Finsbury Park residents ‘blighted by plane noise’

NOISY jets from Heathrow airport causes disturbance and intrusion to residents of Finsbury Park, a report has claimed.

Planes fly over the Finsbury Park area as often as every four minutes according to research by the Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise (HACAN).

While areas of west London have long been understood to suffer from aircraft noise, and measures have been taken to limit disturbance in those places, the effect of airport traffic on residents in other parts of the capital is less well known.

A recent paper by the European Environment Agency included data that HACAN says proves its claim that aircraft noise is now a problem for people in areas such as Finsbury Park, where there had been very little disturbance until about five years ago.

John Stewart, chairman of HACAN, said the problem arose due to increased air traffic and slight changes to the flight paths used by planes heading for Heathrow.

He said: “We received hundreds of complaints from Finsbury Park when the problem began. At one point we had more complaints from Finsbury Park than anywhere in London.

“Up to 16 planes per hour cross over Finsbury Park, flying at around 5,000ft. Depending on the plane, that could mean noise of around 60 to 70 decibels. The World Health Organisation says that people begin to suffer annoyance when noise throughout the day averages out at 50 decibels.”

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He continued: “The new report from Europe backs up what our members have been telling us for years. Aircraft noise can be a serious problem for people living over 25 miles from Heathrow.”

The experience of Finsbury Park residents suggests any problems are localised.

Justina Pearce, who lived off Stroud Green Road until 2008 and now lives just five minutes away off Stapleton Hall Road, said: “At my old place the planes were definitely a problem. It was strange because you didn’t know where they were coming from. It got worse in the seven years I lived there but I only moved five minutes away and now I don’t hear them at all.”

Sally Watson, 41, of Finsbury Park Road, said: “We started to notice an increase in the number of planes going over where we used to live, on Regina Road. Where we live now off Seven Sisters Road we occasionally notice planes, and you can hear them if you’re out in the garden but we are not too disturbed by them.”

Michael Fitzsimons, 62, landlord of the Faltering Fullback pub off Stroud Green Road, confirmed that some areas are unaffected. “I’ve been here 11 years and I’ve never heard a thing, apart from the occasional helicopter. I’ve never noticed it,” he said.

A spokesman for BAA, the company that runs Heathrow, said: “There have been no major changes to Heathrow’s flight paths for more than 30 years and we’ve seen less than an eight per cent increase in flights in the last 10 years, while aircraft are getting quieter as new technology is introduced.”