Back door expansion at Heathrow?
A Boeing 747-400 passes close to houses shortly before landing at London Heathrow Airport
Imagine living close to Heathrow. It is a fair point that people who buy a home in that part of town should know what they are signing up to and we must not of course forget the significant numbers who live nearby because they work at Heathrow. This part of London is dominated by Heathrow economics. Nonetheless, there is a balance to be struck and local residents should not be subjected to relentless noise day after day without respite. Yet, this practice is something which the government will be trialing this Autumn and next summer.
Last week, the Department for Transport announced proposals to allow more “flexibility” to BAA to decide when they can relax existing practices so that both runways at Heathrow can be used for takeoff and landing simultaneously (otherwise known as mixed mode). Normally, one runway is used for landings and the other for takeoffs switching halfway through the day.
So at the moment BAA are permitted under limited circumstances, for example, during busy periods or during poor weather conditions to use both runways simultaneously. These proposals effectively give airlines the green light to implement these special measure procedures much more often. Mixed mode expansion is what residents have feared the most. The government pledged there would be no expansion at Heathrow, yet this is exactly what they are now proposing. In the meantime The Department for Transport are playing the whole thing down using semantics, claiming that the proposals are different to mixed mode because they are not “planned”. And they think this is somehow better? Now residents are not only expected to endure noise throughout the day, but they will also be subjected to it at hoc, at the discretion of the airline companies without effective stringent policing. I think it’s time to bolt the back door!