What do you think about night flights? Deadline April 22

The Government is consulting on night flight regulation for Heathrow and other large airports. The deadline for response is Monday 22 April.

If you are disturbed by flights late at night or early in the morning, take this opportunity to tell the government and influence the new rules which will come into force from October 2014.

Current rules
Under the current regime, the night period extends from 11pm – 7am but the night quota period, where most flying restrictions apply, is shorter: from 11.30pm – 6am. About 25 flights are scheduled to take-off from Heathrow between 6 – 7am. No flights should take-off after 11.30pm but delays during the day result in planes often flying over Ealing later than this, sometimes much later. Heathrow operates at 99% capacity, so there is little contingency.

Consultation process
This is the first stage of a two part consultation. The government is gathering evidence at this stage in order to develop proposals which will be issued for consultation towards the end of the year.

Key points to make

  • Question 2 of the consultation asks ‘Do you have any comments on our assessment of the extent to which the current objectives [to minimise noise disturbance during the night] have been met?’ This is an opportunity to write about your personal experience of being disturbed by planes at night (eg how frequently you are disturbed by night flights, whether this has worsened over time, any other patterns you have noted).
  • Question 4 asks ‘Do you have any views on whether noise quotas and movement limits should apply only to the existing night quota period or to a different time period?’ Many groups representing overflown communities believe that there should be a ban on night flights between 11pm – 6am and the phasing out of flights between 6-7am. This would give residents the 8 hour respite from flights recommended by the World Health Organisation.
You can submit your response in one of three ways: 
  • by using the response form on the Department for Transport’s website. 
  • by emailing night.noise@dft.gsi.gov.uk
  • by post to Department for Transport, Great Minster House (1/26), 33 Horseferry Road, London SW1P 4DR.
For more information, the ‘HACAN Clearskies’ group has produced a short guide to the consultation and an assessment of the economic cost of night flights. The Ealing Aircraft Noise Action Group website has links to the consultation and reports on the health effects of noise disturbed sleep.

You may also be interested in a rally against Heathrow expansion on Saturday 27th April, 9.30 – 10.30am at Barn Elms Playing Fields, Queen Elizabeth Walk, SW13 9SA. This has been arranged by the Richmond MP Zac Goldsmith, and speakers will include Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, and Justine Greening, who was Secretary of State for Transport until last year’s re-shuffle.

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