Over the next two years, enduring night-time noise described as being at “unacceptable levels” is projected to plague residents in the vicinity of Heathrow Airport, given the imminent runway maintenance work, according to activists within the community.
Heathrow, the UK’s most frequented airport, has initiated routine repair work on its runways. This is the type of maintenance activity that is typically undertaken approximately every ten years.
The resultant effect of this necessary work will be a switch up of flight patterns and runway changes during the night-time hours at the west London airport.
In response to concerns, Heathrow officials have pledged to curtail the noise to the lowest levels attainable.
The consequences of these changes indicate that the flights departing later than 22:30 and taking off before 6:00 from Sunday evening through to Friday morning will be obligated to land on a single runway, as per details disclosed by the airport.
During standard operating times, the airport alternates runways in a campaign to give residents a break from the incessant noise.
The essential work got underway on Monday and is envisioned to be fully completed by the summer of 2025.
In the initial phase of this major project as outlined by the airport, all aircraft will be required to use the northern runway five nights each week. The conventional alternation of runways will be upheld on Friday and Saturday nights.
This significant shift has sparked unease amongst the campaigning group ‘Stop Heathrow Expansion’. The group asserts that residents directly under certain flight paths stand to be severely impacted.
The group also indicated that residents situated under the flight paths of the northern runway would be offered almost no relief from night-time noise during the early stage of the work, followed in subsequent stages by those living under the paths of the southern runway flights.
Justine Bayley, chair of the campaigning group, expressed her frustration noting that whilst they accept the runways require resurfacing every decade or so, it is disconcerting that the work is expected to take so long to complete.
She further added that it is likely numerous residents around the airport will find their slumber disrupted for an extended period.
Moreover, Bayley criticized the airport for its evident lack of communication with residents about the impending works on the runway.
In defense, a spokesperson for Heathrow claimed that it had maintained communication lines through various channels. These include community forums, local authorities, and newsletters disseminated since March.