One thing becomes very obvious when you try to explain how airspace works –  how very complicated it is, and how very difficult it is to explain without live radar in front of you to demonstrate it.

I went to Westminster last night with the CEO of Heathrow to meet a group of MPs from Surrey and Berkshire, and their case workers to discuss what their constituents are telling them is more flights and more noise over their homes.

We had various maps with us, but when you’re only looking at the Heathrow arrivals tracks when the wind is from the east, or the tracks on one departure route, it’s hard to convey the sheer complexity of the flight paths of 3,500 flights every day in and out of London’s airports.

We reconfirmed that there had been a change within the existing airspace on the easterly departure route known as Compton, not a change to the route but to the procedures used to direct air traffic along it.  As traffic increases, it is helping systemise the traffic flow and separate it from arrivals flows, to make it more predictable and therefore safer.

There is currently a great deal of work going on to redesign the route completely which is being discussed through the Heathrow Community Noise Forum, as it has never been easy for aircraft to fly.  That will be a matter for public consultation in due course – because that’s what we are required to do by the CAA when a route change is being proposed.

There haven’t been any other changes to routes, although we pointed out that flight patterns within controlled airspace change almost daily in much the same way as patterns of road traffic change daily.

Yesterday’s thunderstorms over the south-east, for instance, will have changed the pattern of flights considerably as aircraft prefer to fly around storms rather than through them.  Recent air traffic control strikes in France and Belgium mean aircraft file flight plans to avoid the airspace that’s affected.  Military activity in their training areas around the UK and France can also mean re-routes to avoid these areas and altogether there is currently more use of southerly routes as airlines seek to avoid trouble spots in eastern Europe and beyond.

So there is always an ebb and flow in air traffic which will vary according to the current circumstances.

There is also, always, a lot of work going on to try to mitigate the impact of noise for people on the ground.  We told the MPs of our ongoing efforts to modernise UK airspace, which will help us get flights higher, quicker and move the holding points higher and further out.  Inevitably, suspicion that change will make things worse has made it harder to convince people it’s a good thing, and the Government’s now going to consult on policy to guide future airspace planning in the autumn which means we need to wait for that before we try to move on with design.


Heathrow is exploring a steeper angle of descent, and the possibility of landing further down the runway, to keep aircraft higher for longer.  And we are now managing arrivals from much further out which means that holding time is already being reduced which cuts noise as well as CO2.

We told the MPs that we don’t have any say in the amount of traffic in the skies – and London’s airports (except Heathrow which is already full) are all getting busier every year.  We are expecting an additional 40,000 flights this year in and out of the five major London airports, on top of the 1.1 million flights already there.  Our job is to deal with the traffic we’re presented with, safely and within the airspace we control.

I also made the point that although we could accommodate change within existing airspace, you have to be mindful that any change will affect someone else.  And as one of the caseworkers acknowledged, we all have to put our hands up and admit that as we all like to fly, the aircraft have to fly somewhere….


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If London is at capacity, why are we not looking outside of London for additional capacity and development? Increasing the number of flights over such a densely populated city and affecting over a million Londoners with excessive noise pollution is not the answer.




I’d like to see a report of this meeting written by the attendees who are not involved directly in the control of flightpaths.




You cannot be blinkered enough to keep expanding Heathrow.
Every day vast swathes of London are getting 19 hours of excessive
plane noise every 60 seconds.
The noise contour map is woefully useless & dose’nt reflect reality on the ground at all.
Runway 3 goes in,then what in 10 or 15 years,runway 4,5,6.
Heathrow is full.
Londons skies are full.
Build a proper 4 or 6 runway airport elsewhere.



Murray Barter

Mr Rolfe, please can you explain why we in Ascot (as an example) receive not only the current re-routing of easterly Compton (which was presumably safe before June 2014 when operational changes were made, and however it’s dressed, the re-routing is a de facto noise collection and dump northerly-lateral), we are now inundated by westerly Compton as well.
These were imperceptible previously, though now with new slower, lower ascents which are amongst the lowest trajectory flights in the world, it would seem NATS are unnecessarily and adversely affecting the population for up to 30 miles from Heathrow, the most densely populated area in Europe around a major airport.
What would appear to be the case is one of saving engine use (& therefore maintenance costs, a standard cost for an airline) and disproportionately and unnecessarily disadvantaging the UK population in this pursuit




London is not the answer to increasing capacity. Too many other airports in the vicinity already compete for airspace eg. Luton, City, Stansted and Gatwick. More flights mean more people being overflown and even more misery for those already overflown. Look further afield because the South and South East is full. It has no airspace left!



