Fulham Could Become a "No Sleep Zone" if Heathrow Expands

Noise contour maps show problems caused by extra runways

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Most of Hammersmith and Fulham could be subjected to aircraft noise and become a "no sleep zone" for many residents if Heathrow is allowed to expand into a four runway hub, according to new research.

Hammersmith & Fulham Council and its 2M Group partners say they have produced new "noise contour maps" highlighting the parts of London which could be overflown by planes using the proposed third and fourth runways.

All of Fulham, all of Hammersmith and most of Shepherd's Bush, south of Wormwood Scrubs could be disrupted by aircraft coming into land on a new runway to the south of the existing landing strips.

Images of the potential arrivals and departures show that the west of the borough would be worst hit, as planes would get progressively lower over peoples' homes and gardens as they approach the airport.

Some people living under the existing flight paths in Fulham are kept awake from 4.30am as the first arrivals approach Heathrow.

Cllr Victoria Brocklebank-Fowler, H&F Council Cabinet Member for Transport & Technical Services, says: "Most of the borough would become a no sleep zone if Heathrow expands to a four runway hub. Across London and the Home Counties around three million people would be living under a Heathrow flight path and the negative impact on residents’ quality of life would be immense.

"Heathrow is in the worst position for the UK’s hub airport as it negatively affects far too many people. The only sensible solution is to acknowledge that further expansion of Heathrow is not acceptable and that additional capacity should be provided away from major population centres – perhaps to the east of London, near the estuary.”

H&F Council has consistently warned that Heathrow will not stop expanding if granted a third landing strip. Its main European rivals have four or more runways and Heathrow will need to match their capacity to directly compete. Charles de Gaulle, Heathrow's nearest rival, has four runways. Frankfurt and Barajas (Madrid) also have four and Schiphol (Amsterdam) has six.

The 2M Group is an all-party alliance of local authorities concerned about the environmental impact of Heathrow operations on their communities.

The group, which took its name from the two million residents of the original 12 authorities, now represents a combined population of five million people and was successful in 2010 in overturning plans for a third runway at the airport.

Members are keen to reduce night flights, preserve the relief provided to residents by runway alternation and strengthen noise and air quality controls in the areas around the airport.

2M say the group is not anti-Heathrow but works together to improve the environment and protect the quality of life for local people.

The government is currently running a two part public consultation asking people for their views on night flights, with the first part open until April 22. You can find the details of the consultation and how to respond here.

April 3, 2013