A plane taking off at Heathrow

Living near Heathrow could increase the risk of hospitalisation

Living near Heathrow Airport could increase your risk of heart disease, according to a recent study from Imperial College London and the University of Leicester.

The study, which included 6.3 million people, monitored the number of patients in the area admitted to hospital with cardiovascular disease.

It is thought that night-time noise pollution from planes flying overhead could explain the increased risk.

More than half of the patients (57%) admitted with heart disease were 65 or older, compared to just 18% of the UK population.


Twickenham MP Munira Wilson has written to Heathrow asking what measures they are taking to tackle this problem and called on Parliament to make aviation noise a statutory nuisance.

If passed, the local council would have to serve Heathrow an abatement notice, which is a demand to stop or limit the nuisance.

Wilson said: “I’ve been stopped in the street by residents saying ‘I saw your letter to Heathrow. Thank you, it’s been unbearable.’”

One resident wrote to the Liberal Democrat MP, claiming she has lived in the constituency for more than 60 years and the noise from Heathrow has never been worse.

Another wrote that she works as a teacher and the planes are disrupting her pupils’ education.

Wilson is concerned that the noise pollution would get even worse if controversial plans for a third runway were ever put into action.

She said: “One thing is very clear: this community will not allow a third runway to go ahead.”

East and west

The increase in noise pollution could be caused by an increase in easterly operations.

Heathrow Airport has westerly operations that fly away from London, and easterly operations that fly over it.

In a 12-week period from 31 March 2023 to 22 June 2023, 71% of days had easterly operations.

For 16 days between 25 May and 10 June, Heathrow ran nothing but easterly operations non-stop.

The recent hot weather could also explain increased sleep disruption, with more people leaving their windows open overnight.

Heathrow’s plans

A representative of Heathrow Airport said: “Heathrow worked with Imperial College to support the research study on impacts of aircraft noise and continues to engage with the research team.

“Heathrow’s noise footprint has shrunk considerably in the last few decades.

“Since 2006, our day, evening and night noise contour has reduced by 28%, and our core night noise contour has reduced by 41%, measured from 2019 noise levels.”

Heathrow Airport is currently holding a public consultation on its Noise Action Plan for 2024-2028.

Residents can respond to the consultation by emailing [email protected], or by filling in an online form.

The consultation ends on Monday.

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