Chris Collison

Steeper landing and take off routes are most welcome – please keep pushing on this, regardless of the eventual extension decision.

Keeping the noisiest aircraft (BA’s ageing, heavy-laden evening 747s heading for JBG, CPT, etc.) into NPRs for longer would be a great help. Whilst I think of it, why not just correlate the height a plane can leave an NPR with the *actual* noise the plane generates, so that those of us who bought more expensive houses off the flightpaths get less unpleasant surprises and noise levels are effectively capped.
How feasible would that be? an NPR where noise rather than height is actually treated as the key variable. It’s the only one which matters to those of us who live below.
Genuinely grateful for any responses.



Jennie Dettmer

You make no mention of the concentration/narrowing of flight paths over time in your article, from 2km wide bands on each route to what is now a precise line, accurate to within meters. This key feature of the changes that have taken place over the past 2 years is now blighting the lives of communities all over the country, who, having been used to occasional noise, along with their neighbouring communities across the 2km swathe, are now suddenly underneath what is quite literally a ‘Motorway in the Sky’ from 6am until 11.30 pm and beyond. It is quite right that the flights have to fly somewhere…. but who’s remit was it to decide to inflict hell / extreme poor physical health and mental health on a few vs. sharing the pain over the broader area? NATS? CAA? DfT?




But we used to have NO aircraft noise. And now we have lots. So something more than a simple tweak of airspace has happened. It’s taken you several years to even admit you’ve changed anything (you kept telling us residents that it was all in our minds and we just hadn’t noticed before !). This is why no one trusts a word you say. I checked flight paths when I bought my house 12 years ago as I was moving away from W London due to the planes and nothing was flying over here at under 10,000 feet. Now they regularly are 5,000 or less. You have changed people’s lives and have lied to us continually.




Mr Rolfe you are, quite simply, in denial. I have no doubt that your ideas look fabulous on screen, paper and glitzy presentations. However, you forgot to factor in people. It is not possible to live under a concentrated flight path without suffering some form of health issue, physical or mental. Research needs to be carried out as to the effects on human health of flight concentration. You will, indeed, have to wait to put your ‘master plan’ into action. Meantime, I ask you to please step away from your virtual world and accept the reality of what thousands of complaints are telling you. It is a bad plan. It is causing pain and distress. It is already ruining lives. Learn from it and go back to the drawing board. Meantime, return the status quo and give us some peace. Please.




Mr Rolfe, we don’t all like to fly actually. It’s only a very small percentage of the population that actually does. Some of us avoid it like the plague but are subjected to the noise as others jet off on their VAT subsidised holidays (exporting spending out of the country). How much better would it be for the economy if fewer people flew and instead stayed in the UK and spent their money here? It would be a lot better for the planet as well. Remove the subsidies afforded to this ridiculous industry.




“not a change to the route but to the procedures used to direct air traffic along it” is a weak argument of semantics.

If the planes are consistently flying somewhere else where they didn’t used to fly, it’s a route change affecting the use of airspace.

As such, I’d agree with loads of others that such changes should have their impacts properly assessed and be consulted on with those affected BEFORE such a change is implemented. Ascot,Bracknell, Wokingham and even Heathrow should have been told before the “procedure” was switched on.

For the CAA to argue that only changes to published procedures should be subject to the airspace change process is their own weak interpretation of their duties. According to them, the Compton debacle could be repeated thousands of times and affect most of the country without anyone being accountable for the effects. Even the Heathrow barrister at the Cranford Inquiry expects changes in the use of airspace around the airport to be properly studied and consulted on regardless of whether it is a published procedure or not.

The arguments for the introduction of the Compton procedure change could do to be explained more thoroughly. As I understood

it was done so two controllers wouldn’t have to pick up a phone to liaise with each other on the odd occasion. I guess it might save 0.2 Full-time equivalent traffic controllers in the NATS empire, but that doesn’t seem commensurate with the appalling disruption numerous communities have had thrust on them with no warning.



