowered and repeat calls for Heathrow’s plans to build a third runway to be dropped.
The committee also say air traffic levels at both airports should not increase and call on air traffic controllers to minimise the overlap between City and Heathrow flight paths and call for a ban on night flights and stronger restrictions on early morning flights.
Chair Caroline Russell AM 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.”
Today’s report follows an inquiry carried out by Wandsworth, Hammersmith & Fulham and Kensington & Chelsea councils last year which warned residents living near London’s only commercial heliport are “routinely” subjected to noise levels which may pose a health risk.