Heathrow owners would have to shell out £100m every year to households around the airport if it is to match Gatwick’s new noise compensation offer.
Wandsworth Council is fighting plans by the Airports Commission to increase the number of night flights over London because landing additional planes between 5am and 6am would affect people living under the flight paths in Battersea and Putney.
Should Heathrow or Gatwick be expanded
Council officers have calculated Heathrow would have to shell out a staggering £100m every year to households around the airport if it is to match Gatwick’s noise compensation offer.
The two airports are competing for permission to build the country’s next new runway and a commission chaired by Sir Howard Davies is weighing up each case.
Gatwick has pledged to pay £1,000 each to existing homes inside a 57 decibel catchment around the airport and a two runway Gatwick is expected to cover up to 4,100 homes, costing £4.1mn per annum.
Wandsworth residents would not fall under the 57dB catchment area and would therefore not benefit from compensation if it was matched.
The Government uses 57dB metric as the noise threshold for serious community annoyance.
Wandsworth Council argues this is inadequate and fails to recognise the severe impacts on people living further away from the airport.
Gatwick is also offering up to 2,000 qualifying local households a one-off grant of up to £3,000 towards noise insulation. If Heathrow was to match the terms of this scheme it could cost the airport a further £210m.
Councillor Ravi Govindia, leader of Wandsworth Council, said: "Sir Howard Davies and his aviation commission made a serious mistake in shortlisting Heathrow as a potential new runway site without considering these costs.
"It is their job to make fair comparisons between competing airports.
"Davies can't do this if he continues to dismiss the real noise impact of an airport set in the most densely populated part of the country.
"Once you weigh the real environmental costs - and those for improved surface access - against the claimed benefits of an additional runway, Heathrow’s business case begins to look very shaky."
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