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Heathrow announces early cancellation of current airspace trials

NewsHeathrow announced today that it will be ending the current airspace trials on two months early, on the 12th November 2014.

This is in light of residents feedback (thanks to all those that signed the petition and included comments) and meetings with local groups, authorities and MPs. Yesterday we met with Heathrow to discuss the trials and their effect on the local community – full write-up of the meeting & other info will follow soon.

LHR then expressed their wish to end the trials early due to the massive number of complaints they had received but also needed to ensure enough data was recorded to have results analysed.

The reasons for not widely publicising the trials in advance included not wanting to skew results, also the first trial Jan-June this year only received just over 100 complaints. LHR thought feedback to the second trial would be similar numbers so thought there wouldn’t be a need for fuller notice. This trial’s complaint level reached over 500 in one day! One admission from Heathrow is that they will ensure all trial details are fully publicised in advance of any future ones, clearly Heathrow realise that the lack of communication angered local residents.

Matt Gorman, Heathrow Director of Sustainability and Environment:
“These trials are crucial in helping us develop ways to manage our airspace more effectively and to reduce noise from Heathrow. We do, however, appreciate that some residents will have experienced a temporary increase in noise as a result of these trials. The feedback we have received during the trials is very important to this process. We are always looking to minimise the disturbance residents may experience as a result of flights around Heathrow, and so we are pleased to have been able to work with NATS to bring an early end to the trials.”


0 thoughts on “Heathrow announces early cancellation of current airspace trials

  • Big thank you to the Teddington Town team for all the research and for giving us the opportunity to join together in collective voice. Proud to be part of such a strong local community! Roll on the 12th November…

    • The Colonel

      Seconded. If it hadn’t been for TT, most of us would probably still be unaware of exactly what was going on. The online petition sent a powerful message.
      (Anyone notice the subtle addition to the header picture?)

  • Thank you so much for all the hard work on this Teddington Town. What a fantastic result for the community, truly delighted!

  • Thank you so much for leading this campaign and for providing us with a united voice to achieve this fantastic result! Until I saw your campaign I had felt completely powerless and thought we just had to learn to live with the horrendous noise. You have really enabled democracy to work. Thank you, thank you!

  • Reblogged this on twickerati and commented:
    A useful update from Teddington Town on the recent Heathrow departure trials and the airport’s decision to bring them to an early close after significant adverse feedback from local residents (including the TT initiated petition), groups and MPs.

  • Very many thanks for your hard work – you have made a difference!
    Can’t wait for this nightmare to end – hopefully forever!

  • Although the trial has been shortened, if you are affected by increased flights, it is probably worth continuing to email Heathrow with dates/times/locations for flights for the remaining forty days. The reporting of the community effects from the previous operational freedom trials may give some clue as to how they will assess this one,. See Chapter 6 of


    (~9Mb ? I couldn’t find it on the Heathrow website where it was originally posted and the search engine there didn’t help. Fortunately the archive still has a copy !)

    It looks as if complaints from lots of people is treated more seriously than lots of complaints from a few – so encouraging neighbours might be worthwhile!

  • as above

    Plane noise is much worse in recent years. I would move tomorrow to get away from it.

  • Margaret

    Thank you Teddington Town. An amazing result, proving that we can change things by making our voices heard.

  • Frances Spurrier

    Thank you so much Teddington Town for all your efforts on behalf of the local community. This is a great result. However a word of caution in that Heathrow are currently making completely illogical and untrue claims on their website such as: ‘the lowest noise levels since the 1970s’ and ‘new flight paths to avoid most populated areas’. I do not think this is over yet.

    • Indeed it is not over. The whole argument that a third runway can be built while reducing population exposure to noise is based on using more concentrated flight paths. The technical submission to the Airports Commission at


      includes Appendix H showing indicative future flight paths for various options.Many of these appear to replicate the combined flight paths which have caused the issues. Some also show the Dover route that currently goes over Twickenham being moved southwards to overfly ? Teddington Lock…….

      • Frances Spurrier

        Thanks Tim I’ll look at that link. Also notice Heathrow is saying ‘By the time a third runway opens ….’ not ‘if’.

  • Natasha Fletcher

    Up until last week I really was suffering from the noise. I am supposing this complaint I sent fell on ‘deaf ears’ as (unsurprisingly) I didn’t receive a response!

    Hi there Heathrow Noise Complaints,
    I feel we’re getting to know each other well after all our correspondence in the last month. I understand you value my feedback, as you keep telling me, but not much has changed since last we exchanged pleasantries, so am starting to think are you fibbing me just a little?
    So, here I am, writing to you again, to keep you up to speed on how the noise from Heathrow’s trial /Easterly winds/ Wizard of Oz tornado/ have/has kept me awake this week:
    The planes woke me at 5.49am on Saturday morning. (Sat 11th October). Totally unacceptable. I guess you guys at LHR towers didn’t have 3 primary school kids to take across London that day, clad in Elsa costumes (and a random Gruffalo) to a ‘Sing-along-a-Frozen’, so you wouldn’t understand how brain numbing sleep deprivation can be when navigating innocent eyes through World Zombie Day on Leicester Square. And trying not to get sparkly capes caught in escalators at Waterloo.
    8am, Sunday 12th Oct. Yes, late for you, the Gods of random airport noise, (I know), but not really for me-wishing for the kind of lie-in I used to have after a hard week, before this new flight path appeared over our house. Before I had kids. Hell, before I was born. THAT kind of lie-in. Oh well, at least you woke us all up bright and early on my only morning ‘off’ in a week.
    Today, (15th October) 6.50 am. I’m getting used to these early mornings, bringing back fuzzy memories of when my third was a newborn, and found it hard to feed! Back then, at least Gossip Girl was on repeat on ITV2 and my hubbie decamped to another room giving me and mewling infant free-rein of the bedroom and the remote in to the early hours. Now, I lie, wide-eyed, sandwiched between an escaped limpet-like 3y/o and a snoring husband waiting to slumber again for a precious 45 minutes. But alas, that moment never comes. I cannot forgive you for that. And to cap it all, lest we forget you, you then start doing take offs really loudly at bed time again. They started up tonight, STILL the 15th October, (the day you woke me at 6.50am) at 22.25 really loudly and are continuing as I write, past 23.34.
    Is there to be no let up (before November 12th) to this relentless sleep deprivation during the hours we are entitled to have some rest? Why does there have to be disturbance at both ends of the day? Can you not alternate? I confess to having narcoleptically napped during an afternoon Doctor’s appointment and surreptitiously snoring on my daughter’s piano teacher’s couch the other day; but I can’t see this as a permanent solution and I dread to think if that might happen at the wheel. Are there no brain surgeons in this area or other worthier professionals who are being highly disrupted by this noise situation? Can they function like this or can they tell me where to buy better earplugs?
    My husband bought some state of the art noise cancelling headphones the other week, but they are a bit unwieldy and unattractive in bed.
    I cannot hide this feeling any longer, I am feeling neglected by you at this burgeoning point in our relationship. Please do not delay in your automated response. I hang on your every word.
    Yours Deliriously… xoxo


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