CAMPAIGNERS from both sides have reacted to the launch of an eight-week public consultation by Heathrow Airport on its plans for future airspace and operations.

Back Heathrow has called on local communities to get engaged to help shape the airport’s expansion plans. Leaflets began dropping through doors this week.

Executive director, Parmjit Dhanda said: “Independent polling shows the scheme has strong support among local residents, but it is crucial that they are involved in shaping these plans.”

“Whether people support or oppose the project we want to see everyone engaged in this consultation, to ensure commitments made to minimise noise and provide longer respite from flights at night are adhered to.

“We sense a real desire to get on with this in the local community, but also a desire to ensure it is done well.”HACAN, the group which represents residents living under the flightpaths, said there would be winners and losers.

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Though people in parts of West London would find their period of respite cut, vast swathes of London and the Home Counties were set to enjoy a predicable break from the noise from the first time.

Under the proposals, people in West London, who currently enjoy a half day’s break from the noise when planes switch runways at 3pm, will find that cut to one third of the day if a third runway is built.  

But all-day flying will become a thing of the past for many places as the principle of respite is extended to people living under departures routes in places such as Windsor and South East London, which at present do not get it.

The consultation also asks for views on night flights.  One condition Parliament laid down when it gave Heathrow the go-ahead to work on proposals for a third runway is that the current five-hour night break is extended to 6.5 hours.  Heathrow is asking for views on how this should be implemented.

Heathrow is proposing to bring in 25,000 more flights a year before any new runway opens.