John Howell is the elected Member of Parliament representing Henley on Thames. Here is his constituents’ monthly update for March 2018.
At this holiday time, when many people are flying off for a well-earned break it seems a good time to write about airplane issues which are often raised with me. Many people in the constituency make their living from aviation either by flying as air crew, by travelling themselves or by working in support functions in and around Heathrow and the other major airports. There is a balance to be struck. Whenever I go to Heathrow to fly with my job I invariably meet constituents.
From time to time I receive emails complaining about aircraft noise over the constituency. In the south-east corner of the constituency the complaints are usually about air traffic from the major airports. Wind direction plays a key part in this as when Heathrow is on ‘easterly’ operations planes come in to land over the constituency. Also at busy times planes can circle in a holding pattern and the turning increases the noise at ground level. In addition, in the holiday season there seems to be an increase in planes from Luton making their ascent over the constituency. NATS acknowledge the issues but confirm that there has not been any particular change that would have increased these issues recently. I continue to be in touch with them.
The issue of a third runway has been a hot topic too. There are many factors to consider. One issue is how the provision of a third runway would take away the need for stacking of planes waiting to land. Stacking creates pollution and noise as aircraft circle in wait. I expect a third runway to do away with stacking so planes will be able to land straight away.
In other parts of the constituency I receive complaints on light pleasure aircraft practising their acrobatics over and over. This can create a noise nuisance as they circle round in the same airspace. We sit between the restricted airspace around Heathrow and Oxford airports, and in this unrestricted space this activity is permitted. I acknowledge that this is a problem and also that some people want somewhere to do this leisure activity. I am also aware that Oxford Airport would like to increase the restricted space around it which would narrow the free corridor and could potentially make this issue worse.
There is a European wide review of use of airspace which we should aim to participate in. We also need to be heard as the project for the new runway develops. These issues will be on the agenda for some time and I would be interested to know the views of constituents on them. If you would like to share your thoughts on this or any other issue you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org write to me at the House of Commons or my constituency office.
If you would like to know more about my work in Westminster, on behalf of the Government and the Constituency please do look at my website which is regularly updated.
Further details of the work of Parliament is available on the parliament website. As always, I am interested to hear constituent’s views on the proposals before the House.