Planes may pay for noise over Heathrow

Tory group proposes compensation to break deadlock over expanding capacity in South-east

Residents under Heathrow's flightpath could be offered thousands of pounds in compensation if a future government gives the go-ahead for a third runway at Europe's busiest airport.

The payments are being promoted as a possible way of defusing anger in those communities worst affected by noise following any expansion of Heathrow.

The Coalition agreement has ruled out giving approval to a third runway during this parliament and the Conservatives opposed the move at the last election. But some senior party figures, including the Chancellor, George Osborne, are pressing for a change of policy to boost airport capacity in the south-east. The most likely option is that the issue will be left open in the next Tory manifesto.

The Free Enterprise Group of Conservative MPs, which has close links with Mr Osborne, has called for a noise compensation scheme as a way of bringing around families affected by the extra noise.

BAA, which operates Heathrow and other airports, said it was keeping an open mind on the different options available for expanding capacity, stressing that the decision was one for political leaders.

"The big constraint on Heathrow is noise," Colin Matthews, the chief executive of BAA, told the Financial Times.

"People will debate the relative merits of providing people with double-glazing versus providing people with financial compensation."

Supporters of the compensation proposal – which would be funded from BAA's increased profits – believe it would blunt local campaigns against airport expansion. A range of compensation schemes are already available to families affected by excessive airport noise, including cash towards relocation costs and free secondary glazing for windows.

Payments could be particularly generous under the latest proposal: the the Free Enterprise Group has suggested payments of up to £40,000 for the most affected.

Relieving the pressure on airspace in the south-east is one of the trickiest problems facing political leaders.

Justine Greening, the Transport Secretary, is at odds with some of her Cabinet colleagues because of her strong opposition to expanding Heathrow. The Liberal Democrats and several prominent Tory MPs, including Zac Goldsmith, also oppose expansion of Heathrow.

There is also resistance to expansion of Gatwick and Stansted airports.

Building a new airport in the Thames estuary – either the "Boris Island" plan backed by the London Mayor, Boris Johnson, or a £50bn proposal for an airport near the Kent coast – would be hugely expensive and take many years to complete.

Problems over the Coalition's policy were underlined in mid-July when Ms Greening scrapped plans to start consultation on future airport capacity in the south-east.

Consultation has been delayed until the autumn at the earliest – and the expectation is that the Tories will not even make a firm proposal in their next manifesto.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions