One person lodged over 1,280 noise complaints with Heathrow in the last three months

Rebecca Smith
There were 13,396 noise complaints to Heathrow for the first quarter of 2018
There were 13,396 noise complaints to Heathrow for the first quarter of 2018 (Source: Getty)

One person complained about noise more than 1,280 times to Heathrow Airport in the first three months of the year.

New figures for the first quarter show that the number of noise complaints to Heathrow Airport has dropped significantly, though there were still 13,396 lodged for the first three months of the year.

The number of people complaining dropped by more than a fifth compared to the same period last year, from 926 to 704 people, while the total number of complaints fell from 21,547 to 13,396.

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Nearly two-thirds of those made in the first three months of 2018 came from 10 people, making up 8,744 between them. They accounted for 1.4 per cent of all complainants.

Some 349 people complained just the once, two people complained over 640 times each, and 124 people complained twice.

John Stewart, chair of campaign group HACAN for residents under flight paths of the airport, said:

It is probably too early to say whether people as a whole feel the noise climate is improving.

It could be people are just fed up complaining! But the figures do show that the noise from Heathrow continues to be a very big problem for some people under the flight paths.

Over 82 per cent of people who raised a grievance with the airport got in touch five times or under over the three months, though their complaints made up 7.3 per cent of the total that came in.

Richmond upon Thames was home to the most complainants with 162 people making 1,855 complaints between them.

But Slough was the place with the highest number of complaints - four people there raised concerns with noise to the airport 3,835 times.

A Heathrow spokesperson said:

We know noise is a concern for our neighbours, and we are taking steps to continue to reduce our impacts. Heathrow already has some of the world’s toughest rules and regulations to tackle noise and every year, we take action, like increasing the charges we levy, to incentivise airlines to deploy their newest, cleanest and quietest aircraft at Heathrow.

In this way, we have managed to continuously shrink the noise footprint around the airport every year despite increasing our passenger numbers.

London's biggest airport is facing increased scrutiny over how it combats noise with expansion on the cards, with critics sceptical of its capability to build a new runway without a hefty knock-on impact for local residents.

Recent reports of government analysis said more than 2m people would be exposed to additional aircraft noise if the airport does build a third runway as planned.

Heathrow has said it stands by its commitment to expanding the airport while reducing the number of people affected by noise compared to today, and is looking at airspace modernisation to redesign how planes fly over the airport in the future.

It has also started ranking airlines that use the airport by those that are the quietest and cleanest to flag the noisiest carriers and help work out areas that needed improvement.

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