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The issue of helicopter noise in the local area has come to the fore following the publication of evidence given by Wandsworth Council to a recent meeting to discuss the matter.

The council has called on the Government to launch a strategic review of helicopter activity in London.

In its evidence to the London Assembly environment committee hearing on helicopter noise the council said it was unfair on local residents that Battersea remained the only heliport in central London. Battersea was in the worst possible place for a heliport on the Heathrow approach - this meant helicopters were constrained from flying higher. With a new helipad opened in Upminster and one proposed for the City traffic is likely to increase.

The council said it would be approaching the heliport operators with a proposal for a local consultative committee on the Heathrow model. This would be open to local authorities with residents affected by helicopter noise.

The council called for a single point of contact for all noise complaints. Currently reports are made to a variety of bodies including the Civil Aviation Authority, the British Helicopter Advisory Board, local councils and the heliport itself. The lack of any coherent system meant there was no robust data available on the extent of the nuisance caused by helicopter noise.

On the 'polluter pays' principle there was an argument for the responsibility for complaints handling and noise monitoring being placed with the heliport and subjected to independent scrutiny.

Council leader Edward Lister said, "Since the council instigated its own online complaints service this summer it has become clear just how widespread the frustration is with the apparent lack of effective controls over noisy helicopters. People just have no confidence that if they report a complaint it will be acted upon. It is clear from our own evidence and today's hearing that helicopter activity creates a noise nuisance for people in places like Battersea, Putney and Fulham but also out to the east in Greenwich."

July 18, 2006