Another day, another consultation. This time it's the skies over London and the South East that are under review. There are plans to relocate several flightpaths around certain major airports to relieve mid-air congestion, and this may mean significant changes to noise levels where you live. If you're unlucky then the current peace and quiet above your house and garden may be imminently shattered. But if you're more fortunate then the existing roaring whine overhead may soon be shifted elsewhere. It might be wise to check out the full details.
Ah, now this is a proper consultation website. None of this feeble one-page-of-text stuff. There are six majorly-detailed sections, from the overall restructuring rationale to various individual regional proposals. If you want a huge fact-packed 50-page pdf stuffed with noise contours and other background information, you can download one. And, best of all, there are maps. When you're trying to trace a flightpath across your local neighbourhood, what you need is maps. And in this case there's a damned clever interactive map that pinpoints any postcode you care to type and displays adjacent flghtpaths both old and new. Time to get worried?
Let me have a look at the skies above Bow, where I live. Oh my word. Every single plane taking off westbound from London City Airport will fly ABSOLUTELY DIRECTLY OVER MY HOUSE. Not half a mile up the road, but BANG OVERHEAD. If one of those minijets should accidentally plummet vertically from the sky, I'm a dead man. And at all other times I'll be bombarded by the relentless roar of whining engines, careering on their upward trajectory and keeping me awake at all hours. Look, according to the map these evil aircraft will be buzzing less than 2000ft above my roof. It's going to be A LIVING HELL, I tell you.
Only, ah, hang on, I've been looking at the 'Now' map. If I switch to the 'Proposed' map then things look very different. As of 2009 the London City Airport flightpath is changing, with less of a sharp northward bend immediately after takeoff. Planes are going to be curving over Mile End and Victoria Park instead, and my personal airspace will suddenly be crystal clear. Fan-bloody-tastic. Unless you happen to live in Mile End, that is. Although I wouldn't worry, because it's not exactly been hell on earth in Bow for the last couple of decades. Five flights an hour carrying a handful of be-suited businessmen to mainland Europe aboard specially quietened minijets, they've been almost no intrusion at all. Honest, not even mildly annoying. Fear not the spectre of London City Airport, not unless you're stupid enough to live right at the end of the runway.
[Of course, if you live near Luton or Stansted, then you might have more to be concerned about. And sorry, they're not fiddling with the fearsome noise corridors into Heathrow, not in this consultation. Sleep well]