Minster's Runway Relief Pledge

Government confirms support for runway alternation


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Local people will continue to get a half day’s break from aircraft noise after the Government confirmed its support for the practice of planes switching runways at 3pm each day.

Without the relief offered by runway alternation, people living under the flight path could experience non-stop noise throughout the day from aircraft on their final approach to Heathrow.

The announcement by transport minister Theresa Villiers was welcomed by the 2M Group of councils which campaigns on behalf of communities affected by Heathrow operations.

Cllr Corinna Smart, lead member for aviation at the London Borough of Hounslow, said:

"For people in our part of London the threat of losing runway alternation was as great a fear as the possibility of a third runway.

"Our worry was that if planes were allowed to land continuously on one runway it would effectively double the noise dose for people under the flightpath.

"Runway alternation means people know they will get a break from the noise, so this announcement should put people’s minds at ease."

The minister also confirmed that the previous government’s decision to end the agreement which restricts aircraft form taking off from the northern runway over Cranford would stand. However, the impact would be contained by an assurance that mixed mode operations would not be introduced, and the expectation by the minister that the effect of doing this will be ‘comprehensively mitigated’.

Cllr Smart continued:

"The loss of the Cranford Agreement is disappointing for the people who live there. We are, however, encouraged by the minister’s insistence that BAA take action to relieve the impact on local people.

"We now need more details about the proposals to lessen the impact of noise. We want this to be at least equal to any other in the UK - ideally better - and to include everyone who suffers from the noise of the airport."


September 9, 2010