Tim Reid

We had NO AIRCRAFT NOISE 14 months in Ascot
Now it is constant !
A major change for the benefit of Nats Airlines and Heathrow!
Get the planes higher and quicker
Revert to pre 2014 trials !



Josephine Osborne

We are 14 miles away from Heathrow and when we moved here 12 years ago the aircraft noise was barely noticeable. Now, thanks to aircraft flying lower and slower than ever before (as confirmed by independent research) we are subjected to relentless noise. We suffer with both Easterly arrivals and Westerly departures which means we’re not even granted a single day of respite.

I don’t doubt that airspace needs to be modernised but I do question why you make no mention of the fact in your blog that it is being done at the expense of communities on the ground. Aircraft regularly leave the NPRs at under 4,000ft (again, confirmed by independent analysis that Heathrow themselves publish) and yet nobody is held accountable for it.

I didn’t move to an area blighted by aircraft noise, the aircraft noise moved to me, and did so without a single consultation from NATS or the CAA.. How is that legal?




And so tonight on this fine Summer evening we have flight after flight thundering overhead on the modified Compton route.

Life was peaceful here until those changes were made – without consultation – without notification and initially without acknowledgement by NATs that the changes had been made.

When challenged about it you hide behind the old “safety” argument. This is the simple, lazy NATs get out of jail for free card. You can’t even be bothered to quantify – or explain to the people whose lives you are blighting – what exactly these safety improvements are.

Do what you want. Don’t tell anyone and if anyone has the gall to complain say:
a) Safety
b) Modernisation
c) Efficiency
d) Saving the environment.

How about you start considering the impact on the lives of the people blighted by the short-sighted changes your organisation makes.

Change the Compton route back!!!




Why can’t the planes climb quicker than they do? So low over Windsor and Ascot it really was not like that at all 10 years ago no matter what you guys say. I’ve been here for 12 so can say that for certain!



David Gaffney

“I went to Westminster last night with the CEO of Heathrow to meet a group of MPs”… Yes because they are elected by the public and you are not and the public are not happy with you…




Pattern of road traffic may change but the roads don’t move about, nor suddenly drop 1,000s of feet and road traffic is decided by the driver. Poor analogy Mr Rolfe.

There have been changes, we are all telling you this repeatedly. Surely your memory and hearing cannot be so affected by your bonus that both are failing you.

Concentrating flights lower without warning is comparable to war time terror tactics, why is it OK when NATS do it?




I take exception to the last sentence of the blog – we do not ‘all like to fly’. I never fly if I can avoid it, nor do a significant number of my friends and relatives. We realise that we have a moral obligation to minimise damage to our environment. The aviation industry has become insatiable and is not only destroying our peace and quiet but is contributing hugely to the pollution that is destroying our planet.




Ascot here. The Compton route has absolutely changed without consultation – numerous low flying aircraft are now concentrated over our homes and it’s incredibly difficult to not get so angry with the situation. It literally is a motorway above our heads. Care to comment?



Mrs Reid

Would you like your home ruined by constant noise!




It’s not just Surrey and Berkshire that have been affected. South east London has been blighted as well. We hardly saw or heard a plane in this area until two years ago. Now it’s every single day. And when it’s not planes coming in to land, we’ve got them taking off, as they are right now! To add insult to injury there has been no consultation and a denial that anything had changed. I want to move but where to? Nowhere in or around London is safe from this environmental disaster.




Mr Rolfe; we have become some of the ‘losers’ in your airspace change policies – our daily and nightly quality of life sacrificed to enable more ‘efficient’ use of airspace regardless of the terrible impact on those who live below. When we moved here over 20 years ago this was not the case. We haven’t moved our home, but your organisation has sanctioned and actioned the adjustment and concentration of flight paths. To make things worse, aircraft are held low to allow movement above each other because they are all now concentrated into the same narrow space. To create this phenomenon and then use the phenomenon as an excuse to explain the phenomenon is bizarre and cruel. As your diagram shows, our town and our home have been reduced to a crossroads for both Gatwick departures and Heathrow arrivals and/or departures depending on the wind direction; not just a ‘motorway in the sky’ but a massive ‘spaghetti junction’ directly overhead from 0500 to well past midnight every single day. Your organisation should add your voice to calls to move away from concentration and use modern technology to achieve fair and equitable dispersal, and act on your responsibility for the distress you are causing to people on the ground.



