Repair vortex damage
A vortex is a circulating current of air generated by planes. It can sometimes strike and damage the roofs of houses located under a flight path. Pitched roofs with loose-laid tiles are prone to vortex damage.
Heathrow has a vortex protection scheme to protect and repair homes around the airport. If your home has been damaged by a vortex strike, we will repair it. Although legal liability for vortex damage rests with the airlines, Heathrow voluntarily funds this scheme as part of its commitment to the local community.
Who the scheme is for
Every house, school, church or hospital affected by a vortex strike is eligible for the vortex protection scheme. This includes home situated above commercial properties. Unfortunately the scheme does not cover damage to other property, such as cars, from roof tiles dislodged by a vortex.
How the scheme works
Heathrow operates a 24-hour telephone service for reporting vortex damage. If you suspect your house has sustained a strike, you should report it immediately by:
- calling our assessor on 07860 323816 or 020 8745 5590, or
- completing the vortex damage form at the bottom of this page.
We will send out an assessor to inspect your roof as soon as possible. The damage caused by vortex strikes is very specific, and the assessor will quickly be able to confirm whether one has occurred. Please do not undertake any repairs before the inspection, as homes are only eligible for the scheme if the damage has been officially verified.
Once approved, Heathrow will carry out free, remedial repairs to your roof.
Preventing vortex damage
If your roof is repaired under the vortex protection scheme, your property is eligible for permanent protection. This involves strengthening the roof by fixing down new tiles with special metal clips, which has proven to be the most effective way to protect roofs from vortex damage. This work will be completed as soon as possible and free of charge
Because the majority of vortex strikes are concentrated in small areas near the end of runways, Heathrow offers blanket vortex protection for homes in these high-risk areas.
No further vortex damage has been recorded at homes that have had their roofs strengthened under the vortex protection scheme.