Thank Heaven for your paper publishing protests against the expansion of RAF Northolt. For years I have corresponded with a number of bodies complaining about the increased aircraft noise and pollution, but to no avail.

I have lived in this house under the flightpath of Northolt, with aircraft about 500 feet or less above the rooftops, for 66 years. Among other factors, there is the ever present danger of an accident waiting to happen.

I was in the RAF during World War Two for six-and-a-half years and, on occasion, on landing we experienced a condition known as "freak downdraft". We did not know why this happened, but I know that sometimes in these conditions aircraft became uncontrollable and ploughed into the ground.

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Since the flightpath for RAF Northolt covers large housing estates, extending to the periphery of the aerodrome, the proposed increase in the number of flights shortens the odds of a major disaster. I know the Government has indicated that nothing has been decided, but we residents have noticed a great deal of money has been spent over the last few years. For what reason?

The Secretary of State for Defence recently listed Northolt in his list of cutbacks. It does not need much thinking about to realise that Northolt could be sold off, then what? Combine the money already spent on it, plus the statement by the chief of Stagecoach that it is prepared to spend millions of pounds on Northolt, as he has already done on Prestwick airport in Scotland.

The people who make such proposals do not live anywhere near a flightpath. Over the years, air traffic has increased, not just the single and twin-engined aircraft but, for some time, four-engined aircraft, polluting our environment even more, not only with noise but discharging fuel during reverse thrust on landing.

We have had verbal agreements in the past that there would be no flights before 8am and after 5pm. But we experience flights operating as late as 11pm and sometimes at 1am, 2am or 3am.

I am 79, one of a large number of retired people in this area. We expect peace and quiet in the autumn of our lives, after all we fought for it. We must continue fighting tooth and nail against increased civilian flights at RAF Northolt, for our democratic freedom and our environment.

G Marshall, Sandringham

Crescent, Harrow

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