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Heathrow easterly departure routes trial

NewsHeathrow Airport has begun commencing a second airspace trial for departing aircraft when on easterly departure routes (marked below with stars). The 3 routes that are affected by the trial are known as Southampton (SAM), Midhurst (MID) and Compton (CPT).

Each departure route has a centreline and a 1.5km swathe either side of it. Aircraft have to follow these routes up to a height of 4,000ft when they are taking off from Heathrow.

This follows a previous 6 month trial which saw alterations to BA flights from Heathrow along the MID route where some planes flew nearer Teddington and others further away. The results of this trial will be published in September. The MID route (below) will again see alterations which will see an increase in flights over the very west corner of Bushy Park.

MID route existing (black) and trial (red)

The SAM route (below) currently dictates a flight path directly over the centre of Teddington – this is to be altered to be more to the west, moving air traffic from near the river, to be more over the Broad Street/Bushy Park area and from central Teddington to more over the edge of Bushy Park. The CPT route trial has been delayed until further notice.

SAM route existing (black) and trial (blue)

These trials are to test concepts to enable pilots to rely less on ground-based beacons and towards more resilient airborne technologies, also to reduce holding times at the airport and therefore departure delays.

Before the trials started local authorities, residents groups, campaign groups and MPs were informed of the details, but many Teddington residents are not aware that trials were taking place this year. Throughout the trials, Heathrow Airport is seeking feedback from residents to help shape the final airspace design. A public consultation in 2016 will help shape the final new design of Heathrow airspace.

[Update 04/09/2014] To see who might be finding aircraft better or worse during the trial, post below or tweet @Teddington_Town with your road name or postcode and whether you feel noise for you has improved or got worse since the end of July.

*Please don’t base this on just one night’s noise – the weather has exaggerated recent evenings plane noise*. The results of this feedback will be marked on this map.

[Update 09/09/2014] Even before a public consultation is announced, Heathrow have asked that feedback is sent to noise_complaints@heathrow.com including your name, address, postcode and phone number if you feel you have been adversely affected by the easterly trials.

[Update 15/09/2014] More information can be found here including responses from Heathrow, maps showing the effect of the trials and a petition to sign.


52 thoughts on “Heathrow easterly departure routes trial

  • I’m (very) near Bushy Park, just off of Sandy Lane, and had no idea this was being trialled. They need to get better at making sure residents know – if they really *do* want residents’ opinions.

  • It might be worth linking to the Heathrow document


    As well as the change of route, it is likely that the flights will follow a much narrower track and be less dispersed than previously. This should allow Heathrow to reduce the number of people that are overflown (but those who are will receive more concentrated flights !).

    A similar RNAV trial(ADNID) at Gatwick which involved an early turn off the usual noise protected route caused widespread protest as a sudden stream of planes awoke the village of Warnham which was not expecting them !

    I believe the preliminary discussions on the trial noted that the flightpaths should result in planes being further away from central Teddington.

    It is also possible that the new flightpaths may allow an increased rate of climb as one of the aims of RNAV routes is to design them to remove conflicts with other routes and permit earlier achievement of cruising levels. Planes thus might get higher more quickly – but this might result in the use of more thrust and more noise for those close to the airport…

    • Thanks Tim – wasn’t aware about the trial paths being more narrow, I can’t see this in the details posted online by Heathrow.

      PS the trial documents are linked in the article above (see bold links).

      • henderti

        Sorry, hadn’t realised the bold phrases were links !!

        The increased concentration/reduced dispersion on the westerly departure trial route (DOKEN) is shown well in the story at


        and in similar maps for the Gatwick ADNID trial (where someone compared the before situation to a “garden sprinkler” and the after situation to a directed “fire hose”).

        I guess that Teddington might be close enough to the airport for there to be relatively little dispersion under the old navigation system – but the effect might be noticeable if you are in the wrong place directly under the combined MID and SAM departures !

  • On the 27th August I recorded some 30 plains going over where I noticed some being particularly noisy. I was not aware of this trial and have started to record my own findings. You could even feel the earth shake; each plane nose lasted over 50 seconds and some were as close as 30 seconds apart. How long is this going to be going on for. It is affecting my sleep. Having the windows shut doesn’t make a huge difference in deadening the sound.

    Such a nice area of London, yet destroyed by air pollution and noise!!


  • Cambridge road – we feel it has been less noisy, we still see them but don’t hear as loudly or frequently. Has been cooler though so windows not open as much as in July..

  • At TW11 0HY (close to Queens Road) the noise has been very greatly increased on the evenings when this route has been used including tonight (9th). If this were to continue it would greatly adversely affect the quality of living here. Inevitably with the convenience of LHR nearby we must accept some aircraft noise and I guess everyone would prefer it to be anywhere except over their properties. I think the key question we all want to know is HOW OFTEN would such a route be used? Can someone say this please? If it were every day life would get unbearable; if it were part of one day a week with others taking the noise other days then that may be the price we pay for living here and be acceptable.

