EANAG seeks to limit and diminish disturbance from aircraft flying over Ealing. The borough is particularly affected by flights out of Heathrow during easterly operations, which are in force when the wind is blowing from the east. During easterly operations, planes take off from Heathrow towards Ealing and central London, and overfly much of the borough on a major flightpath from Norwood Green over south Hanwell, Northfields, south and central Ealing and parts of Acton.
When the wind remains in the east, or largely in the east, for the whole day, the flightpath is used from about 6.45am to about 11.45pm without a break, and at the rate of some 20 planes an hour overhead. Life and work in the borough's homes, schools and businesses are continually disrupted by aircraft noise. It interrupts conversation, thought and sleep and prevents residents from enjoying their gardens and the local parks.
In addition to the noise, the planes generate air pollution and pose a safety risk. Heathrow also gives rise to secondary effects such as congestion on public transport and the roads.
EANAG aims to minimise these effects by pursuing eight campaign goals:
1. Prevent further expansion of capacity
EANAG is against all expansion of capacity at Heathrow. Expansion would exacerbate the noise and disturbance experienced by Ealing residents.
2. Eliminate night flights There are invariably some delayed departures after 11.30pm, and when the airport is on easterly operations these wake Ealing residents, or keep them awake later than they would wish. The weekly number of night flights is distributed to the Heathrow Airport Consultative Committee (HACC) two or three times a year, and EANAG raises objections at the HACC meeting when there have been a large number of departures at night.
EANAG campaigns to reduce and then abolish night flights at Heathrow.
There is a quota of permitted flights between 11.30pm and 6am, of 3250 flights in the summer period and 2550 in winter. Some landing flights are scheduled between 11.30pm and 6am, 16 of them arriving between 4am and 6am, and these overfly at least half a million people, more than are overflown at night in any other city in Europe. Some European airports close entirely at night, and others which remain open are much further from centres of population than Heathrow.
The remainder of the quota is mostly taken up by delayed flights. However, it is possible for both the Department for Transport (DfT) and BAA to disregard a departure when the delay is due to bad weather or other circumstances beyond the airline’s control. EANAG believes that the practice of disregarding such flights, and not counting them against the quota, should be abolished, and that all such flights should count against a reduced quota from the start of the new night flight regime. The current regime was due to end in October 2012, but has been extended for 2 years to October 2014. The government launched its consultation regarding the new night flights regime in January 2013 (see News page and Current Issues page).
It is generally accepted that 11.30pm is too late as the start of the night period. Like other environmental organisations, EANAG believes that the night period should run from 11pm to 7am, with no scheduled departures after 11pm. Most late night departures over Ealing are heavy long-haul flights which are very noisy.
3. Reduce Heathrow operations
Heathrow is used at 99% capacity. This should be reduced for reasons of safety and resilience as well as for the sake of surrounding residents. EANAG welcomes the admission by BAA that the current limit of 480,000 flights annually cannot realistically be increased.
4. Reduce the level of aircraft noise
Ensure that the government imposes the EU Environmental Noise Directive level of 55 Lden as the onset of recognised disturbance for aircraft noise. The EU level is an improvement on the much more restricted level of 57 dba Leq which has been used up to now by the Department for Transport / BAA , and which excludes the Ealing area.
EANAG's mid-term aim is to improve the environment of everyone suffering noise at 50 Lden, primarily by reducing the noise along with mitigation where appropriate.
See our further information page for more information on these noise measurements.
5. Distribute the flightpath
Flightpaths near the airport are along "noise preferential routes" (NPRs), which are usually designed to take the aircraft over areas of low population. However, the flightpaths east of the Heathrow, used when the airport is on easterly operations, cannot avoid large numbers of people, because the area is so densely populated. EANAG believes that noise should be distributed equitably across the NPR.
6. Alleviate congestion to and from Heathrow
60% of users of Heathrow arrive by private car or taxi. This compares unfavourably with most major European airports. The high number of car journeys to and from Heathrow contributes substantially to air pollution and increasing congestion in West London boroughs, including Ealing. Although our tube and rail services carry less than 40% of users to and from Heathrow, the Heathrow branch of the Piccadilly line suffers from overcrowding with tubes being packed with people and luggage by the time they get to Ealing.
Our response is to push for :-
a) fewer aircraft using Heathrow
b) improved public transport
c) incentivising Heathrow passengers to use Heathrow Express
7. Improve air quality
A recent MIT report calculated that UK airports contribute to 110 early deaths across the country, of which 50 were due to Heathrow alone. Adding a third runway would treble this figure to 150. These figures do not include pollution from traffic. The GLA report 'Plane Speaking' noted that 61% of passenger travel to / from Heathrow was in private cars and taxis, and that 30% of the traffic on major routes near Heathrow was airport-related. It went on to say that, according the GLA modelling, areas in inner London and around Heathrow would continue to exceed EU limits for nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which is of particular concern because of its impact on health, despite actions being taken to improve air quality. Thus the levels of pollution associated with Heathrow pose a health risk to residents locally, as well as adding to climate change.
8. Secure subsidised sound-proofing
Ealing homes, public buildings and businesses are not eligible for BAA’s sound-proofing scheme, yet we suffer very badly from aircraft noise and should be able to use the scheme for installation of double-glazing and other measures. EANAG have responded to the review of noise mitigation schemes at Heathrow.