Several years ago, Dulwich Society member Jeremy Gilliard wrote in the Newsletter of the apparent increase in aircraft over flying Dulwich in the early morning. Since then, this disturbance to the residents has got steadily worse.
Patricia Hole of Rouse Gardens, Alleyn Park discovered this for herself during the summer. She writes:
At the end of July our son returned from Malawi and arrived at Heathrow on a flight which was due in at 6.25am. Leaving home at 5.00 to meet him, I was astonished to see how frequently the planes came in over our house from the direction of Crystal Palace. They seemed to come one after another just as they do in daytime. I had been aware of aircraft noise during the early mornings, often hearing them from 5.00 including weekends. However, the frequency astonished me.
At Heathrow, that morning, we had a long wait and eventually met our son who told us that the airplane had waited for 40 minutes on the tarmac before moving to an empty bay for unloading, on account of the number of flights arriving at that early hour.
It is revealing to look at Ceefax, as it shows how many flights are due and at what time they are expected to arrive. I kept a record from Monday 22nd September to Tuesday 30th September and noted early morning flights into Terminals 1, 3, and 4. Terminal 4 has five flights due in between 05.05 and 05.21, of which some were expected as early as 04.41. These would, of course, be flying over Dulwich even earlier.
I do not remember so much aircraft movement at such an early hour in years gone by.
David Franklin of Denmark Hill has also written in a similar vein and points out that that there is also overflying of Dulwich from flights to both London City Airport and Gatwick and although the airplanes are at different heights, their flightpaths criss-cross our area.
It may get worse. A Government White Paper announcing its plans for aviation for the next thirty years is due to be published at about the same time as this issue of the Newsletter appears.