East Midland Airport claims airport complaints down
29.7.2008 (This is Leicestershire)
One person complained 2,000 times about airport noise in a year, it has emerged.
The person contacted East Midlands Airport an average of five times a day during
2007, managers said.
They were among 13 residents responsible for more than 6,300 complaints about
the Castle Donington airport last year, according to a report.
Complaints about noise were made about flights during the daytime and night.
The leader of a campaign group calling for an end to night flights at the airport
said he was not among the most persistent callers – but said people were right
Steve Charlish, of Demand East Midlands Airport is Now Designated (Demand), has
campaigned for air traffic restrictions for years.
Mr Charlish said: “If people don’t complain then they will have to reap what
they sow. It’s important that people keep complaining. This is one of the noisiest
airports in Europe.
“It’s only going to get worse. People are losing sleep night after night and
it affects health.”
People living under the flight paths, or close to the airport, have complained
that their quality of life is being wrecked by night flights.
Last year, nearly 20,000 planes flew over the area between the hours of 11pm
and 7am – an increase of 2,000 on the previous 12 months.
The airport does not share the same restrictions as Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted
– which are not allowed to have planes take off or land at night.
The total number of complaints was 7,128 in 2007 – the vast majority about noise.
The figure is down from 8,000 complaints the year before, while the overall number
of people complaining dropped from 580.
An airport spokesman said: “We take complaints seriously.
“We log, investigate and respond by letter to every complaint. In some cases,
we visit the person to better understand how aircraft affect them.
“Feedback like this has helped us change the way aircraft operate.
“We’re pleased there were fewer complaints last year and the number of complainants
fell even more steeply.”
The figures came from a community and environment investment report, which said
the airport had installed noise monitoring equipment in the past year. Most aircraft
follow a “continuous descent approach” which reduces noise.
A noise penalty scheme for those who break thresholds has been made tougher,
leading to an extra £11,000 of fines invested into the local community.
The airport’s annual report, also said the amount of waste it recycles more than
doubled from in 2005 to 318 in 2007.
I omitted to add that the airport complaints telephone number is 0845
1088540 and the e-mail contact is firstname.lastname@example.org It is
easy for someone who is not disturbed by the racket created by aircraft
to take sides with the party creating the noise and thus denigrate
those seen to be raining on their parade. The complex mixture of
frequencies created by aircraft noise makes it almost impossible to
habituate and thus ‘get used to it’. The Chairman of the North-West
Leicestershire Planning Committee recently dismissed countless
professionally refereed research projects into aircraft noise
disturbance by saying that ‘people only hear what they want to hear’.
We can thus expect an unbiased decision on the runway extension then?
If empathising with those affected (or should that be ‘afflicted’?)
with aircraft noise is too difficult, try to imagine the effects of an
HGV operator setting up business in your road or street and operating
all night and every night without any let-up. Then try to imagine your
frustration when your repeated complaints are met with what are
effectively complaints that you bothered to complain!
GRAHAM STOCKS, LEICESTERSHIRE CPRE, Quorn
Lack of effective noise controls was of course an attractive feature
for the airport’s present owners and when the Manchester Airport Group
made its bid for EMA, Cllr. Brian Harrison, Chairman of Manchester
Airport at the time, said: “These acquisitions are a good deal for the
shareholders and will yield a good return as well as expanding the
group’s range of activities – especially with the cargo prospects at
East Midlands, an airport site that is one of the least environmentally
constrained in the country.” What is not generally realised here is
that revenue from our regional airport supports Council Tax levels for
Manchester City Council and its nine satellite boroughs (Salford,
Stockport, Oldham, Rochdale, Tameside, Trafford, Bury, Bolton and
Wigan). Manchester City has a 55% holding and the rest is shared
equally among the other authorities. This quote appeared in an article
titled ‘The Empire Builders’ in the Manchester Evening News on February
20th, 2001: ‘[Manchester Airport Group] board members believe further
expansion outside Manchester can win business from the overcrowded
capital. They say it could boost profits and help cut council tax bills
for the 10 Greater Manchester local authorities which own the airport.’