    I admit to not having done more than study the aircraft route maps. Is there a statement from LHR about the frequency were this route adopted please?

  • Amanda

    I have noticed the planes over Kingston Road – we are near the turning to Marston Road. Prior to this, at his address, we never heard the planes at all. I’ve lived in this area my whole life and so I am used to the plane noise but Kingston Road was my first home where we didn’t hear them at all – until now. I’d say the noise so far has not been too obtrusive.

  • Jeremy

    I’ve noticed planes all afternoon and evening over Teddington between Kingston Road and Elleray Road. One about every few minutes. This would be intolerable if it became frequent. Anyone affected should email noise_complaints@heathrow.com

  • Angela

    Far too many flights and far too much noise over Teddington directly. Was there any details sent to residents or how were we to know about this trial. The flights really are too low and too frequent, it would ruin life in this area.

  • Wendy

    We have noticed many more planes flying overhead, and at a lower altitude than before so the noise is much much louder. We work from home and home-school our son so the additional noise is very distracting. We live in Teddington, opposite the main gate into Bushy Park.

  • At Queens Road/Park Lane the noise levels are way beyond levels they have been before, the frequency of flight noise through the whole days is very distracting while trying to work from home. Annoyed that it seems that resident groups were not informed about this trial. Anyone affected should email noise_complaints@heathrow.com.

  • The noise over Clarence Road has definitely increased. Hardly used to notice the flights in the past but now get long passages of time where flight after flight seem to go almost directly over the house and the noise from the 4 engined beasts mean that its impossible to have a conversation in the garden. First time I’ve experienced this in my garden since Concorde stopped flying.

  • Teddington Hall and along Coleshill Rd – now 100 % worse -up until midnight and so much worse that ever – smashing up peoples peace and enjoyment of this beautiful part of the world – as for another runway – they must be joking !!

  • Queens Road. Much worse.
    My chief concern is the first and last flights. The last is now at 11:15 om and the first at 7am. Both of them wake up my whole family, which means less than 8 hours sleep every night.
    We were not consulted about any changes to the flight paths, and particularly a concentration over a specific area is unacceptable without consultation and reassurances of frequency etc.

  • Katherine

    We’re close to Strawberry Hill station (Spencer Road) and are really noticing a noise difference. Planes seemed both lower and more frequent and even with double glazing, the sound is intrusive.

  • colin ashwood

    Manor Road Tw11 8AA. Sat 13 Sept. 21.00 – 21.30 4 aircraft irregular intervals. 21.30 – 22.00 12 aircraft every 2 or 3 minutes. 22.00 – 23.00 23 aircraft every 2-3 minutes. 23.00 – 23.15 5 aircraft. Silence thereafter. Listening to video at a level not to annoy neighbour was able to listen uninterrupted. On days where wind direction and conditions different have to pause every 2 or 3 minutes to not lose dialogue. Still warm enough to have windows slightly open. Could solve the problem by closing windows and being stuffy.

  • Sarah van schuerbeck

    I live just off Stanley Road and myself and neighbours have been commenting in and questioning why the noise level has dramatically increased to the point that out two year old son can’t sleep. We had NO idea about the trial. Will be emailing immediately.

  • Ruth Thompson

    Harrowdene Gardens: Frequency of flights and subsequent noise levels is really noticeable -particularly the bigger jets taking off on international flights. Walking over to Richmond last week, the whole distance was marked by constant noise from flights.

  • V.Mathias

    We were totally unaware of this trial but it does explain why we have been disturbed by the increased number of flights and the accompanying noise both on the river and in Teddington

  • Carol

    Sitting here in Park Road, Hampton Wick on a Sunday morning with one flight after another going over… I’ve emailed noise_complaints@heathrow.com as requested. Please note that if you email them you need to include your name, address and phone number if you want your complaint registered.

  • Ray Foster

    I have read through the various comments regarding the excessive noise and I am in agreement. We have lived in Connaught Road for over 38 years and cannot remember such sustained periods of noise. I realise that it is not only because of the change in flight path but also the lengthy period of easterly winds (weather forecast for this week show easterly winds persisting for another 8 days!). However, the sheer number of flights directly overhead do become very wearing – interestingly, whilst I have not yet counted the number and frequency of flights the details recorded by Colin Ashwood would appear about right. I have lodged a complaint with Heathrow and may well repeat it during the week.

  • Daphne

    I too had no idea this trial was going on until I received this link from a friend. We live in Anlaby Road (just off Hampton Road) and I knew that we were on the flight path when there are easterly winds but had also noticed we seem to be getting far more planes directly overhead of late (they are roaring overhead every couple of minutes as I type). As some of the earlier comments stated, being kept awake until 11.15pm then woken up again at 6.10 in the morning when they start again every night is intolerable!

