BAA Freedoms Trial Means Summer Misery

Hounslow Council claims some residents will have no respite


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Hounslow Council claims that BAA’s operational freedoms trial means residents living under the flight path could be prisoners in their own homes to escape aircraft noise over the summer.

The Operational Freedoms trial is designed to improve Heathrow’s operational efficiency – reducing delays and pollution – but Hounslow Council, campaigners and other local authorities believe the impacts on people already blighted by aircraft noise could be severe.

BAA’s newspaper advertising campaign also fails to directly ask for the views of the 750,000 people living under flightpaths who are directly affected by aircraft noise.

The trial, which begins on Sunday 1 July, could affect the “period of peace” which offers Hounslow residents precious respite from airborne din.

The council fears that residents in Feltham and Hanworth in particular will be affected by variations in take offs from the south runway, which could mean aircraft arcing over their homes at lower altitudes.

In November, changes to arrangements to very early morning arrivals will also be trialled. This will mean an increase in the number of flights landing between 5.30 and 6am, in return for a reduction in flights landing between 4.30 and 5 am. Under the proposals, the number of flights brought forward would be up to 12.

The council is encouraging people to have their say on how the effects of the trials via its website, so that BAA gets an accurate appraisal of the impacts – an exercise not helped by what the council thinks is inadequate advertising by the airport operator. It is calling on BAA to send a leaflet explaining the trials to every home in the borough.

Councillor Colin Ellar, cabinet member for environment, said: “Anything which threatens the precious period of peace which gives Hounslow residents respite from aircraft noise is hardly going to be welcomed with open arms.

“We need to hear loud and clear from residents how these trials are affecting them and if they are suffering more disturbance.  

“It is very disappointing that BAA’s newspaper adverts do not ask for residents’ views. At very least, they should be sending a leaflet to every home in the borough explaining what is going to happen and letting people know how they can comment or complain. ”

Residents who are affected by the trial can let the council know via its ansaphone helpline on 020 8583 5230, or email:

People can also email BAA at:

The council is also collecting film clips from smart phones of how noise affects residents in their daily lives – at home, at work, at school, indoors or outdoors, at any time of the day or night.

The council’s YouTube channel at:

Clips and links can also be sent to: or uploaded via Facebook or Twitter.

You can measure and share the noise levels you experience, all from your phone. Download the Widenoise App for Iphone and Android.


June 28, 2012