Part of that expansion is a plan to extend EMA’s runway yet again,
although the reasons for the large capital expenditure have not been
made clear. This plan has been ‘on ice’ for eight years and it may
possibly have something to do with Heathrow off-loading short and
medium-haul flights. The question of what the runway extension is
actually for was put to an airport representative and the reply was,
?As a big capital business we have to meet customer satisfaction.? This
of course is no answer; in 1997, the Competition Commission reported
that Manchester Airport’s ‘…target IRR [internal rate of return] on
new investment was at least 10 per cent in the case of capacity-related
projects and at least 15 per cent on other projects. This had been set
to ensure that MA covered its cost of capital and made an adequate
return for its shareholders.’ Obviously, there is something very real
out there that we’re not being told about and it will undoubtedly mean
more flights and more noise – and more revenue to offset Greater
Manchester’s Council Tax levels. So, I take my hat off to those doughty
individuals who have not succumbed to ‘complaints fatigue’ or
browbeating by EMA. This refers to the fact that many of us, myself
included, tend to give up reporting to the airport after a while,
following night after night of interrupted sleep due to aircraft noise.
The reason for giving up is that the feedback merely states that
aircraft were ‘operating normally’ and no further action is taken. A
typical weekday night at EMA sees 75 to 80 aircraft movements between
the hours of 11pm and 7am – try to find another UK civil airport with
anything even approaching this ridiculous level of operations, the
effects of which are felt across not only Leicestershire but E. Staffs,
Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire too. It is therefore in the airport’s
interests (for which read ‘Greater Manchester’) to minimise complaints
regarding adverse environmental effects. If this means marginalising
‘serial complainers’ and not publishing an airport telephone complaints
number in directories it is to the airport’s financial advantage in
that complaint statistics are a Key Performance Indicator, reported
back to the Government.
GRAHAM STOCKS, LEICESTERSHIRE CPRE, Quorn
|Why isn’t EMA’s online Webtrak working properly today ? – there’s no data for
yesterday’s flights (Tuesday 29th), and Monday’s stop at 7pm. It’s useful for
whether checking noisy aircraft have followed the published routes.
|What a boring life someone must live if all they have to do is ring up EMA 5
times a day for a year. I bet they must be on a call free tariff
|david, market harborough|
|Hi, Can any of you people tell which number I call to register my support for
the expansion of this airport? Having a major international airport in the region
is essential for the local economy, and restrictions on its operation or expansion
must be prevented, at all costs.
|Steve Sutton, Leicester|
|I can’t speak for other people but I moved with my parents to my present address
in 1951, my great-grandfather having bought the terraced property in 1899. We
are a tad more than eight miles as the crow flies from EMA’s runway. Unfortunately,
when we get settled anticyclonic weather, sunshine and blue skies aren’t the only
benefits since we get two streams of aircraft passing over the village. This volume
of aircraft throughout the night passing over your house isn’t much fun…
|Graham Stocks, Quorn|
|Why is it that people who live near an airport complain about the noise. ! was
the airport not there before you moved into the property. If you dont like it
dont live there.
|I have given up complaining about the noise from the low flying planes and so
have some some of my neighbours. The airport is not interested in doing anything
about the problem. Other airports like Birmingham fine airlines who cause a nuisance.
|Daniel Grimley, Queniborough|
|I have always wondered whether people who live near the airports & complain,
do they actually fly anywhere. If so they are hypocrites
|s p, leicester|
|Readers might be forgiven for thinking that East Midlands Airport is being feather-bedded
by powers on high in that it beats any other UK civil airport hands down for night-time
noise. The controlling local authority, North-West Leicestershire District Council,
has consistently failed to place any planning controls on noise brought about
by this airport’s activities at night.
|GRAHAM STOCKS, LEICESTERESHIRE CPRE, Quorn|
|EMA are lying – I have made more than 20 complaints about noise low flying aircraft
and night flights. EMA have refused to log a single complaint. I have documentary
evidence of this so am happy to stand by the charge of lying. To K. Please don’t
tell people to move when they were there before the EMA changes to flight paths
and heights took place and had no issues with aircraft noise upto 3 years ago..
Why should individuals be persecuted from their own homes by a greedy irresponsible
“business”? I thought that the right to a private life and a home were entrenched
in British tradition as well as legally enshrined in the EU Human Rights Act as
signed up to by the UK but not adhered to!?
|mike byford, staffordshire moorlands|
|Same guff in the Derby press – Which aircraft operators attracted the most complaints
|EMA, pennbury, education under-funding, police under-funding… is it just a
co-incidence that leics, a safe tory county, has to put up with so much neglect
under a labour govt or is it indicative of a failing in our system of govt?