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Community buildings

Heathrow funds noise insulation for community buildings that are exposed to medium to high levels of aircraft noise. The scheme pays for buildings to make noise-insulating modifications such as double-glazing, replacement windows and ventilation.

While insulation can significantly reduce noise levels inside buildings, the benefits do not extend outside. We have been looking at ways to address this, such as funding schools located under flight paths to construct adobe buildings in their grounds.

Who the scheme is for

The community buildings noise insulation scheme applies to noise-sensitive buildings around Heathrow that are exposed to a medium to high level of noise (within the 2002 63 dB Leq noise contour).

Eligible buildings are those in widespread use within the community, where people spend long periods of time, or where they are vulnerable. These include:

  • hospitals, nursing homes and hospices
  • schools and colleges
  • registered nurseries
  • libraries
  • community halls

How the scheme works

Our analysis shows there are 64 eligible community buildings in the area covered. These organisations are contacted directly by the community-led body that administers the scheme.

Experts assess what noise insulation measures to take and the work is then carried by approved contractors. This may involve replacing windows, installing secondary glazing, modifying ventilation or other steps. Where acoustic insulation is not appropriate or cost-effective, the scheme may cover alternative measures. These must be approved on a case-by-case basis.

Heathrow developed the community buildings noise insulation scheme in consultation with local residents and businesses, campaign groups, and local authorities.

Adobe buildings for schools

Heathrow is exploring ways to help schools located under flight paths to provide pupils with opportunities for outside learning and play. One approach that has already proved successful is installing adobe buildings.

Adobe buildings are specially designed domes constructed from long tubes of soil. Their innovative shape and design provides significant noise respite from airplane noise, while retaining a feeling of being outside.

We are offering local primary schools grants of up to £85,000 to install an adobe building in their grounds. The offer is open to primary schools that fall within the eligible area for the community buildings scheme.

Applicants must complete an adobe grant application form, after which we arrange a visit to assess the site and answer any questions.

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