Over half of Heathrow's near 79,000 noise complaints last year came from 10 people

 
Rebecca Smith
The number of noise complaints at the airport was down on last year
The number of noise complaints at the airport was down on last year (Source: Getty)

Heathrow received 78,794 noise complaints last year, and 62 per cent of those were made by 10 people, according to new figures from the airport.

The 10 people who made the most complaints last year accounted for 48,562 complaints, while 2,775 individuals filed a complaint over 2017.

Some 1,566 complainants contacted Heathrow once, while 10 people complained over 1,280 times last year.

Read more: Airlines threaten to withdraw support of Heathrow expansion over charges

Richmond upon Thames had the highest number of people making complaints to the airport at 734, but was trumped by Slough in terms of the number of complaints made.

Over 20,000 complaints came from 36 people in Slough last year, while 6,906 complaints came from Richmond.

John Stewart, chair of campaign group HACAN which looks to tackle noise from the airport, said:

The general picture which emerges, despite half the complaints coming from a few very desperate individuals, is that Heathrow continues to cause a lot of people noise problems.

For most communities the big concern is the number of planes passing overhead in a day. Part of the solution may be to share the noise around a bit so each area gets a guaranteed break from the noise every day.

The overall number of complaints for the year was down by more than a fifth on 2016's total, which had topped 101,000.

A Heathrow spokesperson said: “Due to the introduction of incentives encouraging airlines to deploy their newest, cleanest and quietest aircraft and in addition to tough rules and regulations, Heathrow’s noise footprint has shrunk year-on-year.

"However, we know that aircraft noise is a source of disturbance for some local residents and we continue to work with the industry to find innovative new ways to reduce the impact of our operations, while safeguarding the connectivity and economic benefits that Heathrow provides.”

The airport has begun a league table ranking its airlines by noise, and recently announced it would be increasing environmental charges to encourage airlines to use cleaner and quieter aircraft. Environmental charges increased by seven per cent this month.

Next week, Heathrow will publish its public planning consultation for expansion as it looks to convince with plans it has billed as more affordable. Airlines have warned that support for the third runway relies on passenger charges staying the same or being lowered after expansion.

Read more: Heathrow reveals the latest rankings of its cleanest and dirtiest airlines

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