Heathrow airport is the busiest airport in Great Britain and in the world with 70 million travellers each year flying to over 180 destinations around the globe. Statistics show that there are around 650 take offs from the 80 airlines that run through Heathrow, so needless to say, there is a certain amount of noise pollution within the area surrounding Heathrow airport.
“Noise Preferential Routes”
For people living near airports, aviation noise is a big problem. The Government recognise that balance is needed between the negative environmental impacts that aircraft noise has and the benefits that the aviation industry has on the economy. To combat this, they established the Noise Preferential Routes in UK airports in the 1960’s which was done by drawing up a departure procedure that would minimise noise pollution for the residents within the vicinity. To do this, the aircrafts are given a 3km wide departure route and are followed by the aeroplane up to 4000ft high and they are given a specified number of departures and landings each year between the hours of 11pm and 6am to help reduce disruption for the surrounding residents.
In December 2013, trials started at Heathrow to reduce the NPR’s which included narrower corridors and new flight paths; this was mainly due to the fact that many thought that the current NPR’s had minimal structure. These trials have caused incessant problems with residents in surrounding areas, especially with those who have found that their area is now included in a flight path when it wasn’t previous to the trials, such as Ascot in Berkshire. Other areas that have been affected are Slough, Twickenham, Greenford and Hayes and the air traffic is only set to increase due to the reopening of Terminal 2 which has been recently renovated.
Criticism of Heathrow’s trials have spread across counties with inhabitants of the Berkshire-Surrey border seemingly being affected worst of all. Residents of Lightwater, Sunningdale, Bagshot, Sandhurst and Camberley have all complained to Heathrow about the disruption which has resulted in the trials being temporarily halted. Even though Heathrow have stated that there has been no change in flight times, residents were left frustrated at the increase of noise level at early hours in the morning from low flying aircrafts.
Despite the amount of complaints, trials will resume in 2015 where the results will be presented to the government in 2016. The government claim to be basing the results of the new flight paths on the effect of the noise pollution to the areas and the beneficial impact it will have on the economy, only then will permanent changes be made.
Staying at Heathrow
Staying near the airport can sometimes cause concern for some travellers who are worried about the noise of the landing and departing airlines. One way to combat this is to use sites such as TripAdvisor; this will allow you to read unbiased reviews on customers’ experiences at the hotels such as the service, the food, the rooms and the area. By reading these, not only will you know the best hotel to cater for your needs, but also if the noise pollution from the airport will affect your stay.
Below are a very small selection of airport hotels which have been given 5* reviews from customers and are guaranteed to allow you to enjoy your visit in peace and solitude.
The Park Grand London Heathrow gateway is situated just off the A4 and is 5 miles away from Heathrow airport and half an hour from the centre of London. It is a brand new Best Western hotel and is packed with 124 rooms that exude comfort, a fine dining restaurant and a bar to enjoy a nice, relaxing drink. Most of the reviews were in agreement that the service from the staff was exceptional, making them feel incredibly welcome, and that the hotel was extremely quiet considering it was placed next to a motorway and 20 minutes from the busiest airport in the world. They state that it was a very quiet and relaxing break for them and many have come back to the Park Grand London Heathrow gateway for a repeat experience.
The Arora Hotel is 5 minutes away from the Heathrow Terminals and has been praised by online reviews of the peace and tranquility that customers experienced when they stayed here. With 350 rooms ranging from Superior, Premier and Family accommodation, a grill, a bar and a gym, it has been praised for its customer service and its parking, which can be used for up to 8 days. Despite being minutes from the Terminals, many patrons have commented that the hotel is a very quiet place to stay.
The next few years will be critical in terms of the approval of the residents living underneath the new flight paths; if a compromise can’t be met, it may restrict further development in the aviation field and, considering that Heathrow is the busiest in the world, it may take a lot of negotiation.