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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.

    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.

    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. This involves strengthening the roof by fixing down specified tiles and metal clips that have passed stringent wind tunnel tests, 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.

    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