Aircraft noise has no impact on the majority of Londoners who took part in a survey conducted by the GLA, but most of those taking part were aware of the proposal to expand Heathrow, currently awaiting government approval.
The GLA used its regular phone poll of 1,000 people to ask to what extent daily life is affected by aircraft noise. A third said not at all and a further 28% said that they hardly noticed it.
7% of those asked said it had an adverse impact, with 3% saying it caused very significant impact, sometimes disrupting their sleep. If that 7% is converted into a proportion of the current population that’s around 600,000 people
But the low rate of concern about noise from the majority will be unwelcome to those campaigning against the expansion of Heathrow. The Airport Commission, set up to determine the expansion of airport provision for London and the South East recommended in July that Heathrow should grow.
The Mayor, Boris Johnson, is opposed to the plan and the Conservative chosen to try to replace him, Zac Goldsmith, has been a leading critic. Mr Goldsmith, who is the MP for Richmond Park, an area on the flight path, published a map which he said showed how noise from an expanded Heathrow could affect around 1 million Londoners. The results of this survey suggest that concern may currently be falling on deaf ears.
In delivering its verdict the Airport Commission acknowledged the noise pollution problems of a bigger Heathrow where a plane currently takes off or lands every 45 seconds. While is said that expansion of Heathrow was the clear choice because it delivered far larger economic benefits it hedged it bets by saying that Gatwick’s expansion plan was also “credible’.
The decision was given to the Government and is expected this autumn.