0453 0455 0458 Wake up calls for Gordon Brown and Ruth Kelly

February 20, 2008 at 6:20 am | Posted in Heathrow, Heathrow airport, Heathrow expansion, Nature, Night flights, Noise, Robin | Leave a comment

4:53 a.m.
Wednesday 20th February 2008
Castle Without

Dear Ruth and Gordon,

Good morning! I trust you two slept soundly.

The fog at Heathrow is causing disruption to flights, but for residents under flightpaths reduced visibility also brings welcome relief from the noise of aircraft. For your enlightenment, my wake up call before the fog set in today sounded like this:

At 4:53 a.m. a low-flying aircraft on the approach to Heathrow disturbed my sleep.  I was woken suddenly, and the roar of the jet engines and noise from air turbulence lasted for a good minute.

If our home were in a war zone, we would expect to endure such airspace activity at whatever time suited Her Majesty’s forces. Since this is peacetime Britain, residents under flightpaths to Heathrow should not have to tolerate these intrusions into our daily lives all day long and most of the night. The irregular repetition of disturbing noise is akin to Chinese water torture.

Thankfully, a robin under the streetlight sang its heart out at 4:54 a.m. and I celebrated the fact that birds have not deserted our garden, yet, despite the noise.

At 4:55 a.m. the second aircraft of the day flew over our house.

At 4:58 a.m. a third loud passenger jet roared overhead.

At 5:10 the fourth plane of the morning made me realise I could not simply roll over and turn a deaf ear and blind eye to this situation. Hence my note.

Before you approve Adding capacity at Heathrow airport, I strongly urge you to consider Streamlining capacity at all London and regional airports. This would be a humane response to our local, national and global predicaments. We need to tackle ongoing environmental damage and our climate challenge together. Aviation (and construction) industries must not be permitted to benefit from exceptions to national challenges any longer. Flight numbers could be reduced through enhanced operational efficiencies between airports. The addition of more reliable and frequent high-speed rail links nationwide would, ultimately, allow domestic flights to be eliminated. An effective integrated transport strategy should relieve bottlenecks and provide more viable transport alternatives to private vehicles. Ultimately, improved rail and telecommunications would enable commuting and telecommuting comensurate with 21st century needs. This would help the Government achieve the very necessary and challenging national climate change goals and help reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by at least 80% by 2050.

Please think again. I want my children to grow up appreciating the sound of a robin too.

Bright-eyed and bushy tailed, as usual, I eagerly await your change of heart on Heathrow expansion.



Copy to my MP

This is a draft of a letter I am considering sending to Ruth Kelly and Gordon Brown. I have to run to a meeting, but thought you might as well see this while it’s fresh off my fingertips 😉


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