HEATHROW is launching a major consultation as it prepares to embark on the biggest reorganisation of its airspace since 1946.

Parliament is not expected to vote on whether to give the third runway plan the go-ahead until April or May next year. But the airport is launching consultations on what mitigation measures should be put in place if it is given the go-ahead, as well as on the design of new flight paths.

John Stewart, chairman of HACAN, which gives a voice to residents under the Heathrow flight paths, said: “These will be very important consultations for local communities. They could impact the quality of people’s lives for generations to come. During the consultation period HACAN will be putting forward tough proposals to mitigate the impacts of a third runway should it be given the go-ahead. And we will seize the chance to assist with the design of new flight paths so that they give local people as much respite from the noise as possible.”

Both consultations will last for a 10 week period.

Heathrow has been expected for some time to consult on new flight paths. It will reorganize its airspace whether or not it is given permission for a new runway. The airspace changes are being driven by new technology which allows aircraft to be guided more precisely, cutting the cost of fuel for airlines and reducing CO2 emissions.

Mr Stewart said “This the new technology to modernize airspace clearly benefits the aviation industry. But it could also work to give residents respite, if the new precision flight paths that will be coming in are rotated so as to give meaningful respite to local communities.”