The community website for Forest Hill and Honor Oak, London SE23
Events | Features | Forum | Local Books | Contact

Forum Archive
Heathrow flight path(2)- response fro...

Author Message
Joined 17-03-2005
Posted on Friday, 21 April, 2006 - 08:15 am:   


'Given that this is a borough wide issue, and one which can transcend party political boundaries, I would like to hear from each Mayoral candidate as to what they would do to address this increasing problem, and increase it certainly will.
I have as yet unsuccessfully been asking our current Mayor to establish some benchmarks by assessing what is really going on at the minute in Lewisham, ie flight patterns, frequencies, height, rate of descent, noise levels at different parts of the borough, and to assess these against approved and reaspnable limits.
I have not yet had a response which has been disappointing.
The optimum solution would be to do whatever is possible to reduce the impact on residents at any one time- an even spread of flights over areas, keeping to agreed limits, stop bombarding people with one plane after the other, exploring what can be done to reduce the effect on people, ie minimisation of turning which causes noise, a straight flight path up the Thames Corridor where the major impact of noise is restricted to over the Channel, etc. Having looked into this a few years ago with someone who has considerable experience of aviation, it seemed that a number of things were indeed possible. '

Please can each candidate post their responses.

Joined 17-03-2005
Posted on Saturday, 22 April, 2006 - 03:12 pm:   

You are all clearly out canvassing on such a fine day. However when you get home it would be appreciated if you could log on and respond to this polite request. Many thanks,
Joined 30-03-2006
Posted on Sunday, 23 April, 2006 - 01:28 am:   

You say this is a borough wide issue, it is in fact a regional problem. Lewisham cannot achieve much working alone – but it can unite with authorities across the capital and be part of a powerful voice.

I am not sure your optimum solution is possible, as I understand it planes are stacking over head centred on CAA beacons which set the corridors that planes must stay in albeit at various heights. This means some areas, under the flight paths, are bombarded and other areas are not affected. Moving the beacons or redirecting flights are not options because it would impact on the air traffic control grids.

You are right the Council should be able to obtain – from the CAA – the number of flights, frequency, height and rate of descent etc. That data will help arm the Mayor to take up the issue with others across London.

The Mayor must lobby for a change in Government policy – oppose further expansion of London Airports (greater emphasis on regional airports), tighter restriction of operating hours. I believe at present Heathrow change direction of planes arriving and departing during the day to give residents respite but this is stopping to increase the airport’s capacity. Government can encourage the development of quieter planes and bigger planes (therefore fewer flights). The introduction of an aviation tax would have a positive environmental effect and could impact on the volume of movements. We have to accept that air travel is popular and here to stay but needs a tighter framework to reduce the environmental impact.

The Mayor has an external role – championing the needs and views of Lewisham residents, there are many platforms for action in this area – the Association of London Government, the GLA, Government office for London, the Mayor of London. These bodies who are consulted by Heathrow (BAA) and the CAA need to appreciate this is an issue that affects and concerns many local residents.

Chris Maines
Joined 03-04-2006
Posted on Wednesday, 26 April, 2006 - 10:22 am:   


Sorry for the delay getting back to you, as you say I’ve been out and about quite a bit.

The situation of air traffic noise, particularly at night, is a big one and outside the direct remit of the Mayor of Lewisham, it is very much a central government issue. That said one of the advantages of a directly elected Mayor is that he (or at some point in the future, she) should be the champion of the people of Lewisham when dealing with the Mayor of London and the government.

The options for improving the situation fall into one of a number of areas.

1 Reduce the total number of flights. The growth in fight numbers has been caused by consumer demand and as people think more green there should be a normalisation (downwards) of demand for flights.

2 Spread the flights around the country's airports. At the moment the Government are pushing for a dramatic increase in the number of homes in Kent and southern England. This will cause a much greater demand on all travel options including flights from Gatwick and Heathrow. The Government should be looking at ways to spread the demand for housing (and travel resources) around the country rather than building on the already crowded SE of England.

3 Use quieter airplanes. This is an option being looked into by aircraft manufactures and the government should be reflecting public opinion and encourage this development.

4 Change flight paths. This would only change the addresses of the people suffering from aircraft noise, not solve the problem.

I am sorry that I am not able to put forward hard commitments on this but I can assure you as a long standing resident of the borough I am well aware of the problem and I will support any reasonable ideas that help alleviate it.

Conservative Candidate for Mayor of Lewisham

Promoted by Brian Chipps on behalf of James Cleverly both at 244 Brownhill Road, London, SE6 1AU
Joined 28-03-2005
Posted on Friday, 28 April, 2006 - 05:59 pm:   

Quite agree about thinking (and travelling green) so it's a shame that the botched privatisation of the railways has directly led to the expensive and chaotic ticket pricing which has doubtless driven many people to fly rather than take the train. Internal flights in this country make little sense. We are too small and fights of less than 500 km are hugely inefficient. The overall city centre to city centre travel times by plane cannot match rail when airport transfers and check-in times are taken into account. You need only to look at the success of Eurostar at dominating the London to Paris and Brussels routes since half the high speed line opened. It will be interesting to see what happens when the rest of the line opens next year. A high speed electric train carries people at a fraction of the carbon emissions of a plane, yet both Labour and Conservatives are wedded to either airport expansion or further road building, neither of which can address the issues of noise reduction, environmental degradation or dare I mention climate change. Expansion of a high speed TGV style network in the UK could free up valuable air-space for long haul flights and cut down the overall number of fights over London. It will cost money but this can be offset from savings in the cost of airport expansion and all its attendant infrastructure demands. However it demands vision and strategic planning from central government, something I fear is in short supply and has been for a a few decades now and unfortunately seems unlikely to return. Take the case of government spending £2.5m on Newquay Airport for those flights originating in London yet cutting the number of trainis by half. Joined up government? I think not!

Local forums in nearby areas: | | | | | |