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Biggin Hill reach agreement on noise with air traffic control – A further step in reducing noise at the airport

Keeping Planes Higer For LongerBiggin Hill Airport has reached agreement with Air Traffic Controllers to trial a new flight procedure that will further reduce aircraft noise in the Petts Wood and Chislehurst area of Bromley.

“Last year, residents told us about their concerns about noise. We promised to act on them. So we have made changes that mean by the summer planes will stay higher for longer”, said Will Curtis, Managing Director of Biggin Hill Airport.

Over the last few months, the Airport has been in discussions with Air Traffic Controllers from Thames Radar, who direct pilots in to land at Biggin Hill.  These directions include the heights of landing aircraft, a procedure known as ‘radar vectoring’.  Aircraft Controllers have now agreed to begin a trial that will raise the height at which aircraft are vectored onto the approach from the current 1,800 feet to a revised 2,000 feet or above – typically at 2,200 feet.  This should reduce noise on the ground in the area of Petts Wood and Chislehurst.

This operational trial is expected to start in the Spring and will last 6 months. If the new procedures are successful, they will become a permanent feature.  The changes are one of a number of actions identified in the Airport’s comprehensive plan to reduce noise.

“I am delighted that we are making good progress with our Noise Action Plan”, says Will, “We are ahead of schedule with over half the plan already completed.  We are also making good progress in revising our flight paths.  Our plan is specifically designed to reduce noise on the ground”.

Biggin Hill Airport recently applied to make some modest changes to its opening hours, subject to strict limits. By making a change, it aims to attract more aircraft service companies whose customers value flexibility above all.   Major planning consultant Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners estimated that the proposals would create 2,300 new jobs and apprenticeships and £230 million of annual additional spending power in the surrounding economy (GVA), money that will be spent with local suppliers, on the high streets, in restaurants and bars and with local tradespeople. “It is a rising tide that will lift every boat and we will create real chances for our next generation” says Will who is enthusiastic about creating opportunities for Bromley’s youngsters.

NLP also identified that the proposals would create £11.1 million more badly needed income for the Council at a time when cuts are beginning to bite.

Last year 15,000 local residents were asked about the changes and 12,473 backed longer opening hours – with the most responses received from those living under the flight path. The plan would involve no more flights than 2010 levels, no new runways, no scheduled holiday airlines and cutting noise by half.

Bromley Council is running its own consultation on the issue, which closes at the end of this week, on Friday 13th March.