The background to our campaign

Heathrow is hungry for a third runway. They have been doggedly looking to expand for years, in spite of their promises to the contrary. But did you know that even without a third runway, the airport also plans to increase its capacity by routing some of its final approach paths over Ealing & Acton?

If not, then read on to find out more.

New arrival flight paths

Most of us living and working in the borough know that planes take-off over our neighbourhood around one day in three – typically when the wind is from the east. On other days, planes arrive over central London, joining their final approach paths over Barnes, Chiswick and Kew. Unless you live in the very south of Ealing & Acton, these arrival flights are not very disruptive.

Heathrow is now planning to change its arrival flight paths, even if a third runway is not approved. Areas not previously overflown will be subjected to unprecedented levels of noise and pollution. This will mean low-flying noisy and polluting arrival flights, starting in just three years time.

Heathrow’s own figures state that their new flight paths will mean

  • up to 25 flights directly between 05:50 and 06:50 am– one plane every 2-3 minutes
  • a possible 40 further low-flying arrival flights a day after 7:00 am, with continuing noise and disruption well into the evening
  • very high noise levels, likely to wake most people up
  • 25,000 further flights a year into Heathrow

New Guidance Technology

Heathrow are able to do this by exploiting new guidance technology. The technical term for this type of flight path management is Independent Parallel Approach, or IPA. Teddington Action Group have an excellent explanation of how this will work here.

If you believe you have a right to the peaceful enjoyment of your home and neighbourhood, you can still object to Heathrow’s plans. The airport must carry out a consultation before submitting a proposal to the Civil Aviation Authority to make these changes.

We believe that this consultation will take place in 2020, for submission to the Civil Aviation Authority in 2021 and implementation in 2022.

When we know more, we’ll update our site consultation page. In the meantime, encourage your neighbours, friends and colleagues to get involved. Sign up to our social media to keep informed. And read below about the impact of the third runway on Ealing Borough, for which there is a different consultation, starting in mid June this year.

Ealing Borough and the third runway

As if all the above wasn’t bad enough, Heathrow’s real aspiration is to build a third runway, to the north of the existing two. This will create a new arrivals flight path along Chiswick High Road, past Gunnersbury Park and over Brentford. Planes joining this new arrivals flight path will include those using the Independent Parallel Approach paths described above – but in very much greater numbers.

Heathrow expects a third runway to increase its capacity from 480,000 flights a year to around 740,000 a year – a further 700 flights a day. Many of these will arrive at their final approach having flown over Ealing & Acton.

There is lots of information elsewhere on the enormous impact of a third runway on West London – including the impact of noise, surface transport congestion and pollution, the contribution of aviation emissions to climate change, and the poor financial case being made for expansion. Do visit our other campaigns page here to find out more about these issues, and the other campaigns involved in this fight.

Consultation in June

Of course, as with their proposed flight path changes, Heathrow must consult with us on their plans for a third runway. They will do this during their consultation process starting in mid June this year. 

If you feel strongly about the impact Heathrow’s plans may have on your peaceful enjoyment of your home and neighbourhood, then engage with them through their consultation process:

  • visit their consultation events
  • fill in and submit a consultation form – there’s more information here
  • stay informed by signing up to our social media
  • tell your friends, neighbours and colleagues about us

And of course, do see our home page for more ideas on how you can help.