August 18, 2016
Heathrow Airport clear winner at the Noise Olympics, for the largest number affected by plane noise!
Heathrow was the clear winner of the Noise Olympics staged by campaign group HACAN in Ravenscourt Park in Hammersmith. The event was a 100 metres race, with 8 runners (representing the 7 European airports which overfly most people plus Gatwick), each wearing t-shirts with the airport name and the number living within the 55 Lden noise contours. Heathrow received its medal, in the form of golden ear-defenders, from the local MP Andy Slaughter. The silver ear-defenders went to Frankfurt and the bronze to Charles De Gaulle. Heathrow won the race because it overflies more people than any other airport in Europe. According to European Commission figures over 725,000 residents are overflown which is 28% of all people in Europe disturbed by aircraft noise. That figure is from 2006, which is the most recent data available, though another estimate was 756,000. However, many people are affected by plane noise outside that contour, making the real numbers even higher. HACAN chair John Stewart said, "This was a fun way of showing that Heathrow is already in a noise league of its own. Residents are very worried what a 3rd runway with an extra 250,000 flights a year will mean." There are estimates of how many more would be affected with expansion - perhaps another quarter of a million people, but until detailed flight path routes are known, this can only be an estimate.
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