Heathrow's got a new approach for winning over local residents: A free noise insulation upgrade

Rebecca Smith
Residents close to the airport have been offered upgrades to their noise insulation
Residents close to the airport have been offered upgrades to their noise insulation (Source: Getty)

Heathrow is on the charm offensive with residents local to the airport.

The London airport, which is hoping to build a third runway to alleviate capacity restraints, has been taking measures to address local concerns about environmental and noise pollution.

Read more: More runways needed for London airports' capacity crunch, say businesses

Today it announced it is offering free noise insulation to more than 700 residents after a successful pilot scheme, to allow those living near the airport, and most affected by aircraft noise, to upgrade their home's noise insulation. Among the areas covered by the scheme are North Feltham, Bedfont, Cranford, Colnbrook, Harmondsworth and Stanwell North.

As for how the households involved were chosen: the selection was based on an independent noise appraisal expert, according to Heathrow. Those eligible for the insulation have already been advised.

A pilot back in 2014 ran in three zones around the airport chosen by the level of noise from the overflight of aircraft, and now a total of 708 homes, in addition to the 474 fitted during the pilot scheme, will be eligible to apply for free noise insulation.

The airport said residents will be offered a range of products with a choice of suppliers, and once registered, will be contacted to arrange a time to carry out a free noise assessment.

Read more: Half of Heathrow's 25,000 noise complaints were made by 10 people

The airport received over 100,000 noise complaints for the total of 2016, with 25,672 made in the last three months of the year and half of those submitted by 10 people.

According to official data, the airport received 101,025 complaints in 2016, though that was a decrease on the 2015 total of 108,225.

Matt Gorman, Heathrow’s sustainability director, said:

Our noise insulation programmes are an essential part of our efforts to become a better, quieter neighbour.

That is why – in addition to incentivising airlines to use the quietest planes and operate them as quietly as possible – we are re-opening our quieter homes scheme. We look forward to working closely with the people and communities around us to help improve their quality of life.

Heathrow said that the assessment and completion of the tailored noise insulation for all of the households may take up to four years to finish.

Last month, the airport said it will now publish a league table every three months about airlines' emissions and noise, with Israel's flag carrier El Al recently ranked as the dirtiest and noisiest carrier to use Heathrow.

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