Heathrow press releases

21 April, 2015

Heathrow delivers noise insulation to neighbouring schools

Adobe buildings


  • 42 community buildings and schools provided with specially crafted package of noise insulation
  • 5 Hounslow schools to receive ‘adobe’ buildings in 2015 to encourage outdoor learning in schools under flight paths
  • More than £4.8 million in total invested in noise mitigation for community buildings and schools

Heathrow Airport has now completed the insulation of all of Hounslow’s eligible community buildings exposed to medium to high levels of aircraft noise. Through the Community Building Noise Insulation scheme, Heathrow has contributed more than £4.8 million to make noise-insulating modifications such as double-glazing, replacement windows in 42 buildings in communities around Heathrow, including 24 schools, 5 nursing homes and 2 community buildings in Hounslow alone. This investment has been complemented through almost £1.8 million in funding for the construction of 21 adobe buildings in local community schools, of which 5 have already been completed in Hounslow and Slough, and a further 5 are being processed for completion for Hounslow schools this year.


The Community Building Noise Insulation scheme is the result of consultation with local people, including residents, businesses, campaign groups, local councils, MPs and PPCs and was overseen by a community-led working group. The voluntary scheme for acoustic insulation was open to eligible community buildings such including primary and secondary schools, higher/ tertiary colleges, nurseries, hospices, halls and community halls within the 2002 standard 63 Leq noise countour in Hounslow, Hillingdon, Slough, Spelthorne, Richmond, and the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead. Each property’s noise insulation need was independently assessed by Applied Acoustic Design, an independent third party.  


Heathrow is aware that while insulation can significantly reduce noise levels inside buildings, the benefits do not extend outside. To address this issue, Heathrow has offered schools located under the flight paths the opportunity to install the ground-breaking ‘Adobe’ buildings, eco-friendly domes made from long tubes of soil. Their innovative shape and design, which can seat up to thirty pupils, provides significant noise respite from overhead aircraft, whilst still retaining a feeling of being outside. The first scheme of its type in the world, adobe buildings in local schools have proved a huge success, used by pupils during playtime and lunch breaks and supporting the school’s curriculum by providing opportunities for outdoor learning without interruption from aircraft.


John Holland-Kaye, Heathrow’s Chief Executive says:


"The completion of this schools insulation programme and our innovative adobe buildings are only part of our ambitious plans to reduce the impact of aircraft noise on local communities, and be a better neighbour.”

Cllr Stephen Curran, Leader of Hounslow Council says:


“Noise is an issue of concern to local schools and we are pleased Heathrow has worked collaboratively with us to find innovative solutions to ensure the quality of learning at our local schools remains high and Hounslow pupils have quiet classrooms. The conclusion of the insulation programme is a good step towards creating better schools in Hounslow and we will continue to work with the airport in promoting the adobe buildings scheme and the primary and secondary school challenges, Heathrow’s education programme to inspire the next generation of engineers.”


Kathryn Harper- Quinn, Head Teacher Hounslow Heath Infant and Nursery School says:


"As part of the Community Buildings Noise Insulation Scheme, our school, Hounslow Heath Infant and Nursery School, has had all of the windows replaced, which has meant a significant reduction in the impact of aircraft noise on our pupils learning. The school has also benefited from a high quality, bespoke designed ventilation system which maintains the quality of the air within the building and so lessens or removes the need for windows to be opened,  which would obviously compromise their capacity to keep the noise out! We are very pleased with this noise insulation work  as it makes a difference to staff and pupils, and we are just one of many schools in the Heathrow area to benefit from this scheme"

Notes to Editors


About Adobe buildings

Adobe buildings are an invention of Californian architect Nader Khalili developed in 1984 in response to a NASA call for designs for human settlements on the Moon and Mars. They are often used to provide emergency shelters but the benefits have spread further afield.

Small Earth, which make the Heathrow adobes, have been building homes, community buildings and playgrounds both in the UK and around the world since 2004. Using a construction system known as ‘Superadobe’, long tubes of woven polypropylene are filled with soil, laid into shape and then compacted. Barbed wire is used between the layers, acting a bit like Velcro, sticking the tubes together and at the same time providing reinforcement.

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.


About the Community Building Noise Insulation Scheme

The Community Building Noise Insulation Scheme was launched in August 2005 following public consultation in response to the 2003 Government White Paper, The Future of Air Transport (Dec 2003). A Community led body was appointed in 2006 as an independent and impartial body to oversee the prioritisation and implementation of the scheme.


Hounslow Buildings insulated under the Community Building Noise Insulation Scheme:


Green School

Beavers Primary

Bedfont Infant & Nursery

Bedfont Junior

Chatsworth Infant & Nursery

Chatsworth Junior

Cranford infant and Nursery

Cranford Junior

Grove Road

Harvard Park Preschool

Hounslow Heath Infant and Nursery

Hounslow Heath Junior

Isleworth & Syon School for boys

Lampton School

Marjory Kinnon School

Smallbury Primary

Springwell Infant & Nursery

Springwell Junior

St Marks RC School

St Michael & St Martins

Wood Lane Education

Woodbridge Park

Osterley Park Day Nursery

Wellington Primary


Nursing Homes

Ash Grove

Dudley House

Vicarage Farm

White House

Dashwood Court



Bedfont Community Centre

Meadowbank Community Centre


Heathrow Media Centre
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