No To 'Incessant' Noise at Heathrow

Council urges BAA boss Colin Matthews to abandon support for mixed mode ops

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The call from Wandsworth Council comes after BA boss Willie Walsh himself said the system will not work at the airport.

Currently, borough residents living under the flightpath get a half-day’s respite from aircraft noise when approaching planes switch runways at 3pm – a system known as runway alternation.

Mixed mode, which allows Heathrow to use both of its runways for taking off and landing at the same time, was tested earlier this year – and a further trial started at the weekend.

The second phase of the airport’s operational freedom trials allows a limited number of flights to land out of alternation each day as a means of improving resilience.

Leader of Wandsworth Council, Councillor Ravi Govindia, said: “Mixed mode has always been seen by the pro-expansion lobby at Heathrow as a stepping stone to a third runway. It is essentially a surrogate form of expansion which would damage the health and well-being of hundreds of thousands of west Londoners.

He continued:
“Surely now that BA’s boss has publically admitted mixed mode won’t work, Mr Matthews – who has expressed doubts about the system in the past – should finally consign it to the annals of history and give our residents a reprieve from incessant aircraft noise.”

The call to bring about an end to mixed mode is supported by the leaders of Wandsworth, Richmond, Hounslow and Hillingdon councils.

The Coalition Government has vowed to retain the protection provided by runway alternation and each of the four councils expects to see this confirmed in the aviation policy statement due later this month.

July 5, 2012