Heathrow was today accused of failing to fulfil a decade-old commitment to protect schools from aircraft noise, as it announced a new £250m compensation scheme which is dependent on the go-ahead for a third runway. -
Brentford and Isleworth MP Mary Macleod said the airport's record meant it was 'no wonder many local residents are sceptical about claims being made now'.
She claimed bosses at the airport had committed to installing insulation and ventilation at schools under Heathrow's flight paths, yet more than a decade later only three of the 34 schools identified had both in place.
Her comments, made following a meeting with aviation minister Robert Goodwill and representatives from Hounslow Council, came on the day Heathrow announced its plans for a £550m compensation package should it get permission to build a third runway.
Of that money, Heathrow chiefs said £250m would be for noise insulation measures, including work at schools around the airport.
Ms Macleod said: " I was glad to have the opportunity to meet with the aviation minister Robert Goodwill MP to discuss the important issue of noise insulation for schools near Heathrow.
"The airport committed to a programme of insulation and ventilation for local schools – and yet more than 10 years later only 3 of the 34 schools identified have both glazing and ventilation in place.
"Many more are also affected by noise that didn't make it to the list. It’s no wonder that many local residents are sceptical about claims being made now by the airport that a new runway could be added at Heathrow without more noise and misery for local residents."
Speaking at the launch of Heathrow's revised third runway proposals this morning, John Holland-Kaye, chief executive designate of Heathrow, said: "We're working actively with Hounslow Council to complete our existing insulation programme. Around the airport there are a small number of schools waiting to get insulation.
"We do envisage this (improved noise insulation for schools) being part of the £250 million we are planning to spend."
Matt Gorman, sustainability director at Heathrow, said: "Heathrow is committed to providing noise insulation for those worse affected by noise from the airport.
"As part of this scheme, 50 community buildings in the highest noise areas near Heathrow were recognised as eligible for noise insulation funded by the airport.
"Of those 50, 41 have had insulation works completed, works are in progress at a further six and the three remaining buildings are under discussion with the property owners. Pilot ventilation schemes are currently being reviewed before being rolled out more widely.
"The delivery of Heathrow's community buildings noise scheme is overseen by a community advisory group, which includes representatives from the boroughs around the airport, including Hounslow. That group agrees the priorities and programme for the scheme."