The Chiltern Society has commented on the recent consultation on Heathrow Airspace and Future Operations. This forms part of the long term planning for the addition of a new runway at Heathrow Airport.
The Airport is reviewing the flightpaths for arrivals and departures for all three runways and the Society is concerned as to what impact this would have in terms of noise and disturbance on the towns, villages and countryside within the Chilterns and the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in particular.
The full response can be read here, but some the main points can be summarised as follows:
- We seek the minimisation of disturbance to residents, and users of the countryside within the whole Chilterns area.
- Tranquillity and freedom from disturbance are key factors contributing to the special qualities of this nationally protected landscape.
- We suggest a strategy that includes complete avoidance of particularly sensitive areas of the AONB and the alignment of routes over already-noisy parts of the AONB. Flightpaths should spread the burden by the use of the maximum number of routes used on a rotational basis, having regard for when the AONB is most likely to be used for quiet enjoyment.
- Areas or corridors that merit complete avoidance could be identified through the measurement of baseline background noise levels as part of the Environmental Impact Assessment and other research.
- The flightpaths will need to be considered in relation to other flightpaths, particularly from Luton Airport.
- We are seeking ongoing engagement with Heathrow, in collaboration with the Chilterns Conservation Board (CCB), the statutory authority for the AONB.
Further formal consultations about the proposed air routes are expected in 2021 or 2022.