Heathrow’s Myrtle Avenue: A plane spotter’s paradise
At first glance, Myrtle Avenue, with leafy gardens in pleasant semi-detached houses seems like a suburban idyll.
But appearances can be deceptive as the street, located in the London borough of Hounslow, is believed to be one of the noisiest in Britain – as it’s just a stone’s throw from Heathrow Airport.
The road is one of the closest streets to the airport’s busy southern runway at just 100 yards from the airport perimeter, with planes regularly flying low over the houses as they jet off and come in to land.
Currently there are around 1,280 arrivals flights coming in and out of Heathrow every day, mostly between 6am and 11pm, with the airport alternating the runway used by landing aircraft in a bid to provide noise relief for those living nearby. Airlines are also fined if their planes breach noise restrictions set at 94 decibels during the day, and 87 at night.
A Heathrow spokesman said: ‘We recognise that as well as bringing huge benefits to the UK and the local communities, an airport of the size and importance of Heathrow can have downsides for people living nearby.
‘We are taking significant steps to tackle noise; we encourage airlines to fly only their quietest aircraft into Heathrow, charge airlines more for noisier aircraft and have schemes to insulate local properties. We are committed to reducing the impacts of noise further and will continue to work with local residents to do this.’
Plans for a third runway would enable Heathrow to handle 260,000 more flights a year, but the good news for residents in Myrtle Avenue who might be reaching for the ear plugs at the prospect is that the shortlisted proposals place the new runway to the north west of the airport.
The road’s views of both runways make it a popular base for plane spotters, who come from around the world to watch the world’s largest planes landing on one of the two runways at Heathrow, the busiest airport in Europe.
Peter Graham, 71, told the BBC the plane spotters’ cars block the road back and residents often can’t get out.
Meanwhile Himesh Patel, 22, who has lived on the street his entire life, said: ‘Sometimes I have beeped the horn on my car for an hour to get their attention and find out who is blocking the driveway.’
The aviation enthusiasts bring chairs, blankets, picnics and cameras with long lenses, so they can enjoy the massive aircraft coming in to land and taking off in comfort.
Plane spotter Gerhard came from Austria to see the spectacle: ‘I think there is no place in Europe where you can get so many planes landing in such a short time, so it’s a special place here,’ he told the Telegraph.
Despite the noise and disruption, the houses are still worth an estimated average £276,946, because of the site’s proximity to the capital.
It’s a popular spot for plane spotters who come from all over the world to watch planes land on the two runways.