At the moment (March 2023) no firm plans are in place to expand the airport to three runways, although that may change in the near or far future.
We will continue to monitor what happens and keep you informed of any future developments.
We will keep this page live so you can see the past plans and just in case things change.
How you can report noisy aircraft
Heathrow collects noise reporting statistics and uses this information as a yardstick to monitor community mood regarding noise impact (link here to Heathrow noise stats). Until now there have been few noise reports from the Bucks area and Heathrow perceives this as residents in our area not being particularly affected by aircraft noise. This is far from the truth. We hear noise from:
Aircraft take-offs and landings at all hours of the day and night
Ground noise operations
Heathrow has trialed potential new flight paths and as the Ivers could be regularly overflown in the future, we may hear more overhead flights during their trialing.
Therefore, it is important that everyone in our area who is affected by aircraft noise completes a Heathrow noise report on each occasion so that Heathrow get to understand that the residents are very concerned about it.
Link here: ___ Heathrow Noise Complaint Form ___
Background on new flight paths
The UK’s airspace is being modernised by Government – this is independent of Heathrow expansion, although it will factor in the need of an expanded Heathrow airport. It is essentially about decongesting our skies and making them work more efficiently, with new technology; and to allow for future growth. This means flight paths will need to be redesigned. The Department for Transport (DfT) and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) are co-sponsors for the modernisation of the UK’s airspace. Proposals for new flight path designs are put forward by airports to the CAA for assessment and approval (or rejection).
The CAA has commenced this airspace change process with a series of consultations, which RPRA has responded to on behalf of residents. These consultations tend to be highly technical, but RPRA responds to all the relevant consultations in its commitment to act for the community in fighting to protect our village from the intrusive effects of aircraft noise.
RPRA is strongly opposed to any development that impacts our quality of life and the peaceful enjoyment of our homes and villages in the Iver area. This includes Heathrow’s current expansion plans, which will bring:
The new runway is under 1km from the nearest residents, with significantly more noise from take-offs and landings.
Massive construction development in our area from 2020, for at least 6 years, with many more HGVs on our roads, as well as noise, dust, pollution, and the visual impact.
Changes to flight paths from 2022 bringing aircraft flying low over our area – 1 departure every 3.5 minutes at only 4,000 feet, plus arrivals below 1,000 feet. Visit Colnbrook to see just how bad this will be.
Erosion of our surrounding green spaces for the new airport infrastructure and with it additional traffic and operational noise for our area (see details in map below).
Read on for more detail on the plans, but residents can fight back and protect our villages by:
Supporting the RPRA campaigns by writing to Heathrow objecting to their plans– details of which will be on the News page.
Reporting all noisy aircraft to Heathrow – see Noise Reporting for details on how to do this.
Responding to consultations – we will let you know when these are happening and explain how we will be affected. They need not be detailed responses, just register your objection – more information will be on this webpage.
We need a large volume of residents to support RPRA, otherwise Heathrow will think we are happy to be swallowed up by their plans – so please get involved and support our efforts.
Heathrow’s expansion plans
In Summer 2019, Heathrow consulted on their preferred scheme for developing and operating an expanded airport, including the impacts of expansion and how they intend to manage them. They are planning major construction in Richings Park, Thorney and Iver – see diagram for the significant and adverse impact there will be on our area (click map to expand).
This is what we can expect in our village:
Even more HGVs on our roads
Even more traffic and parked vehicles from workers and the public (for the planned open space)
Severe noise disruption and dust and debris from excavating earth 24 hour per day, 7 days per week
Unsightly, intrusive earth embankments and concrete structures around flood zones
Severe noise disruption from earthmoving and construction of these sites
Noisy rail operations (heavy goods trains) 24 hour per day, 7 days per week, but mostly at night
This is in addition to noise from the new runway being built and operated less than 1km from our nearest homes.
Heathrow have not adequately assessed the impacts from these developments nor made sufficient plans to mitigate the impacts.
Read our briefing note for more information on the impacts in our area: __ Briefing Note __
or for a more detailed read, RPRA's formal consultation response is provided here:
__ RPRA Consultation Response __
RPRA will be following up with Heathrow on these points and will report any significant developments on this website.
Proposed Changes to Heathrow’s flightpaths
Heathrow is proposing new flight paths so that they can:
Introduce 25,000 additional flights per year, on a phased basis from 2022 to 2024, before the third runway is in operation
Operate an additional 40% more flights on top of the current 480,000 per year with the third runway from 2026 – total capacity will be nearly double existing.
Here is one example of the proposed flight path envelopes (click on map to expand) – these are the areas in which new flight paths will be defined. This would mean one flight every 3.5 minutes as low as 5,000ft, plus arrivals below 1,000ft. If approved, this would mean that the Ivers will be overflown for the first time and will be impacted by more noise from take-offs and landings through an expanded operation.
Heathrow consulted on this in Q1 2019. Details on this consultation and the proposed flight path envelopes are available here.
RPRA reviewed Heathrow’s consultation documents and provided a briefing so that residents could see the potential impacts and be able to respond to the consultation. The briefing note is provided here.
Many residents from The Ivers attended the Heathrow roadshows at the time and gave feedback. RPRA also submitted a formal response to the consultation strongly objecting to these plans, which meant our area could be overflown every 3.5 minutes – a copy is provided here.
We await the outcome of Heathrow’s plans on this, but we can expect another consultation in 2021 after they have defined the actual flight paths.
