Airport makes a peace offering

14th October 2005 at 01:00
Heathrow airport is planning to pay for field trips to give pupils at nearby schools brief respite from the jet engine noise which blights their lessons.

The British Airports Authority will this month set up a charity to spend Pounds 5 million a year insulating 64 schools, nurseries and community buildings near London's biggest airport.

Schools will be able to apply for the insulation work from next August for five years.

This week an attempt by MPs to force airports to pay to insulate schools failed in the House of Commons.

However, BAA has been under pressure to reduce the impact of aircraft noise on schools since a study last year found it damaged pupils' concentration and test results.

Mark Mann, head of media relations for BAA, said it would also pay for some field trips. "It would give the children a chance to go somewhere new and do something different and, yes, it would get them away from the aircraft noise," he said.

The idea failed to impress Ruth Cadbury, the Labour councillor responsible for aviation issues in Hounslow.

"They would have to take the kids out for an entire week, every other week, for that to work," she said. "What the schools need is insulation."

The maximum pound;25m promised by BAA Heathrow falls far short of the estimated pound;150m to pound;200m which Hounslow council estimates it will cost to insulate its schools so they meet the Government's building standards.

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