Our health is at risk from increased air and noise pollution from Heathrow aircraft

Air and noise pollution from Heathrow is predicted to increase with a doubling of early morning arrivals flying low over new areas of London, including Bayswater, Paddington and Notting Hill.

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New low flight paths over London including our area

Aircraft flying very low directly over our areas, from 4.30am, every 3 minutes

The proposed volume of additional flights and new, lower flight paths has serious implications for the health and wellbeing of London’s citizens. Post-pandemic, we need to build our health resilience, not undermine it.


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This is likely to include a new concentrated Heathrow flight path directly over Bayswater, with aircraft flying low over our neighbourhood every three minutes in the morning from as early as 4.30am.

Not only that, but Heathrow aircraft would also be turning over above our area, which would make the noise impact even worse.

There are significant health impacts for residents of living under or adjacent to flight paths, both from the noise and air pollution.

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We have not yet received the details of the impact on Bayswater of Heathrow’s proposed airspace modernisation programme, but it is likely to involve Heathrow’s original IPA proposal which will have airplanes arriving using both existing runways in parallel.

This could lead to a new concentrated flight path with airplanes flying very low and directly over our area, from 4.30am in the morning.

Please refer to map here, which can be seen in greater detail at


Please follow this link to read an article from the campaign group about Air Pollution. The article appeared in the Autumn 2021 edition of SEBRA NEWS W2.

More detail on Heathrow’s proposal announced in October 2021

In the proposal that Heathrow Airport has submitted to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), Heathrow states that it aims to introduce modernisation of the airspace over London.

Limited detail is available so far, but from previous communication we have learnt that the reorganisation of the London airspace is likely to involve the following:

  • Heathrow aircraft will take a shorter and steeper final approach to landing.
  • This means that Heathrow aircraft will start taking new shorter routes over central London from the holding stack where they are held before commencing their landing to the point where their final approach to landing at Heathrow starts.
  • As a result, we are likely to start having aircraft flying and turning directly over Bayswater at heights as low as 2000-3000 ft. Currently, aircraft start their final approach to landing further away over east London and do not fly over us.
  • The noise will be significant as the aircraft will be reducing their height due to the additional loud noise occurring when they make curved turns at low heights.
  • Heathrow is likely to proceed with its original plans for parallel arrivals in the mornings using two runways. This means a concentrated stream of aircraft flying over us in the early morning (flights every three minutes from 4:30am, unless the Government tightens the present rules about night flights).
  • The introduction of new concentrated flights paths directly over new areas of London not previously directly overflown, including Bayswater, will have a profound impact on us all.

Heathrow’s claim that the airspace changes will reduce noise is incorrect as aircraft noise will not be reduced, rather it will be displaced from one London area to another London area.

The reality is that the main beneficiaries of the airspace modernisation programme will be Heathrow’s private shareholders and the airlines. The shareholders are likely to use this programme to push for higher and higher volumes of aircraft to achieve their strategy of doubling revenues from cargo and transit travellers. The airlines expect to save on fuel costs, although deployments abroad have shown that the fuel savings have not actually materialised.

In its proposal submitted to the CAA, Heathrow states that this programme is the first step in its strategy for airspace modernisation in connection with its planned 3rd Runway. The 3rd Runway is intended to facilitate an increase in aircraft in and out of Heathrow from 475,000 to 740,000 a year, a 54% increase in flights over London.

Heathrow Airport is currently accelerating its airspace change proposal through the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) approval process and is scheduled to take it to the next approval gate in February 2022.

Below: Example of Heathrow’s announcement of its proposed airspace modernisation programme

Londoners against Heathrow airspace expansion – say no to increased flights over London, No to toxic air, no to noise pollution, no to undermining our health

For health, safety and security reasons it would be madness to allow Heathrow to introduce new concentrated flight paths over London.

  • No other capital city in the western world allows hundreds of thousands of aircraft a year to fly directly over densely populated urban areas, day and night
  • Heathrow aircraft already fly over more people than any other airport in Europe.
  • The health and environmental cost of any increase in flights to and from Heathrow and any increase in the number of people overflown will far exceed any benefit to London

Other airports serving London are in geographic locations where significantly fewer people are overflown – see comparison below:

  • Heathrow – 683,700 people*
  • Gatwick 17,000 people
  • Stansted. 13,500 people
  • Luton. 8,700 people

* This number could more than double with the proposed new flight paths across London

Our local Labour and Conservative councillors are united against these plans.

Here’s why

  • They are concerned about the impact the plans will have on the physical and mental health and wellbeing of current and future generations living, working and visiting London.
  • There is now a much greater understanding of the adverse impact of aviation pollution on people’s mental and physical health. Recent research has provided frightening proof that these cause depression, anxiety, heart disease, increased blood pressure, asthma, respiratory complications, and cognitive impairment.
  • In 2017, the then UK Chief Medical Officer, Sally Davies, published her annual report on the state on the public’s health, focusing on the impact of air pollution on human health. Her key conclusion was that ALL air pollution must be treated as a preventative disease.
  • The predicted noise levels resulting from the proposed new Heathrow flight paths will create noise pollution that far exceeds the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) guidance of 40-45dB, and this is over densely populated areas.
  • Aviation also generates toxic air pollution (NOx, CO, SOx, PM10, PM2.5 and PM0.1). According to the WHO, urban air pollution is among the top 10 risk factors for mortality in the UK.
  • Scientists describe aviation pollution as a ‘ticking time bomb’. Recent research published by Kings College found that PM0.1 ultrafine particles from Heathrow Airport emissions are being blown more than 11 miles into Westminster. The smaller the particle, the deeper it penetrates the lungs. Ultrafine particles have also been linked to brain cancer. Please follow this link to read the article.
  • Air quality is already very poor in London. Several initiatives, including ULEZ, aim to improve this. The UK government and the London Mayor have also made firm commitments to address climate change and air quality.
  • Increasing flights over the city will sabotage these endeavours, put lives at risk and significantly reduce the quality of life of people living, working, studying, or visiting Westminster now and for future generations.

There is a much better way…

  • Introducing the new UK regional hub model in place of the outdated central hub model
  • Reducing demand by increasing the use of technology as an alternative to business travel
  • Investing in and incentivising more sustainable rail travel
  • Committing to policies and taxpayer-funded investments that champion the health, well-being, safety and prosperity of Londoners and the rest of the UK

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