June 22, 2015
A group of prominent London MPs have launched a new website and campaign about possible new flight paths over London at an event in Parliament.
At the centre of the campaign is a map produced using Heathrow Airport’s figures showing the swathes (the areas either side of the centreline of the flighpath where aircraft can be expected to fly) associated with ‘noise preferential routes’ if a third runway was built.
The campaign’s aim is to raise awareness of the number of people who could be newly overflown if a decision is taken to build a third runway at Heathrow. The Airports Commission indicate that over a hundred thousand people could be overflown for the first time, but the campaign believes this is an underestimate with the true figure running into the hundreds of thousands.
The extent of the area that could be under new flight paths was highlighted by current London mayor Boris Johnson who referred to London being “painted blue” by the swathes.
The campaign is being spearheaded by London Mayoral hopeful Zac Goldsmith with support from senior politicians including Justine Greening and Boris Johnson. The event in Parliament highlighted the cross-party opposition to a new runway with speakers including Labour’s John McDonnell MP, the Lib Dems’ Tom Brake and the Green Party’s Baroness Jenny Jones.
One of our main concerns with the Airports Commission’s analysis, as highlighted in our recent briefing, is its reliance on indicative flight paths. Many newly exposed populations, at both Heathrow and Gatwick, would only find out the exact location of flightpaths, and what noise impacts these would have, after a decision on a new runway was taken.