  • Andrew Grainger Warboys

    Thank you for making us aware of what is happening, the noise in Twickenham is quite unacceptable at the moment, I have emailed my complaint to the link you posted.

  • Victor Road/Stanley Road – We didn’t know about these trials either and the noise is unbearable.

  • We live in Connaught road and the noise is constant and unbearable tonight (plus been bad for the last few days). Really hope it is temporary 🙁

  • Sophie Waite

    I had commented to friends recently that the noise from the planes was worse recently and they were flying lower. I was informed on Friday re the trial routes. This weekend the frequency, level of noise and the fact they are so low has driven me mad. Also it started before 7 am today and nkw is past 11 pm and they are still flying! All I hope is that this does not become the route. I have written an email to Heathrow noise complaints. I live on Kingston Lane in Teddington

  • An Angry Resident

    Church Road/Broad Street.
    Unbearably noisy from 6:30am (when the first 4 engine one takes off) until midnight for the last two weeks on almost (but not quite) every day. I dont mind the small ones that can just be heard with the windows open, but I do object to the large, low flying 4 engine planes that can be heard with the windows closed.

    I have complained via the Heathrow website: http://www.heathrowairport.com/noise/help/make-an-enquiry

    I don’t mind planes taking off to the east because the wind is from the east, as this is normal, but rarely happens. I didnt even mind the monster that was concorde rattling my windows twice a day.

    What I do mind is Heathrow intimidating people in South West London with plane noise. I strongly suspect that they are using the trial to deliberatly drive up complaints and will use the data during the enquiry into the proposed new runway by saying that the new runway will remove the need for routine use of the easterly take off pattern.

  • Natalie

    Arlington Road, Teddington.
    This last week, including today, has been a the worst yet! Every couple of minutes, really loud and as early as 6am and as late as 11.25pm. I live where I live….but not if this continues.

  • St Marks Road TW11
    Very loud and low planes going over about 0630 and up until and just after midnight.
    I have complained to Heathrow and also email Vince Cable to see what he can do formally.

  • Munster Rd TW11. Last night 14/09/2014 planes taking off woke up my baby!! And they kept on until about 11.30pm. This morning was bad too 15/09/2014. If nothing changes after the trail we are moving. Horrendous.

  • MASSIVE increase in level and frequency of noise over Lincoln Avenue, Twickenham, TW2 6NL. Have always had a few hours of take-offs over us, every few days or so, but it has been all day and every day recently. Complaint (first ever) sent to Heathrow. Their arrogance in making such massive changes without consultation or even informing us is breathtaking. I have always supported the idea of an airport at Heathrow and, like many of those commenting, have always accepted some aircraft noise, etc. They have now undermined that support. I fail to see how they can make such a fundamental (and utterly unanticipated) change in such a high-handed manner.

  • Does anyone know if there is a petition that our comments can go on?

  • Lizzie Perks

    Plane noise is much, much worse in recent weeks and I had no idea about the trial – so had no opportunity to object!

  • Tony Baird

    I live at the Hampton Hill end of Bushy Park and have found the increased plane noise to be a real nuisance. Plane noise has always been bad in this area but since these trials it has become considerably worse. It is sometimes impossible to have a telephone conversation and television dialogue is lost. In addition the aeroplane noise starts very early in the morning and does not finish until late at night, causing sleep disruption.

  • Rosemary Scoular

    We have noticed considerably increased noise and frequency over the last few weeks, and several other local friends have commented too. We’re in Windsor Road TW11 0SG. I’ve signed the petition and will email Heathrow with our complaint as well.

  • Chris Foley

    Clearly HAH have done as little as is – I assume – legally possible to market these trials. I can only hope that the unbearable noise levels suffered by Twickenham/Teddington residents over the last week is reflected in the number of complaints registered. Our lives are being ruined by this disgrace.

    • henderti

      I believe the trial process should be that laid down in the DfT Guidance to the CAA on the Environmental Objectives relating to the exercise of its Air Navigation Functions :


      What do you make of :
      Consultation arrangements for temporary airspace arrangements and operational airspace trials

      9.10 Due to the short term nature of temporary airspace changes and airspace trials, it will usually not be necessary or appropriate for the airspace change sponsor to consult on their proposals or to undertake the airspace change approval process. However, the likely impact of the proposed change on the environment should be considered by the sponsor prior to implementation and this information used to help the CAA to determine whether a proportionate consultation is required.

      I interpret this as meaning that
      a) the sponsor of the trial (? Heathrow / NATS ) should prepare a document on the likely impact of the trial

      b) this should be given to CAA

      c) CAA should use this information to decide on what consultation is appropriate.and inform the sponsor of what should be done before granting approval for the trial to go ahead.

