03:29AM, Wednesday 13 February 2013
Worried Old Windsor villagers must wait to see if the recent escalation in aircraft flights over their homes becomes a permanent part of their lives.
At a public meeting held in the village last week, residents heard Heathrow's director of policy Nigel Milton, admit that recent trials aimed at improving passenger comfort has led to planes flying low over Old Windsor.
As part of the trials, planes have been veering off to the left or right earlier than before, allowing passengers a 'quicker getaway'. It led to a massive increase in noise levels over Old Windsor and to a fourfold increase in complaints from people living in the village.
The experiment is now over for the time being. But the results of the trials will be submitted to the government - complete with details of complaints - this summer. Ultimately a public consultation will give everyone the chance to have their say.
Old Windsor villagers are expected to make a stand.
The riverside area of Ham Island at Old Windsor has been particularly affected by recent experiments. Jim Wanamaker and Gillie Bolton live there. Gillie said: "We live in a beautiful area but it is being spoilt by this increase in flights. You can't even hear yourself talk because of the planes that now fly directly overhead."
Jim said: "We are realistic. They are cutting flights over Windsor and we are getting the majority of it instead. It is not just noise. There is also the problem of pollution, oily blackness coming down on us."
Chairman of Old Windsor Residents Association Duncan Pollock said that Heathrow's Nigel Milton and his technical expert Andy Wadham had impressed everyone at the meeting by being honest in acknowledging the added noise burden that the village had faced.
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