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Just 10 people are responsible for most of Heathrow’s thousands of noise complaints

Flight take-off
Reuters/Toby Melville
Can you keep it down?
By Rosie Spinks
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

As one of the world’s busiest airports located on the western edge of Greater London, it’s unsurprising that Heathrow gets a lot of noise complaints.

But according to the airport’s quarterly data on just who is making those complaints, some residents are considerably more perturbed than others. In the final three months of 2017, Heathrow received a total of 15,554 complaints from 565 people. But the top 10 most frequent complainants accounted for 11,476, or 73.78%, of all complaints.

A few folks living in Slough, a town 20 miles west of central London, are particularly fed up. Just 10 residents there clocked 6,074 complaints over the course of three months. The data also reports that the top two complainants in any location contacted Heathrow’s noise complaint team more than 1,280 times each. That’s a lot of complaining.

Surprisingly, a December report from the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority reported that Heathrow’s noise footprint is getting progressively better. According to the report, during the last 11 years, the levels of noise in Heathrow’s surrounding area have decreased by 15% (using Europe’s preferred measure of noise, or Lden 55 dAB) during each 24 hour operating day. This is thanks in part to Heathrow’s work to incentivize quieter and low-emissions aircrafts.

The addition of a third runway at Heathrow airport has been fraught for years due to concerns over noise, emissions, and sustainability. The airport has announced that a public consultation on the latest expansion proposals is due to open later this month, and will last until March.

Safe to say someone in Slough will not be pleased.

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