I’m collating some information for HACAN which I hope will help with their response and have been looking through what has been happening locally. Below is a draft summary only, but the information is accurate to the best of my knowledge and there are points here that, added to @stepover’s excellent summary, can be made by anyone who wants to contribute to the consultation.
o Noise from arriving City Airport aircraft combined with arriving Heathrow aircraft blights thousands of South East London homes, with no respite.
o City Airport’s air superhighways, from Feb 2016, have resulted in a perfect storm of constant daily aircraft noise for many South London residents.
o Respite means scheduled relief from aircraft noise for a period of time. There are community noise blackspots in Lewisham that receive no respite from 6.30am to 10pm nearly every day of the year.
This report looks at the impact of aircraft noise on residents of South East London, focused particularly on SE23, Forest Hill, Honor Oak Park and Sydenham, a densely populated area in the west of Lewisham. It draws on public sources of information from London City Airport and London Heathrow Airport.
When the west wind blows, this area has been overflown by a proportion of Heathrow arrivals for many years. Noise from these aircraft, on about 70% of days of the year begins as early as 5am and continues through the day until late in the evening. The flights are not on a concentrated line, but around 160 per day pass within a mile radius of Forest Hill station.
When the wind changes to light easterly, up to 5 knots, Heathrow continues this routine. But London City airport changes direction to a concentrated flight path – a kind of air superhighway- where some 150 planes overfly the South Circular road at low altitude from east to west, just 1700m above one of London’s best known parks, Horniman Gardens.
The combined effect of both airports on these days is a maximum of around 310 planes over SE23 homes per day. Using online airport tracking sources, the minimum daily is estimated at either 150 City bound or 160 Heathrow bound, depending on the wind strength and direction. There are no days of residential respite.
With each flight at 70 - 75 decibels conversation beneath has to stop, and enjoyment of any local outdoor space and gardens is badly disturbed. Before February 2016, London City planes used to be disbursed over a wider area, but now they fly over exactly the same homes at exactly the same altitude with no residential respite.
City Airport and Heathrow Airport make no acknowledgement of the combined impact of their two operations, operate different tracking and planning systems, obscuring our ability to make sense of how together they are creating an environment with community noise blackspots and no respite.
Using London SE23 as an example, this report aims to make clear to policymakers and the two airports what has gone wrong through introduction of concentrated flightpaths (City Airport) and separate development of the two London airport flight paths. It is time to repair the damage that has been done by taking coordinated action:-
• ending London City Airport concentrated flightpaths or redeveloping them to create fair distribution and coordinated respite for all London residents.
• compelling City Airport and Heathrow to work together on flightpath planning, to prioritise and jointly provide noise respite to residents currently taking an unfair burden of their joint aircraft noise.
• eliminate community noise blackspots where residents endure the noise operations of both airports, sometime simultaneously.
• acknowledge the problem within institutions such as the two airports, Department for Transport, the Civil Aviation Authority, NATS and local authority environmental health departments; ensure they take a much stronger and coordinated planning and regulatory lead to alleviate constant aircraft noise disturbance without residential respite.