Heathrow expansion - key facts about noise

Noise from Heathrow already causes a lot of discomfort for people across the borough, even with only its two current runways. The expansion to a third or even a fourth runway would make it intolerable for many residents.

Our view

We believe expansion at Heathrow would be detrimental to the quality of living for residents because:

  • There are currently 470,000 flights a year from Heathrow, expansion could see this increasing to 700,000 a year according to the Department for Transport
  • A plane would arrive or take off every minute, with jet engines emitting around 140-160 decibels on take off
  • Schools exposed to high levels of aircraft noise are not healthy educational environments – studies have show damage to reading comprehension skills
  • More flights would reduce peaceful respite time
  • Noise pollution can cause hypertension, stress, and ischemic heart disease

Pro-expansion view

However, pro-expansion supporters may argue that:

  • As technology improves planes will get substantially quieter
  • The effects of noise can be mitigated through double glazing on windows and doors
  • Use of steeper landing and takeoff angles can reduce the number of people affected by aircraft noise

Updated: 22 July 2015