Stop jumbo jet pilots doing ‘handbrake turns’, says MP
RESIDENTS of Henley shouldn’t have to put up with the “enormous” noise made by old Boeing
RESIDENTS of Henley shouldn’t have to put up with the “enormous” noise made by old Boeing 747s flying over the town, says John Howell.
The Henley MP raised the issue during a Commons debate on noise mitigation, saying residents were regularly woken up during the night by planes coming into land at Heathrow airport.
He said Henley was “very badly blighted” by noise pollution from aircraft, particularly those on “easterly operations”.
This applies when the wind blows from the east and flights arriving at Heathrow perform a 180 degree turn about 4,000 ft above Henley.
Mr Howell said the planes appeared to do the equivalent of a handbrake turn “with all the attendant noise that brings”.
He continued: "The fact that the landing routes have changed is a big contributor to the difficulties my constituents face. It affects the whole of Henley. My constituents say that they are woken up early in the morning, particularly with the old 747s that are among the noisiest aircraft in the skies, and late at night. It is necessary to do something about that.”
He said ensuring that aircraft were significantly higher when they came in to land would be “a major improvement”.
Mr Howell added: “Something needs to be done about older aircraft because when the big 747s come in they are powered in such a way — I do not know whether the pilots do it deliberately but they certainly seem to — that it creates an enormous noise.”
Robert Goodwill, under-secretary of state for transport, said: “Heathrow is taking steps to cut back and mitigate its noise impact.
“Under the European Union’s environmental noise directive, it is required to produce a noise action plan that sets out its intentions to mitigate noise. Changes to the UK’s airspace structure are required, which we must accept while we are seeking to address the impact of such changes as much as practicable.
“Aviation is a success story and the public like the opportunity that it affords for holidays or to meet family and friends living far away as well as for business travel, which is vital for our economy.
“However, the basic structure of UK airspace was developed more than 40 years ago, since when there has been a dramatic increase in demand for flights. The future airspace strategy is critical to ensuring that the industry is efficient and able to minimise its overall environmental impact.”
In March Heathrow’s environmental director Matt Gorman, who lives in Henley, said that in future aeroplanes landing at the airport should cause fewer noise problems due to improvements in technology.
Some could also pass at higher altitude before descending at a sharper angle, making them less audible from the ground. Speaking at a public meeting called by Mr Howell, Mr Gorman accepted there was a temporary increase in flights over Henley last autumn because the wind blew from the east more often than usual.
He said more airlines were switching to newer, quieter aircraft so that older and noisier jumbo jets would be phased out within a decade.
Mr Howell called the meeting at the Christ Church Centre in response to complaints by residents and more than 80 people attended.
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