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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

 For all vortex queries please phone our help desk during office hours.

  • Call our Help Desk on 0800 344 844

Heathrow operates a 24-hour emergency service. If you suspect that your house has been struck and you need an assessment of your home you should report the damage to us as soon as possible.

  • Call our emergency assessor on 07513 812808 

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.

Vortex Protection

Our roofing contractor is Richardson Roofing Company Ltd. Richardson’s are fully accredited members of CHAS (Construction health & safety), SSIP, members of British Safety Council & National Federation of Roofing Contractors.

Preventing vortex damage

If your roof is repaired under the vortex protection scheme, your property is eligible for permanent protection. 

The majority of vortex strikes are concentrated in small areas near the end of runways, so Heathrow offers blanket vortex protection for homes in these high-risk areas. If the road that you live in becomes a high-risk area, the Heathrow Helpdesk will contact you via letter to invite you to sign up for the Vortex Protection Scheme. 

Applying for the scheme

For more information or to find out if you are eligible to apply, please contact the Noise Helpdesk on 0800 344844 or email:

Use of personal data

Heathrow is committed to protecting your personal information and we are legally obliged to use your information in line with all applicable laws concerning the protection of personal data. For details please see our privacy notice.