Heathrow runway trial will relax noise limits

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The Independent Online

People living under the Heathrow flight path face increased noise after the introduction of new runway rules.

The airport's operator, BAA, is to trial a scheme allowing the use of both runways simultaneously from July to September. Currently, those living under the flight path have a respite from noise in the afternoon, when the runways are restricted to take-off or landing, alternating daily.

Under the trial, which will also run from November to February, the threshold for triggering emergency dual use of the runways will be lowered. During the trial, dual use can be permitted when a plane faces a 10-minute wait to land or take off and if 30 per cent of all flights are delayed by more than 15 minutes. The average delay for flights is 12 minutes.

John Stewart, of the Hacan Clearskies environmental campaign group, said: "There is a real danger that people will remember the Olympics simply for the noise of flights."

A spokeswoman for BAA said: "The trial will not involve significant long-term breaches of respite periods. These changes do not mean there will always be flights overhead for some communities."

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