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Noise: Heathrow Airport Flight Paths

Transport – in the House of Commons on 12th March 2020.

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Photo of Matthew Pennycook Matthew Pennycook Labour, Greenwich and Woolwich

What plans he has to reduce the number of people affected by aircraft noise living (a) near and (b) under Heathrow airport flight paths.

Photo of Kelly Tolhurst Kelly Tolhurst Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

The Government’s airspace modernisation programme should allow aircraft to climb more quickly and descend continuously, which will have a noticeable noise reduction benefit for communities overflown by Heathrow flights.

Photo of Matthew Pennycook Matthew Pennycook Labour, Greenwich and Woolwich

I thank the Minister for that answer. She will know that 70% of the aircraft that arrive at Heathrow do so via what is known as westerly operations, involving a final approach over my constituency and others in south London. Given the concerns about noise on the part of those living under these flight paths, can the Minister tell the House whether the Bill on modernising our airspace that the Government have committed to will include provisions aimed at reducing the concentration of flight paths and mandating measures to reduce arrival noise?

Photo of Kelly Tolhurst Kelly Tolhurst Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his question, and I understand his concerns. Airspace modernisation is intended to reduce the amount of noise per flight for those living under concentrated flight paths. However, there is a risk that they may experience more noise than currently. Whether this is the case will depend on the final routes proposed by airports, including any respite routes, and on the outcomes of consultation with local people, and I expect he will be very vocal at that time.