      I believe it would be useful if the documents supporting this decision tree were released :


  • Cassandra king

    We are on the middle area of victor road Teddington. The noise has become unbearable. I can’t even have a conversation in our garden now and be heard. And they are flying very low and very frequently. It is almost impossible for our child to sleep currently. Today I have looked online about this and this is the first time I have heard anything about these trials. It is shocking we haven’t been told. I work currently from home and so have no respite from this.

  • Bryony Pemberton

    Considerably worse – causing daughter to regularly wake as a result!

    Coleshill Road TW11 0LL

  • nicola hill

    I am in cambridge crescent and am woken early every morning by the planes flying over my house. I can no longer sleep with the windows open. there seems to be one plane every 30 seconds.

  • Paula M

    I’ve lived in Winchendon Rd (TW11 0SU) for 15 years and never minded the aircraft noise, but the last few weeks have been horrendous, woken up at 6.30 every morning and planes continually flying low over our roof! Residents were not told about this trial at all so if council leaders, MPs etc were warned, they didn’t pass it on!

  • Norbert Wirth

    Blandford Road: getting more noise here! All family members waking up from increased noise.

  • Matthew Gorman of Heathrow Airport states that there may be ‘a bit more noise’ in this area during the trials. There is a LOT more noise, sometimes almost continual. I live near Bushy Park which has just been declared a site of special scientific interest – please don’t let its tranquillity be spoilt.

  • Sarah

    Victor Raod (TW11 8SR) has had significantly more plane noise over the last few weeks – loud enough to require us to pause conversation while a double glazed house with the windows closed. Not acceptable in the long term. Have registered complaint with noise_complaints@heathrow.com and also signed the petition.

  • Briand Beausoleil

    Church Road Teddington, Living here 5 years and never had so much noise. We would get the odd 2-3 days when they would fan eastward but that was acceptable. This is relentless.

    Been counting planes. 6:31am Sat Sept 21 all day till 11:15pm. In one short email written, I counted 9 planes in the span of less than 12 minutes.

    It’s all day. Didn’t think too much of it initially but is has gotten increasingly worse and started noticing it more after August. Very hard to do anything when planes fly over – sleep, read, watch tv, study. The kids are woken by them. I see that Teddington is smack in the middle of all the paths where they start to diverge. Moved from Kew to get rid of this type of noise. This can wreck the neighbourhood.

  • Nick Kisch

    Blandford Road,
    Since August, Heathrow Airport increase in flight frequency has make aircraft noise at my home unacceptable.
    Especially into the late evening, making it hard to think let alone read, watch TV, listen to the radio or even heaven forbid sit in my garden.
    Plane noise is incessant still going over as late as 11.45p.m within 1.5 minutes of each other. Then starting up again at 6.30 a.m. Taxing in the extreme.
    Do we have to put up with another 3 months of this?

  • Dr. JM

    Dear Fellow Teddington Residents,

    FYI – I have just emailed the complaint below through to the noise control people at Heathrow, having failed to get any sensible and comprehensive feedback on previous occasions.

    Dear Sir or Madam,

    Today has been another day of fine weather, ruined for my neighbours, family and I living in TW11. This is because of the large number of low flying and excessively noisy planes taking off over our heads at very regular intervals since before 07.00.

    The noise has – at times – been so bad that we have had to keep all windows and doors closed and conversation in the garden has been impossible. For example, in mid afternoon a British Airways jet flew over our houses so low that it was possible to see the passengers in the window seats clearly. An app on a friend’s phone measured the decibels of this plane at 86 dh.

    This trial of changes to the easterly take off routes, converging both routes 4 & 5 to take off over this area, is causing considerable distress to a very large number of residents. Many of us who have gone from living in an area with a reasonable amount of aircraft noise from 32 planes – when the easterly route was in use – to being plagued by the noise of 142 planes a day in the same conditions.

    As I am sure you are aware, medical evidence clearly shows that noise pollution at this level is very bad for both the physical and mental health of residents beneath the flight path.

    I would therefore request that you stop this trial with immediate effect, following the same principles by which medical trials which are clearly having an adverse effect on the health of participants are closed down prematurely for ethical and humane reasons.

    I look forward to receiving your comments on this matter.

    Signature and full contact details

    I would add that I am very surprised that this trial has not yet been stopped, given that it is clearly having such adverse effects on a lovely neighbourhood on each and every day that the easterly route is in use.

    We have lived here for more than 30 years and had become reconciled to some aircraft noise when the easterly take off route was in use, but the current changes are oppressive, unjust and very harmful to everyone in our town.

    I have signed the petition and written to MP and councillors demanding some immediate action to stop this trial – and certainly to quash any ideas of making this new routing permanent.


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