Nicholas Parker

I think this blog is a Key Objective in your annual review, rather than being anything other than telling US what your are doing…no if or buts, but what you ARE doing.

The noise levels that individuals have to live with, the resultant stress and anxiety is completely ignored. The comments made in the various Blogs on here demonstrate that your quango is out of touch, thoughtless and has no regard for people’s lives. We are just fodder to you.

The number of small villages your organisation has ruined is seemingly countless, it’s another example of more rural, less densely populated communities not having enough of a voice for you to care. It should be a national disgrace, yet you carry on regardless.

Whether it’s Heathrow, or Gatwick you are ruining our lives. Shame on you. Until you recognise that small corridors are a shambles, that whilst noise polluting, the previous vector approach (I like to think sensible sharing of pollution) was less severe than your ridiculous ideas now.




For those concerned about the Compton route as influenced by the new NATS procedure. You will see that aircraft now comply much more closely with the NPR associated with the runway 09R departure than they did in the past. It seems that in Reigate they want aircraft to keep to the NPR but in Ascot they don’t!



James Hampton

Mr Rolfe,

is it so hard to just do the right thing here and have your people revert the Compton changes?

Hello everyone and thank you for your comments.

I know from meeting with many residents overflown by air traffic, just how strongly people feel about noise.

It is true that our airspace is getting busier and busier – as I said in my blog, we are all flying more. Heathrow’s own data also shows that there are now a larger number of heavier aircraft that climb more slowly, so no one is dismissing your concerns. But that only makes the need to modernise our airspace all the more urgent.

This is a very complex issue with many different areas of accountability. Many of the issues that have been raised don’t actually fall within our responsibility, but I am happy to try and clarify a few things.

There has been no change to westerly departures. While the easterly Compton departure route had been used safely prior to 2014 we continuously monitor and manage the interaction between all the routes in this complex part of the UK’s controlled airspace, and the change in procedures was to separate clearly the departure and arrival traffic flows and systemise the control of the traffic to help ensure safety as the airspace gets busier.

The way aircraft fly the routes they are given is entirely down to the airline and the captain of that aircraft. The aircraft’s position on the Noise Preferential Route, the rate of ascent, the speed and engine use are all decided by the captain and the settings that he or she has put into the on-board systems.

The noise performance of the engines is the responsibility of the manufacturers and the airlines that use those engines, while the classification of aircraft is decided by the CAA. The location of airports is a matter for the Department for Transport and local planning authorities and the noise contour mapping at an airport is a matter for the airport. In summary, this a very complicated picture with many different areas of accountability, which is precisely why it needs a joint effort to start addressing these challenges.

We can’t simply wind back the clock to another age when flying was a luxury only the rich could afford. The democratisation of air travel has been hugely beneficial both to the wider economy and to those of us who like to travel. But aviation does need to do more to become a better neighbour to its communities and I hope that by working more closely together you will begin to see the evidence of that in the coming years.

Best wishes,





Well done Mr Rolfe for trying to enlighten us over this complex subject. I imagine the Ascot whingers were perfectly happy when these aircraft were a few miles away over someone else’s house. Pure Nimbyism!!



HEATHROWStop@2 (@618ea95242ee4e4)

Schipol, & CDG PARIS have built NEW airports OUTSIDE built up areas with CAPACITY for growth.-UK.plc is too mean to spend the money. -CBI never wants to spend money on NEW Airport investment just expanding OLD ones. Until THAT problem is solved & money spent on a Thames Estuary Airport we will ALWAYS be behind other European Countries. -We are our own WORST enemy. –




Martin, Why have you specifically avoided reference to arrivals and Easterly operations in your update note?

Is it because you know that large changes have happened in both and that the changes have been devastating?

I can think of no other reason why your response is so clipped.

You can rewind to post 2014, then we will see Easterly arrivals drastically unwind themselves with no impact to safety at all, but provide a major benefit to those under redirected concentrated paths of lower approaching slower traffic. Life changing.

Either that or clear the under paths by buying out residents and fill your boots.

NATS vector planes, they are too precise to be flying independently, one after the other, inch perfect, constant noise. You know it, we know it, please don’t patronise with such flannel.