Background on Heathrow expansion
The Airports Commission was set-up in 2012 to gather evidence and make a decision on airport expansion. The Commission consulted on a number of options in 2014 (which RPRA responded to) but ultimately made their recommendation for Heathrow to be prioritised for expansion by allowing the construction of a third runway. The full report can be viewed via this link.
The Government supported this recommendation and consulted on its draft National Policy Statement for the expansion of Heathrow. RPRA responded to a series of consultations and campaigned for a better understanding of noise impacts, air pollution and surface access facilities. The final National Policy Statement was approved by Parliament in June 2018. This policy statement provides the framework for deciding whether Heathrow’s proposals for expansion should be granted development consent.
Heathrow launched its first consultation in early 2018 on their emerging proposals and options for the expansion of the airport. Many residents attended the roadshow in Richings Park and provided feedback. RPRA responded formally to the consultation on behalf of residents objecting strongly to proposed impacts on our area. Heathrow are now developing their preferred proposals for an expanded Heathrow, and assessing the impacts and what they will need to do to manage them.
Noise monitoring in our area
RPRA have been meeting regularly with Heathrow for many years and have successfully campaigned to have noise monitors installed in our area. As a consequence, Heathrow installed 4 temporary noise monitors between 2012 and 2018, but for technical and administrative reasons these did not collect sufficient information on aircraft noise, although one of these monitors did successfully demonstrate that in Richings Park we could hear engine testing all the way from Hatton Cross (ground noise).
RPRA subsequently met with Heathrow to protest about these failed trials and successfully persuaded Heathrow to install another temporary noise monitor in our area to record aircraft noise. This is because we believe that the published noise contours for Heathrow understate the noise impacts in our area. We need to prove the current noise contours are incorrect and understate the noise we are subject to otherwise we will remain ineligible for Heathrow’s noise mitigation and compensation schemes.
The latest noise monitoring trial in Richings Park is taking place in 2019/20. You can observe the recorded noise levels on this noise monitor using Heathrow’s aircraft tracking tool: Webtrak (enlarge map to identify Richings Park golf club where the monitor symbol shows - monitor number 700). Updates on this trial will be reported on this website, although this may take some time as Heathrow say that their noise monitors are set up to record overhead flight and that detecting aircraft noise laterally (eg start of roll and reverse thrust within the airport) is difficult, so they are having to investigate alternative diagnostic tools.
Aviation noise metrics and measurement
In July 2020 ICCAN published its review of aviation noise metrics and measurement. The report takes an in-depth look at how UK airports collect, analyse and publish noise data, and includes ICCAN’s recommendations which seek to improve understanding of aviation noise and rebuild trust. ICCAN is developing these into a set of implementable actions, including best practice guidance for airports on how to record, process and publish noise data. Read the report here.
We will work on behalf of the community to ensure that our interests are represented with Heathrow, Government and any organisation proposing change that will impact on our area. This means continuing to:
Attend relevant Heathrow forums to hear the latest updates and express our views
Respond to public consultations on Heathrow expansion and airspace modernisation to ensure the impacts on our area are clearly understood and properly mitigated
Work with Heathrow and the Civil Aviation Authority to get existing aircraft and airport noise in Richings Park and Thorney better understood.
Please support this work and show Heathrow that we care about our environment. At the right times we will need you to:
Respond to our call for action when we launch a campaign – details will be on the News page
Report aircraft noise to Heathrow when it becomes a nuisance – see Noise Reporting for details on how to do this
Attend and respond to consultations – we will let you know when they are taking place and provide a briefing on key impacts of the proposals – details will be on this webpage
Heathrow community forums
RPRA attends a number of forums on behalf of Richings Park residents to ensure that our local interests are represented in relation to existing and potential impacts from Heathrow Airport. Terms of reference and updates from the discussions (minutes of the meetings) can be found at the links below.
Heathrow Community Noise Forum – this forum is to keep communities updated on airspace changes
Local Authorities Aircraft Noise Council (LAANC) – this forum is for local authorities and other members to examine problems arising from aircraft noise
Heathrow Local Focus Forum – this forum is to update communities on matters associated with Heathrow’s current operations and future plans
MP Joy Morrisey’s position on aviation expansion
Our MP, Joy Morrisey, is opposed to Heathrow expansion. Writing for the Bucks Free Press on 7 March 2020, Joy said: "Last week saw more good news for the country, the Beaconsfield constituency, and all of Buckinghamshire.
I was so pleased to see the Court of Appeal rule that the current proposals for Heathrow’s third runway were unlawful.
We have always maintained that as a private project Heathrow’s third runway would only go ahead if it could meet our strict and ambitious environmental targets.
The Court’s ruling made it clear that the current proposals failed to respect this.
As a Government we are committed to tackling climate change and I therefore welcomed the Transport Secretary’s decision not to appeal the verdict.
As Conservatives we are committed to prioritising the future of our environment and this decision clearly highlights this pledge.
By accepting this decision, moving forward all major infrastructure projects will have to prove that they are in line with our ambitious climate target of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, and also respect the ground-breaking Paris climate agreement.
This will not block any airport from expanding anywhere else, nor will it prevent new roads, or railways from being built.
It will instead ensure that any project which is built is future-proofed and leaves our environment in a better state.
I hope Heathrow will now see that the writing is on the wall and scrap their flawed ambitions for a third runway.
Instead, I would like to see Heathrow work to make their current operations more environmentally friendly, by investing in local low-carbon infrastructure, carbon capture technology and more incentives for airlines to utilise quieter and greener technology on their aircraft.
Heathrow has a lot of work to do and a third runway would have exacerbated the many issues it already has.
During the campaign I called for a better Heathrow, not a bigger one and I am glad that this ruling has helped make this a reality."