DfT night flight proposals might cut noise misery for thousands under Heathrow flight paths
The DfT has launched its consultation on the new night flight regime. The intention is partly to examine what could be done to make life easier for residents near Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted – while not unduly affecting the airlines. Heathrow has a much larger noise problem than the other two airports, due to the number of flights, the geography of their flight paths, and the sheer numbers overflown. There is also the problem that the planes that come in at night – some 16 per night between 11.30pm and 6am are from long haul destinations, and are larger, heavier and noisier planes than those for short haul European destinations. There are also around 60 flights per night at Heathrow between 6 – 7am. The consultation proposes a range of measures to cut the noise nuisance, such as requiring aircraft to have a steeper angle of descent into the airport than the current 3 degrees. Another proposal is to reduce the proportion of flights landing from the east from the current 70%, which could lead to an estimated 110,000 people experiencing less noise as a result, thought another 15,000 people would face more disruption.
Proposals could cut misery for people under Heathrow flight path
People living under the Heathrow flight path can look forward to less nocturnal noise under proposals put forward by the Government.
By David Millward, Transport Editor (Telegraph)
23 Jan 2013
A consultation published by the Department for Transport is designed to ease the plight of those whose sleep is disturbed especially by early morning flights into the airport.
The Government is examining what can be done to make life easier for residents near Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted.
It is Heathrow which causes the biggest problems, because of the number of flights over densely populated central and west London during the early morning.
Currently around 17 flights arrive at Heathrow between 11.30pm and 6am and another 60 over the following hour.
Campaigners have called for a complete ban on night flights, which the Government has yet to accept.
But earlier this week it proposed an array of measures which it believes could make a difference including requiring aircraft to have a steeper angle of descent into the airport than the current three degrees.
“Though a number of technical and practical issues would first need to be addressed before a steeper angle can be introduced, the noise benefits of steeper approaches would be potentially significant.”
Another option proposed in the consultation would be to reduce the proportion of flights landing from the east from the current 70 per cent.
This would lead to an estimated 110,000 people experiencing less noise as a result, thought another 15,000 people would face more disruption.
Trials have already started of a respite scheme, in which people living in certain parts of London at the start of the descent are spared noise for a week at a time with air traffic controllers diverting planes onto alternative routes.
According to the DfT many of the benefits will come from the next generation of aircraft, which will be quieter than those operating currently.
With aircraft normally having a 25 year lifespan many of the first generation of Boeing 747s – or jumbo jets – are expected to retire over the next decade.
Already the Airbus A380, the biggest commercial aircraft in the skies, generates considerably less noise than the Boeing 747s it could replace.
Unveiling its proposals the Government, which has been under pressure from the airline industry to allow more night flights, admitted that sleep deprivation carried an economic cost and is seeking views on how this could be calculated.
John Stewart, Chair of HACAN, which represents residents under the Heathrow flight paths, said: “We are very clear that we want a ban on night flights before 6 o’clock and a progressive reduction between 6am and 7am.
“Many people under the Heathrow flight paths don’t need an alarm clock; the first plane wakes them at 4.30am.”
He added: “However, we do welcome the fact that the Government is prepared to look at noise mitigation measures such as steeper approaches and guaranteed respite periods.”
The consultation does mention that the A380 powered with Trent engines is anomalously louder than it should be for its noise classification and the CAA is working with Rolls Royce to understand this.
Close to the airport the A380 may be quieter than the 747 , but over several suburban areas a little further away this variant of the A380 is no quieter than the noisy 747s it is meant to replace. I wouldn’t want them throughout the night !
DfT announces start of 3 month consultation on night flight regime at Heathrow, Gatwick & Stansted
Date added: January 22, 2013
The government has begun a 3 month consultation into night flights at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted Airports. It is calling for views and evidence on “the effectiveness of the current regime, the costs and benefits of future options and airlines’ fleet replacement plans”. The consultation closes on 22nd April 2013. Transport Minister Simon Burns says: “This consultation includes a review of current evidence on the costs of night flights, particularly noise, and the benefits of these flights. It sets out our thinking on how we would expect to appraise the policy options for the next night flights regime.” The government will publish the 2nd consultation later this year. It will include specific proposals for the new regime, such as the number of permitted night flights. The proposals in the 2nd consultation will be informed by the evidence received from this 1st stage consultation. The Dft says it aims 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.”
Heathrow residents disappointed there is still no night flight ban in the Dft consultation
Date added: January 22, 2013
Commenting on the publication today of the DfT’s consultation into a new night flight regime at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, HACAN (the Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise) said is was disappointed that the Government has still not committed itself to a night flight ban. However, they have welcomed the fact that the Government is prepared to look at measures which could mitigate the noise. These include increasing the angle of descent on approach; guaranteed respite periods; changing the existing scheduling or operating bans which affect the noisiest aircraft types. John Stewart, Chair of HACAN, which represents residents under the Heathrow flight paths, said: “We are very clear that we want a ban on night flights before 6 o’clock and a progressive reduction between 6am and 7am. Many people under the Heathrow flight paths don’t need an alarm clock; the first plane wakes them at 4.30 am.”
Night flights could approach from west to reduce noise
22 January 2013
The plan was floated in a government paper on the future of controls at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted. It will consider the economic benefits of more flights after 11pm and in the early morning. Options for reducing noise include:
Directing aircraft landing at Heathrow at night to approach from the west rather than over the city. It would mean nearly 110,000 people in west London would suffer less noise, while 15,000 living west of the airport would suffer more.
Allowing aircraft to land at a steeper angle so that fewer homes are affected by low-flying jets.
Telling pilots to land farther along main runways, sparing some homes from noise.
Night flights currently alternate between westerly and easterly approaches to Heathrow, with 16 between 11.30pm and 6am, and about 60 between 6am and 7am.
Transport minister Simon Burns said proposals this year would try to strike “a fair balance” between the interests of those disturbed by the noise and of the airports, passengers and the economy. Local residents welcomed the noise reduction ideas but were disappointed there was no ban on extra night flights.