Dear Mr. Rolfe,

In terms of your desire to be a better neighbour, a few questions:

1. Why is noise not included in the 3di tool NATS designed for assessing your performance in the usage of our airspace? This tool is used to judge and reward your use of our airspace but noise impacts have been disregarded completely. Why does NATS not consider noise environmental?

2. Where was it agreed that our sky was a NATS resource to use freely, in any manner, as part of your business model to make money? What payments and to whom are made by NATS for your use of our collective airspace?

3. The relentless increase in aircraft routed over us for domestic and international traffic is leaving industrial pollution in our skies at unprecedented levels. Our part of the sky is now a permanent line scarred pale grey white haze, we often can no longer see blue sky overhead. What plans does NATS have to clean up the industrial pollution your operations are leaving behind in our airspace?




Mr Reid

Mr Rolfe
Thankyou for your response but we in Ascot just get plane after plane
Flying at lower levels pumping out aviation fuel from never having had this 14 months ago!
If you really think this is technology at its best then YOU are really not
doing a good job!
Perhaps there are different motives at work!
You should go back to the drawing board or go back to the pre 2014 flight paths not 100 years ago when flying was for the rich?



Dominic Stockford

This appears to be saying that pilots fly wherever they feel like going – a dangerous way to allow planes to fly and an admission from NATS that you are not needed.

Why don’t you actually live for a few months in my house. Then you’d change your tune, and you’d accept that Teddington should be in the Heathrow noise zone.

It is clear to me that all any of the organisations involved (NATS, CAA, Heathrow, Airlines) are doing is feathering their own nests and merrily carrying on in your own way with narry a thought for the lives you wreck under the planes you send out.



Jennie Dettmer

Dear Mr Rolfe, I note that my email of this weekend in response to your comment was not posted, so I will rewrite it succinctly (and equally politely) in the hope that this was a simple oversight. (Perhaps it was my mention of your appalling PR machine that stopped it getting approval from the ‘moderator’?)
I am afraid that to suggest that decisions over where planes fly is down to airlines, quite frankly insults the intelligence of the well informed communities you are dealing with. Do you honestly maintain that it is coincidence that suddenly over the last 2 years pilots are taking the same line, same angles, flying through the same ‘gates’, as if by magic? You are shortsighted to think that you can continue to pull the wool over the eyes of so many intelligent and knowledgable people. And you wonder why the trust amongst communities is broken? Please begin to treat the communities whose lives that you are currently blighting with the respect that we deserve. (And keep up with which communities you have admitted what to already, as you are now in a real muddle when some recently overflown communities continue to be spun the ‘nothing has changed’ yarn, while others such as us here in Teddington are slowly getting closer to the truth). I for one have no intention of waiting for ‘the coming years’ to see how matters resolve. You need to wake up now and begin to truly listen. Re-read your original post and your comments, through the eyes of communities who know exactly what is going on. Blaming thunderstorms? Muddying the waters with talk of wind direction and how complicated it all is? Sorry Mr Rolfe but you are facing more and more communities who will no longer accept such responses. Once you acknowledge this, we will be able to engage in far more relevant, proactive discussion.



Mr Rampton

We didn’t have a problem 4 years ago, but the way NATS has “modified” the routes thro the Compton gate is what has given us the problem, instead of a dispersal, you have aircraft departing down a pencil beam…over our town, all in the name of H&S, when you could program in a dispersal pattern and fly over open countryside, rocket science it aint ! we were safe before the changes were made, Martin Rolfe needs to be replaced in his current role, for him to blame the airline smacks of desperation, he knows that the parameters that airline flies to are set by NATS…id be worried if they were not !…



A Michael

The whole aircaft issue flying over such a hugely populated area is a disgrace. Shame on Heathrow , shame on NATS for lying to people that the flights over Ascot hadn’t changed. They even attended a meeting to confirm this lie. The CEO of NATS should have lost his job over this ! As they say you tell the same lie over and over to the people affected and they start doubting themselves. NATS have now joined Heathrow as the company I trust the least. 21st century and here we are trying to expand an airport over such a built up area,no consideration for people’s safety or their health. NATS have decided to narrow the corridor of flights over Sunningdale as its safer. Perhaps the CEO of both companies would like to buy a home hardly affected by aircaft noise then il point an arrow directly above these properties and fly low huge jet aircraft over their houses! I moved from west London years ago for this reason now I’m in exactly the same boat.




