Airport Commission Head Visits 'Flight Path' Schools

Hears about the impact on children from low-flying aircraft

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The effect of aircraft noise on school children and the human impact of Heathrow made an impression on the Airports Commission during its visit to Hounslow this week.
The fact-finding mission, organised by the local authority, showed the Commission chairman Sir Howard Davies and Commissioner Sir John Armitt, the social, economic and environmental effects of Heathrow on the area.

Ruth Cadbury with l-r Howard Davies, Chair of the Airports Commission; Dee Scott, Head of Beavers School, and Cllr Amrit Mann, Deputy Leader of Hounslow Council.

Speaking after the borough-wide tour, which included a visit to Beavers Community Primary School and a local airline food supplier, Alpha LSG, Sir Howard said: “I think the issue of noise mitigation for schools is clearly something we should be dealing with. But we need to be careful about a blanket solution and would need to be flexible.”

The Commission team were joined by Hounslow Councillors Ruth Cadbury and Colin Ellar, and local MPs Mary Macleod and Seema Malhotra.
Councillor Amrit Mann, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “Hounslow wants a better not bigger airport. Losing Heathrow would devastate Hounslow’s economy. Jobs matter but so do our residents’ quality of life and children’s education.

Their visit started early at 6am to hear some of the early morning flights, recorded at 91 decibels – the World Health Organisation suggests that “serious annoyance” is experienced by most people at noise levels above 55 decibels.

The headteacher of Beavers Primary School, Dee Scott, pupils and parents spoke of the extreme difficulties they face in their classrooms, particularly during the warmer weather over the summer.Mary Macleod MP, said:“I am glad the Airports Commission has taken the time to come and experience the reality of living near Heathrow. Our proximity to the airport helps keep our unemployment down and we welcome the opportunities it offers. But Heathrow are not doing enough to reduce the impact of noise, congestion and pollution from the airport.

“I was alarmed to hear that children were struggling to stay awake in classes because of the lack of sleep at home and a lack of ventilation and oxygen in their classrooms. Heathrow promised over ten years ago to address the issue of noise insulation and ventilation in our local schools and they still haven’t delivered. This problem will only get worse as we look to expand our schools to accommodate a growing population. Heathrow must deliver on its promises and must do more to protect our children from noise in their schools.”

Mary Macleod MP with Sir Howard Davies

The visit to Hounslow also included a question and answer session involving the Commission, councillors from Ealing, Wandsworth, Slough and Hammersmith and Fulham and also Richmond Park MP, Zac Goldsmith.

Labour Candidate, Ruth Cadbury commented:“I was pleased that we were able to show the Commission members first-hand what living and learning under the landing path means to local people and to children’s learning.

“Whilst the airport provides massive economic benefit to Hounslow, a third runway would mean 50,000 more residents suffering severe noise problems.  Heathrow should provide a better deal on insulation and other mitigation to the communities already affected, but another runway is a step too far” she said.

June 20, 2014