Residents complain of helicopter noise

The Brackenbury Residents Association – as well as a number of individual residents – have complained about helicopter noise getting much worse recently.

I have raised this with the Council who have responded as follows:

As a local authority we do not have any powers over helicopter flight routes although there are certain rules and regulations (“Rules of the Air”) that helicopter pilots must adhere to when they are flying over London.

Single-engine helicopters are required to fly along designated routes, which includes along the River Thames for helicopters flying over H&F. These routes avoid flying over built up areas as much as possible. However, helicopters with more than one engine, typically twin-engines, are allowed to deviate from the designated routes if they have Air Traffic Control (ATC) clearance to do so. Most helicopters in London airspace these days are multi-engine, so they have greater freedom (subject to ATC permission) to fly where, in the past, most helicopters would not have been allowed to go.

In general, unless helicopters are landing or taking off, they should be 1000 feet (c.300m) above buildings etc. The Police Air Support Unit and Emergency Services Air Ambulance are subject to special requirements and may need to operate at lower altitudes or hover over specific locations.

If a resident thinks they have seen helicopter activity that breaches the Regulations, the CAA will investigate, although they need adequate information to do this. Reports can be submitted online here: https://apply.caa.co.uk/CAAPortal/terms-and-conditions.htm?formCode=ABL.  The council also has representatives on the London Heliport Consultative Committee who can raise local helicopter related issues for discussion and investigation, although the focus is mostly on heliport activities.  Further details can be found here: http://www.wandsworth.gov.uk/info/200439/get_involved/443/battersea_heliport_and_helicopter_noise/3

We do indeed have a local councillor London Heliport Consultative Committee – but he hasn’t turned up for over a year. So a fat lot of use that is. Yes I am looking at you Cllr Larry Culhane.

Anyway I have logged a further query with the Council. It may not have any legal powers itself but I don’t think it is reasonable for it to provide some leadership and assistance to local residents. My new query is as follows:

I note the minutes of the London Helicopter Consultative group says:

“Stephen Dance and Luis Gomez-Agustina from London South Bank University gave a presentation on the first stage of the noise monitoring study that had commenced at the beginning of May. Members were told of the results of measurements taken from balconies at Prices Court (150m from heliport on Wandsworth riverside) and also at Blantyre Tower (approx. 1250m from heliport on the flight path on Kensington and Chelsea riverside). It was noted that measuring equipment is powered by a car battery, meaning no requirement for residents to plug cables into their supply, and that the intention was to monitor for no longer than a month at each location. Stephen Dance said that measurements over the 19/5 to 23/5 period showed many incidences of high noise levels attributable to helicopters, fixed wing aircraft, sirens and also drilling in the River Thames, with particular ‘spikes’ during times of high heliport use. These findings required further analysis and collaboration. Residents had also been asked to keep a log of helicopter movements and Stephen Dance also confirmed that ‘spot measurements’ would be taken on expected high volume of movement days around Ascot, Formula 1 Grand Prix, etc. “

Please could the Council encourage (finance?) such monitoring in our borough with a view to reporting the findings to the CAA if the rules have been broken.

Best wishes,
Harry

I will let you know of any further news. There is also a survey that you can fill in – which I suppose can’t do any harm in ensuring that the extent of concern is recorded.

3 thoughts on “Residents complain of helicopter noise

  1. Hi Harry,

    Thank you for the above . It is nice to know you are also trying to help residents who are not in your immediate ward.

    Have you heard any news/rumour on 3rd Runway? We think being under a flight path or two for landings would be really quite disturbing.

  2. As one of the individual complainants, I am afraid I think that talk of breaches of CAA regulations and noise monitoring is slightly missing the point. Hammersmith falls within the ‘specified area’ where helicopter activity is supposed to be limited. There is a designated route – H10 – to be followed by helicopters wishing to go West or North West from Battersea and that follows the Thames as far as Kew Bridge, then the North Circular up to Hanger Lane and along the A40 thereafter. The current complaint isn’t just about one or two helicopters flying randomly over the area, it is about a regular flight path – up to 10 flights a day – which emanates from somewhere down by Hammersmith Bridge and passes directly over Ravenscourt Park heading towards Old Oak Common and back. It seems that a new route has been created. Besides the noise issue, there is the obvious safety aspect of flying over built-up areas as sadly seen at Battersea and Glasgow within the past few years. Someone, somewhere – Battersea Heliport, CAA, NATS? – knows exactly what is going on but I have yet to get a response from any of them. Could the Council find out how this route has come to be created at why?

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