Mr Rolfe – Can you please explain *why* Heathrow ranks at to close to the bottom of comparable airports for the lowest climbing rates of any airport in the world? The same planes often have rates of climbs 25%-100% higher at many other airports.

Along with the poorly-managed concentration experiment in 2014, the simple biggest issue is the low rates of climb which make so many lives a misery for residents on Eastery departures.
Why can we not ensure that flights departing Heathrow increase their rates of climb – surely a simple way to reduce noise pollution impact?




I do wonder how much effort some people put in to understanding the operations going on in the air. Twitter is awash with complaints about aircraft not following NPRs and yet aircraft can be vectored off them once above a certain altitude (usually 4000ft but can vary, and there are other exceptions to this). Recently there have been many complaints about arrivals into Luton and Stansted from the south flying overhead the LHR area. They claim this route has only just started to be used, but the reality is the LOREL STAR has been used for years. It’s surprising that something that’s been going on for years without being noticed is now unbearable. Interesting psychology going on here.

I live under Heathrow MID and SAM departures on westerlies, and CPT departures as well as arrivals on the downwind and base legs and I’m not disturbed at all. I might well have been back in the 80s when we had 707s, 727s, 747-200s, 737-200s, VC10s and any number of equally noisy and slower climbing aircraft.




Mr Rolfe, you have generated so much anger towards NATS/Heathrow and yourself. We didn’t have a problem 2-3 years ago, now we have, and its all down to you and your senseless schemes citing health and safety…please, do us all a favour and stop smokes screening with the idea that we don’t understand…WE DONT NEED TO UNDERSTAND !, what we do know is that thro a whizzo of an idea, you have blighted our lives, homes, and our health, and seen to it that Heathrow never gets a 3rd runway…if you had listened to the residents who’s lives you have blighted, you may have had some success, but I fear, like so many in our society who believe they can ride roughshod over the rest of us, and use semantics to try and blind us is not the way to achieve things. Public Relations you aint….resign before your pushed.




I invite you into my home that nearly 3 years ago didn’t have a flight over it below 20000ft, have a few nights here to see if you get a good lights rest. Especially after 11pm when there are meant to be NO aircrafts over us if what you’re saying is true. I would like you to bring you you comparative data from the last 20 years because that’s how long we’ve lived in our home. You talk about consultations as if it’s a bump in the road. I can’t believe what you’ve done to our community here and our once silent home in Ascot and then with blatant disregard accusing the residents of being sensitive to aircraft noise because we’re looking for it. Lies lies and more lies … Undo whatever it is you’ve done (or pretend you haven’t done).



Jeremy Allison

When you say ‘you have no say in the increase in fights’ have you forgotten that London Heathrow has a 4% stake in your company and therefore more planes surely means more profit for you?
You just might have forgotten that bit:

Ignorance is bliss isn’t it.




I live near Gatwick, out of the Blue they decided to concentrate flights over my house. It goes from 27db background to 60, 70 and if it is a Branson piece of Junk 80db. If that is not bad enough you have moved Heathrow departures closer and some directly over us. They are some 4000ft lower forcing Gatwick aircraft lower. I have gone from 8hrs sleep to 5 hrs a night. The nearest road I have is 1 mile away no ambient noise. They used to track the M25. Not sure why it is private companies can do what the hell they like.

I think you should get aircraft as high as possible as quickly as possible to reduce the impact of noise,



Robert Buick

The 2nd WW Avro Lancaster bomber at full load could manage a 4.5 degree climb rate, which puts into perspective the Heathrow minimum 4 degrees climb rate!!




Amanda, you say no flights below 20000ft over Ascot up until 3 years ago?

I just had a look at Flight Radar 24 on a random day in 2012 and say an American Airlines 777 fly over Ascot at 4000ft.




