Night pol­lu­tion – have your say on air­craft noise

Pro­pos­als crit­i­cised for not set­ting out mean­ing­ful changes

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - By Amita Joshi amita.joshi@trin­i­tymir­

NEW mea­sures to cut the noise al­lowed from night flights at Heathrow Air­port have been an­nounced, but cam­paign­ers claim there are no real changes.

On Thurs­day, the De­part­ment for Trans­port (DfT) set out mea­sures which are now out for pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion, which it ar­gues will en­cour­age the use of qui­eter air­craft.

Cur­rent night flight re­stric­tions at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted air­ports ex­pire in Oc­to­ber 2017, and the new rules will last for the next five years up to 2022.

The plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion for the third run­way will be for­mally sub­mit­ted in 2019, but the de­ci­sion sur­round­ing night flights must be de­cided be­fore D-Day, cam­paign­ers ar­gue

Avi­a­tion min­is­ter Lord Ah­mad, said: “This Gov­ern­ment is com­mit­ted to tack­ling the is­sue of air­craft noise, es­pe­cially flights at night, which can be a blight for peo­ple liv­ing near air­ports.

“Night flights are, how­ever, im­por­tant to the econ­omy, cre­at­ing ex­tra choice for pas­sen­gers and mov­ing freight, and we need to care­fully bal­ance the needs of lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties with the ben­e­fits th­ese flights can bring.

“That’s why we are en­cour­ag­ing the use of qui­eter air­craft by bring­ing in tighter noise quo­tas at the air­ports and set­ting strict caps on air­craft move­ments at night.”

Mea­sures out for con­sul­ta­tion in­clude re­duc­ing the to­tal noise quota at Heathrow Air­port by at least 43% in the win­ter (from 4,080 “noise clas­si­fi­ca­tion” points to 2,340) and 50% in the sum­mer (5,100 “noise clas­si­fi­ca­tion points” to 2,540).

Each air­craft is set a quota value de­pend­ing on how loud it is upon take­off and land­ing, which is the fig­ure the new mea­sures are hop­ing to re­duce.

How­ever, the views have al­ready been crit­i­cised by cam­paign­ers against the Heathrow third run­way, who told getwest­lon­don that “for peo­ple on the ground, the mi­nor changes will make no dif­fer­ence to noise”.

John Ste­wart, chair of the cam­paign group HACAN (Heathrow As­so­ci­a­tion for the Con­trol of Air­crafts), said, “Lo­cal res­i­dents will be dis­ap­pointed that their early morn­ing wake-up call re­mains the first flight at 4.30am.

“We do, though, see the sense in post­pon­ing any changes un­til the ques­tion of a third run­way is set­tled.

“Dur­ing the forth­com­ing con­sul­ta­tion on the new run­way we will be ar­gu­ing very strongly for no flights be­fore 6am.”

HACAN mem­bers ar­gue the Gov­ern­ment is propos­ing no change, and yet it was agreed if there was a third run­way, a tougher night flight regime was to be ne­go­ti­ated.

Jackie Clark-Bas­ten, chair­man of Stop Heathrow Ex­pan­sion, said: “It is clear from this con­sul­ta­tion that the Gov­ern­ment would rather not up­set res­i­dents fur­ther by mak­ing changes to the night flight regime while they are al­ready un­der threat from a fur­ther 260,000 flights per year if a third run­way goes ahead.

“I en­cour­age res­i­dents to re­spond to this con­sul­ta­tion.”

At present an av­er­age of 16 flights each night are al­lowed to land at Heathrow be­tween 11.30pm and 6am.

There are no sched­uled de­par­tures dur­ing this period. The first in­bound flight lands at 4.30am.

The con­sul­ta­tion can be viewed at https://www. gov­ern­ment/ con­sul­ta­tions/night-flight-re­stric­tions -at -gatwick-heath row - and - stansted and will run un­til Tues­day, Fe­bru­ary 28, 2017, after which re­sponses will be re­viewed and a fi­nal de­ci­sion on night flights will be pub­lished.

IN CON­SUL­TA­TION: John Hol­land-Kaye, CEO of Heathrow Air­port

CHANCE TO RE­SPOND: The Gov­ern­ment has launched a pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion on cut­ting overnight noise from planes, but cam­paign­ers ar­gue the pro­posed changes are mi­nor

‘STRONG’ AR­GU­MENTS: John Ste­wart, chair of HACAN, an anti-noise cam­paign group

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