Gatwick campaign, GACC, says “in a civilised world there would be no night flights”
The Government is due to publish within the coming month a consultation on the future of night flights at Gatwick, Heathrow and Stansted. At their recent AGM, GACC members expressed support for people across Europe who are holding a ‘day of action’ against night flights on 24th November. At Gatwick there is a quota for the number of planes allowed to land at night, and a separate quota for the number of noise points. Under pressure from GACC the noise point quota has been steadily reduced over the past 20 years. There are about 50 flights each night in summer at Gatwick, more than at any other UK airport except East Midlands. But the night noise is lower than at Heathrow – because the aircraft are on average smaller. GACC will now be asking for both quotas to be reduced. The new aviation White Paper – which will be produced in spring 2013 – should recognise the desirability of reducing the number of night flights. GACC is opposed to a ‘respite period’ in the middle of the night if that meant more flights at the beginning and end of the night.
Night flight battle
19.11.2012 (GACC – Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign)
The Government is due to publish within the coming month a consultation on the future of night flights at Gatwick and other major airports.
At a crowded meeting last week members of GACC demanded a reduction in the number of night flights. Representatives attended from Buckland, Capel, Charlwood, Coldharbour, Colgate, Cowden, Crawley, East Grinstead, Edenbridge, Forest Row, Hever, Horley, Horne, Leigh, Marsh Green, Mid-Sussex, Newdigate, Nutley, Redhill, Reigate, and Salfords, most of them representing Borough, District or Parish Councils – together with representatives from CPRE Surrey and Plane Stupid.
GACC members expressed support for people across Europe who are holding a ‘day of action’ against night flights on 24 November.
At Gatwick there is a quota for the number of planes allowed to land at night, and a separate quota for the number of noise points. Under pressure from GACC the noise point quota has been steadily reduced over the past twenty years. GACC will now be asking for both quotas to be reduced.
Brendon Sewill, chairman of GACC, said: ‘We welcome the fact the Gatwick Airport have said that they will not be asking for any increase in night flights. But in a civilised world there would be no night flights.’
There are about 50 flights each night in summer at Gatwick, more than at any other UK airport except East Midlands. But the night noise is lower than at Heathrow – because the aircraft are on average smaller.
GACC has already contributed to Government policy on night flights with a detailed submission.* See www.gacc.org.uk/aviation-policy (scroll to night flights). Sewill commented: ‘We are pleased that the new draft White Paper has taken some of our points on board, and in particular that it states that the Government will aim to reduce the number of people affected by noise at night.’
* This is what we told the Government –
- 1. The economic value of night flights, after allowing for depreciation, and after allowing for the effect of paying no fuel tax and no VAT, is likely to be small or negative. We request that the new White Paper should include a balanced assessment including lower fares and higher costs.
- 2. In assessing the impact of night flights, international standards show that at night there is a 10dB differential between rural areas and urban residential areas.
- 3. A continuing gradual reduction in the noise quotas would have many advantages: it would encourage aircraft manufacturers to design quieter aircraft; it would encourage airlines to purchase, and use, quieter aircraft; it would give local residents the assurance that the noise climate at night will gradually improve.
- 4. The new White Paper should also recognise the desirability of reducing the number of night flights.
- 5. GACC is opposed to a ‘respite period’ in the middle of the night if that meant more flights at the beginning and end of the night.
- 6. Noise insulation schemes should be extended to cover the whole 55 Lden contour.
- 7. A levy should be imposed on all night flights.
 This consultation will be about the system used to control night flights. A further consultation will be issued in 2013 on the size of the quotas, and the new regime will come into force in October 2014.
 The GACC AGM was held at the Gatwick Manor Hotel, Crawley, on 9 November. Over 60 people attended.
See also statement on night flights from Stop Stansted Expansion
24th November: European Day of Action against Night Flights
On 24th November Heathrow campaigners will stage an event in Hounslow as part of the European Day of Action against Night Flights. Demonstrators across Europe will call for night flights to be banned. Events are expected to be staged in Belgium, Italy and across Germany.
In Britain, the UK Government is expected to consult next month on a new night flight regime for the three designated airports – Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick. The current agreement with the airlines runs out in October 2014.
The Heathrow event will be staged in Lampton Park, Lampton Road, very close to Hounslow Central Underground Station at 10.30 am. Campaigners are encouraged to wear night dress.
HACAN Chair John Stewart said: “Night flights are hated across Europe. This day of action is expected to mark the start of a Europe-wide campaign to get them banned.”
The Night Flights consultation is long delayed – it was meant to be this spring:
Minister announces consultation on Heathrow Night Flights in spring 2012
24.5.2011 (Hacan press release)
Aviation Minister Theresa Villiers has just announced that the Government will
issue a detailed consultation on the current night flight regime at Heathrow,
Stansted and Gatwick “next spring.” Speaking in as an adjournment debate in Parliament
(1), initiated by Brentford and Isleworth MP Mary Macleod, Villiers said that
the night flight decision would be “one of the most importance issues I will face
as a Minister.”
The current night flight regime comes to an end in October 2012. The Minister
said that the Government might need to ask for a temporary extension of that regime
but it hadn’t made a final decision on that. She explained that the reason why
the formal consultation on night flights was being delayed until next Spring was
to allow the Government to take account of the views expressed in its Aviation
Scoping Document, currently out for consultation until September 2011. The Scoping
Document is the first stage in the Government’s plans to produce a new aviation
policy, expected to be published early in 2013.
In the debate Mary Macleod stressed the adverse impact night flights have on
the health and quality of life of residents under the Heathrow flight paths.
HACAN Chair John Stewart said, “We can see the logic in the consultation being
delayed. We welcome the fact that Theresa Villiers is taking the issue seriously.
This is in contrast to many of her predecessors who seem to give little thought
to night flights.”
(1). Debate can be seen on