Chris, you seem quite dismissive of people are affected by flight path changes (Amanda’s Ascot related comment) and their experience of noise. See the attached link from Heathrow website admitting to the concentrated flight path changes over areas like Ascot and others since June 2014 (over 2 years ago):

Where people in the past may have been overflown by less concentrated flight paths, these higher flight path concentrations are affecting peoples’ experience and perception of levels of noise. If you lived under such a flight path, your experience would most likely have been the same and you would have been equally passionate about making your case against these changes.




endured for 55 years now the noise from Heathrow aircraft. I thought that with age and deafness I would mind less but no, the noise is becoming louder and louder and more intrusive. We will just have to wait for a tragedy to happen and an incoming aircraft to crash over Sheen or Richmond before anything is changed.





No, I’m not dissmissive of people’s experiences, I just have my own. And I also know what is perception/opinion, and what is fact.

If you tell me you find something noisy, I can’t really disagree. But if you tell me that aircraft have never flown on such and such a path before, when they have, you’re wrong.

I have lived near to LHR (Colnbrook, Windsor, Twickenham) for over 20 years. Things are much quieter now than ever before. True, I wouldn’t describe heavy, slow climbing A380s or 747s as quiet, but I believe a lot of it is perception. When compared to today’s A320 series, which are so much quieter than the old 737-200s and BAC 1-11s, we notice the 747s and A380s so much more than we used to notice the 747-200s and Tristars etc.

I actually still live under flightpaths today (as I said, I believe things are so much quieter than they used to be), and I understand why concentration has increased. You can see on the AIP (please tell me you know what that is!) that flightpaths and procedures haven’t permanently changed (yes, there were the trials), and if you’ve done any research into it you know that the concentration on old style ‘conventional navigation’ procedures is all down to the increasing accuracy of aircraft navigation. Nothing to do with the airport/ATC. Using satellite-based systems is how aircraft navigate now. Going back to how aircraft navigated in the 70s and 80s is not possible.



Ron Dobson

I don’t live near Heathrow but I do fly and I do take an interest in aviation issues. I do also recognise arrogance and condescension when I read it, both of which Mark’s previous post has delivered in spades.



Ron Dobson

..of course, I meant Chris in the above post




This new concentrated flight path is causing health issues for me, I have lost my Job as I am becoming depressed from the noise over my house all the time. I live 10 miles away from Heathrow and up until 2 years ago was happy and in a great job and saving up to start a family. Now, I just think what is the point. I hate where I live now and don’t want to leave the house. I can’t afford to move, plus 5 other houses are for sale down my road. How can Heathrow get away with this? I didn’t hear or notice the planes. This year I just can’t take it anymore, I have panic attracts in the middle of the night!




I live in north London close to the center under one of Heathrow condensed traffic path and work in south London still under the same path which is basically crossing the city right in the middle from north to south west. It means I’m affected by plane noise 100% of the time everyday in my life weither I’m at home or at work including the weekends.
The noise is so significant since they are flying at low altitude between 3,000 or 5,000 feet and noise is constant since there is a plane every minute. I noticed many are long haul large planes too. This is a real pain, you just can not ignore the noise, it’s actually worst than road traffic or sirens.
I wake up at 6.30 am with the sound of aircrafts and I go to bed around 11 pm with the sound of aircrafts, it became part of my life and this is stressing me more everyday. In fact I’m seriously considering leaving London mainly because of that.
I bet Mr Rolfe is not living under those flight paths. As someone else suggested, engineers should leave their computer screen and see how this is affecting people’s lives in the real world. Go and live in a house just under the flying path, go to Clapham Common park for instance and try to chill out with the constant sound of aircrafts. Aircrafts should not even fly over London for obvious security reasons and also because it is densely populated.
Ideally you should just close Heathrow and built an other airport somewhere where it won’t affect SO MANY people.
Remember the sky belong to everybody not just you.
Originally Heathrow was not mean to be the commercial airport that it is today, it was just a small military airport. But I can imagine how much money it can generate now and this is probably one of the main motivation behind the expansion project.
In the meantime I’m avoiding to use this airport as I don’t want to be part of the problem.



constantlyblighted by aircraft noise

It just keeps on getting worse. There is no progress for the people who find themselves under increasing disturbance from a heathrow centric dominance of the southern airspace. It used to be an acceptable nuisance, now it’s just plain wrong. I guess it’s all about the money, forget about the people.




You changed the Compton route for efficiency reasons (it is cheaper).
Safety is the easy excuse to wheel out every time you are challenged.
Do the right thing for once. Change it back.


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