Residents have one month to submit views on changes to night flight regime
Colnbrook residents have until April 22 to give their views on changes to the night flights regime at Heathrow, but no local groups have been invited to submit evidence.
Minister of State for Transport Simon Burns MP initiated the first of two consultations into night flights on 22nd January, with “relevant organisations for which we have contact details” being contacted and asked to disseminate the document to their members.
The current night flight restrictions are based on: setting a limit on the overall number of night flights; placing restrictions on the noisiest aircraft types; and setting noise quotas which cap the amount of noise energy which can be emitted at night over the course of the regime.
The Government says:
We are aware of the economic arguments for operating night flights. So, as well as looking at options for reducing the noise impact of night flights, this consultation is also an opportunity for interested parties to make the case for night flights and how they can contribute to economic growth. Specific proposals for the next regime, such as the number of permitted night flights, will form the second stage consultation.
This first consultation seeks views and evidence on a range of issues including the effectiveness of the current regime, the costs and benefits of future options and airlines’ fleet replacement plans. Additionally this consultation includes a review of current evidence on the costs of night flights, particularly noise, and the benefits of these flights.
In March 2012 the government announced that it would extend the existing restrictions on night flights at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted Airports for a period of 2 years until October 2014 to allow a new night flying regime to be developed.
This first consultation will also seek evidence on the feasibility, costs and benefits of further options to reduce noise, including:
- operational procedures, including increasing the angle of descent on approach; introducing a night-time easterly preference at Heathrow and extending the use of displaced landing thresholds;
- changing the existing scheduling or operating bans which affect the noisiest aircraft types;
- guaranteed respite periods;
- trade-offs which could include an increase in the number of permitted flights in the night quota period.
Colnbrook’s MP Adam Afriyie has said:
“I know only too well how exhausting it is to be woken by aircraft noise in the early hours.
Heathrow is a noisy, but welcome neighbour for the jobs it supports. However, I am concerned about these proposals, which may impact on the quality of life for Windsor residents.”
Afriye believes if expansion proposals are given the green light, it could mean an additional 1,700 extra flights over the Windsor area from about 1,470 to 3,150 every year. However, the stage 1 consultation contains no specific proposals.
The Government will publish the second consultation later this year and this will include specific proposals for the new regime, such as the number of permitted night flights. These proposals, which will be informed by the evidence we receive from this first stage consultation, will need to strike a fair balance between the interests of those affected by the noise disturbance and those of the airports, passengers and the UK economy.