Aircraft Noise over SE23 [2017-2018]

Both Heathrow and City flight paths over SE23 today. This afternoon seems to be a flight at least every 5min. Took some approximate noise readings with phone app:
Heathrow flights (at higher altitude) 50-55db
City flights (at lower altitude) 60-65db

Certainly the City flights are loud enough to drown out the radio and conversation.

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The LCY flights seem to be flying in lower than usual, at around 1,700 or below.

The Heathrow flights also seem lower today (according to Flightradar24) one just flown over Brockley Road at 3,725 ft

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It’s been non stop over Honor Oak from 6am to 6.30am this morning, and loud enough to wake me through double glazing. Miserable.

Take it as a positive it’s only going to get worse if the Heathrow expansion actually gets built in post brexit Britain which I seriously doubt. however in my past used to sell triple glazing which combines the benefits of secondary and double glazing in one package at an extra cost if you qualified the necessary face value.

Spoke with a contact at HACAN (national campaigning group on aircraft noise) today about the different heights quoted on different tracking systems for exactly the same aircraft. According to HACAN, the aircraft altitude data monitored by Flightradar is not as reliable as the altitude data shown on Travislcy (for City Airport flights) and Webtrak (for Heathrow flights) which use Air Traffic Control systems as their data source and quote height above Mean Sea Level (MSL).

Flightradar24 themselves say that not all aircraft are equipped with their data source, ADS-B (so these aircraft will not show on their system) and that ‘ADS-B is a relatively new technology under development, which means that today it’s rarely used by Air Traffic Control (ATC).’

If correct, then that means London City flights showing as 2000 ft on WebTrak and Travislcy actually pass over Devonshire Road (150 ft above MSL) 1850 ft above the ground, and over Horniman gardens (300ft above MSL) at 1700ft, that’s just 500 metres, above the ground.

Hope that made sense to someone!

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This morning (1st Aug 2018) and yesterday, the disturbance (from 05.00) is from incoming Heathrow aircraft e.g.BA74 from Lagos

This is the flightpath pattern from Heathrow for planes through July - I have marked Forest Hill station on the map. Using their Webtrak MyNeighbourhood tracker.

The green takeoffs, fly to the south of us , mostly along the south edge of Crystal Palace Park, then to Penge and Bromley. By the time they reach due south of us they are at 5500 ft or higher, and there is just a rumbling noise to observe.

The red arrivals (on 70% of days of the year) are creating significant noise levels in the corridor shown - as they turn around Forest Hill from the south west and the south east. These are also flying lower, typically at between 4300 and 5000 feet and descending.

It looks as though in our area Honor Oak Park gets the worst of it, as planes fly further north they are also lower and noisier. But I get woken by the early ones from 5am flying over Wynell Road/Perry Rise.

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Very interesting map. Personally speaking it’s the City Airport flights which operate on a highly concentrated flight path and come over at significantly lower altitude (<2000ft) which cause me the most disturbance. This screen grab shows the concentrated flight path they use - it never deviates by more than about 100m so the same people are affected all the time. Concentrated flight path was introduced in 2016 and I understand there has been a >500% increase in noise complaints to City Aiport since then.


yes indeed, on 30% of days City flights are relentless- in June, see post no 112, further up this thread I mentioned a count of 142 aircraft in one day between 6.30am and 10pm with a max of 15 in one hour.

On the days we don’t get the City arrivals we get the Heathrow arrivals, bigger planes, higher altitude, starting at 5am.

On extra special bonus days, when the wind is from the east at less than 5 knots, we get both sets of arrivals- because Heathrow and City change their runway operations directions at different wind speeds.

My considered view is that anyone concerned about this should be lobbying hard for a change to concentrated flight paths. There could be more than one of them - giving respite when it is not your turn
They could fly 1000 ft higher for longer and still maintain 1000ft separation from Heathrow craft.
Concentrated flight paths could run north of the river as well as south, giving more respite options.

One immediate place to lobby is City Airport who have a consultation open on their noise management strategy 2018-23. The draft on their website makes no mention of concentrated flight paths as far as I can see, despite the massive increase in complaints.

Their only concession that noise is an issue away from the immediate surrounds of their airport is that they say City bound planes are becoming quieter, and that excessive noise from individual craft will be fined.

More information about this consultation here. We have till 5th September to make some noise about this ourselves.

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Yep I have already previously complained to City Airport and got the standard reply (which was published somewhere earlier on this thread). The CAA report into City Airport concentrated flightpaths is due any time now (it’s already overdue). I understand from the HACAN East that there seems to be cross-party support at a London assembly level against concentrated flight paths, but whether or not that will make any difference to CAA or whether those politicians will actually take up the mantle remains to be seen.

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Thanks for this. I will definitely respond. I have been in touch with London City about noise, and in all the correspondence with them, this consultation was never mentioned!

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Thanks for sharing the consultation link - I’ve also now sent my response.

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I waved as I flew over yesterday afternoon, given it was a flight to Stanstead I don’t think I disturbed anyone :grin:

I’ve sent my response too. Thanks for sharing this.

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I’m not intending to be lazy (I am), and I’ve printed off the consultation to review… but would anyone wish to share their submission for minor cribbing purposes?

I don’t think there’s too much formality to the consultation - knowing how these things operate you really only need to indicate your opposition to concentrated flight paths (if indeed that is your position) so that when they collate the responses you go in the “Opposes concentrated flight path” statistics.

In case it helps:

  • Concentrated flight paths introduced in Feb 2016
  • Previously flight paths were more widely distributed so that a greater number of people were affected by aircraft noise but at considerably lower intensity
  • Complaints since their introduction have gone up 550% (source LCA 2016 Annual Performance Report via HACAN East
  • Concentrated flight paths are essentially a postcode lottery and those who “lose” and find themselves under one have their lives blighted by unrelenting high volume aircraft noise
  • Such intense noise can be associated with stress and anxiety (I think this is widely accepted but there are plenty of references you can find online if you want to cite)
  • I also suggested that imposing concentrated flight paths could potentially contravene peoples’ human rights, specifically:
    Article 8 ECHR - Right to respect for one’s private and family life and home.
    Protocol 1 Article 1 ECHR - Right to peaceful enjoyment of one’s property

I heard this morning that the CAA are now saying their much delayed response report covering the first year of City Airport concentrated flight paths will come out in early September. Hope it’s not a complete whitewash…

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.


It may be a long game, influencing flight path changes but here is another opportunity to contribute. the All Party Parliamentary Group on Aviation (170 members, I wonder if our MP Ellie Reeves is on it) is to hold an enquiry into how the Civil Aviation Authority manages our airspace. The Chair, Grant Shapps is making some encouraging noises about the lack of any ‘democratic or Parliamentary filter’ for CAA decisions. So an opportunity for those who have an opinion and some energy to write to him about, for example concentrated flight paths over SE23, lack of residential respite, lack of coordination of respite between City and Heathrow and so on.
More about this here.

Those who have responded to the London City consultation - has ayone received an acknowledgement?