Saturday, 19 August 2017

Air traffic control can't explain noise increase

JOHN HOWELL visited an air traffic control centre to get more information about the aircraft noise that has disturbed Henley residents.

JOHN HOWELL visited an air traffic control centre to get more information about the aircraft noise that has disturbed Henley residents.

The Henley MP has received complaints about increased noise from aircraft coming into land at Heathrow, particularly when there is an easterly wind which meant the planes circle over Henley.

He has called for a “significant reduction” in noise from aircraft and was part of a group of MPs from Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Surrey who met representatives from Heathrow Airport and NATS, which is responsible for air traffic control, in June.

Now he has visited the NATS control centre in Swanwick to see the system working.

Mr Howell said: “It was extremely valuable to visit the control room and see the complexity of the operation. Understanding what they do and how they do it is the first step to engaging properly with them. It was, for example, helpful to get a better understanding of the various factors that air traffic controllers have to take into account when making routing decisions.

“Once aircraft come into land they are directed from the control tower of the landing airport so there has to be a seamless link between the two.

“Looking at the data, it is difficult to see what has changed in terms of air traffic management from now and four years ago.

“Of course, planes are getting bigger and more accurate and there are more of them. The latter means that they can be controlled more accurately. The planes are also getting quieter.

“That leaves the difference between what people experience today with what they experienced a few years ago still to be explained.”



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