Remember the “Trials” of 2014?

It is now almost 4 years since the Trials took place and the lives of many people were turned upside down by Heathrow. An extract from the Teddington Town website of October 2014 detailed the early ending of the Trials due to the howls of protest at low flying aircraft for the first time with comensurate increase in noise. The article stated:

“Heathrow announced today that it will be ending the current airspace trials two months early, on the 12th November 2014.

This is in light of residents’ feedback (thanks to all those that signed the petition and included comments) and meetings with local groups, authorities and MPs. LHR then expressed their wish to end the trials early due to the massive number of complaints they had received but also needed to ensure enough data was recorded to have results analysed.

Matt Gorman, Heathrow Director of Sustainability and Environment stated:

“These trials are crucial in helping us develop ways to manage our airspace more effectively and to reduce noise from Heathrow. We do, however, appreciate that some residents will have experienced a temporary increase in noise as a result of these trials. The feedback we have received during the trials is very important to this process. We are always looking to minimise the disturbance residents may experience as a result of flights around Heathrow, and so we are pleased to have been able to work with NATS to bring an early end to the trials.””

Heathrow in their presentation to the prior meeting of angry residents had stated that:

“-The changes are temporary – they’re helping us learn more about the airspace around Heathrow and how we can use it to improve flight patterns for passengers and residents

-When the current trials stop on 12 November, flight paths will return to pre-trial patterns.”

Below is a copy of the Webtrak record for 10.30pm on the 23rd May 2018 (nearly 4 years after the start of the Trials). A Boeing 777, a plane capable of climbing faster than most planes even when fully loaded and which by Twickenham could have got to nearly 5,000’ had got to a mere 2,360’ with all the consequent suffering put upon communities surrounding the airport.

Even the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) recommend fast take offs where there are “noise sensitive areas near the end of the runway”. Heathrow are one of the very few international airports in the World that do not have an ICAO Guideline complaint noise abatement procedure – quite extraordinary that the UK Government continue to allow this. Further details on the Noise Abatement Departure procedures can be found in our article at

Noise Abatement Procedures set out by the International Civil Aviation Organisation and low flying aircraft on departure from Heathrow

There are countless examples of the waste and devastation that this needless operation brings:

  1.  A YouTube video of TAG members suffering at 11.30pm at night trying to get their child to sleep  https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=0cwsaJpvZZE&app=desktop
  2. Some people are starting to move away.
  3. Some people in Thames Ditton under the easterly departure route but over 15 kilometres from the aircrafts’ start of roll have described themselves as “at tipping point and feel we have to move to cope with the abuse from Heathrow sending planes on a low narrow path above our house”

Heathrow have put into their draft Noise Action Plan for 2019 – 2023 the following aim of the departure process that currently operates:

“This encourages aircraft to gain height as quickly as possible and then reduce engine power and noise at the earliest opportunity. This aims to reduce the noise closer to the airport”

We have asked Matt Gorman if he endorses that statement in the draft Noise Action Plan. His answer was simply

“The reference to “encouraging aircraft to gain height as quickly as possible and then reduce engine power” relates the phase of the flight up to 1000ft”.

That is not going to get any noise abatement worth having and warrants treating the draft Noise Action Plan with the contempt that it deserves.

Perhaps the most extraordinary part is that John Holland Kaye gave written evidence to the Transport Committee of the House of Commons supplementary to his evidence on the 5th February 2018 in which he said that aircraft “are on average at 1,000’ when they cross the airport boundary” [with illustration below]. This presumably means that the entire operating procedure part of the draft Noise Action Plan for 2019 – 2023 relates to the land within the airport boundary!

One must question whether Heathrow have the slightest intention of being truthful with the communities surrounding the airport or whether their draft Noise Action Plan bears even a passing resemblance to reality. It is not surprising that there are now people on social media calling for both Heathrow and Gatwick to be shut and the London Airport to be transferred to a coastal site

Share this post!

One Comment

  1. Robert Buick
    25th May 2018
    Reply

    As with almost everything that comes out of Heathrow on noise, it is simply PR and box ticking – they have no legal requirement to alter their behaviour therefore they have absolutely no intention of doing so; why should they? The fault lies with the regulators, the DfT and the CAA and the virtual absence of functioning noise regulation. If any other industry blighted local communities in the way Heathrow do, they would be served with a legal notice to desist or be shut down.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *