THOUSANDS of residents would see their quality of life slip away if runway alternation is scrapped, it is claimed.

Campaigners say Government plans to allow planes to take off and land at the same runway at the same time would mean more noise and more pollution.

The switch to 'mixed mode' would mean homes under the flightpaths would get no respite from aircraft overhead - and could spell devastation for our schoolchildren.

But Hounslow Council's aviation spokeswoman Barbara Reid said: "Even if mixed mode was just for one minute, that would be one minute too long."

In the second of our series of articles on the Whitehall proposals, we look at the arguments for and against 'mixed mode'.

Under the current system, one runway is used for landings and the other for take-offs until 3pm, when their roles are switched.

But the Government said it supports in principle plans to make more use of the existing runways.

The Department for Transport claims mixed mode would be a temporary measure until a third runway is built, and would stay the right side of noise and pollution limits.

It has proposed three options for the introduction of mixed mode.

The first is to introduce it within the current limits on take-offs and landings - set at 480,000 by the Terminal 5 inquiry - but have extra flights at peak times.

The second would be to relax the current limit and bring air traffic movements up to 540,000 by 2015.

The third is a variation on the second but limited to certain hours of the day, for example 6am to noon.

Hounslow Council believes one of the groups affected worst by endless noise would be children educated at schools underneath the flightpath.

In its response to the consultation, the council is hoping to evaluate the effect of mixed mode amid fears it will make it almost impossible to hold any lessons outdoors.

The issue is also inextricably linked with the Cranford Agreement, preventing take-offs over the village, which would have to be scrapped for mixed mode to go ahead.