Residents living near London’s only commercial heliport are “routinely” subjected to noise levels which may pose a health risk according to a new study commissioned by Wandsworth, Hammersmith & Fulham and Kensington & Chelsea councils.
In the 1970s the London Heliport in Battersea was granted planning permission by the Greater London Council, London’s previous regional Government, to operate up to 80 flights per day and up to 12,000 per year.
When the heliport was opened much of the land around it was used for commercial and industrial purposes but in recent years has been converted to residential use.
According to the study, which was carried out by acoustics experts from London South Bank University, noise generated along the heliport’s landing and take-off flight path pose a “medium” risk of adverse long-term health effects.
Neither the councils or Greater London Authority have the power to reduce the number of flights the heliport is allowed to operate or amend its opening hours.
In the absence of such powers the report authors say any new residential planning applications should include measures to reduce the impact of noise and that the operator should consider compensating affected residents.
Ravi Govindia, Leader of Wandsworth Council, has also called for the heliport to be relocated and pointed out that draft planning guidelines drawn up by Mayor Sadiq Khan propose that any new heliports are refused planning permission while his residents continue to be affected.
He said: “We do not believe that is fair as it means that our residents are having to bear the brunt of having the flight path from London’s only heliport going over their heads.
“It is obvious that relocation of the Battersea heliport is the only right solution but the Mayor’s draft London Plan has failed to grasp the nettle but there is still time for him to change his mind.”
Councillor David Lindsay, Lead Member for Healthy City Living in Kensington and Chelsea, said: “This report highlights some vital issues concerning the disturbance from the heliport and it’s time for the Mayor of London, Civil Aviation Authority and Government to take our concerns seriously and work to significantly reduce the blight on the lives of our residents.”
City Hall says the Mayor is “sympathetic” to residents but reiterates he has no power to intervene.