Heathrow night flights are “inhumane” and the airport is urged to stop them
There is pressure on the management of Heathrow to justify the use of night flights. This has been discussed at the London Assembly’s environment committee. There are some 15 flights that land at Heathrow between 11.30pm and 6am every day and which activists say have an impact on 100,000 West Londoners. For many people the first plane coming in at 4.30am is their alarm clock. As well as campaigners against Heathrow’s expansion, senior local council executives say the flights are “inhuman” and there is an economic cost to sleep deprivation. Colin Ellar, deputy leader of Hounslow Council, said “even a quiet airplane is very noisy. It will wake you up when it’s still dark, you might get back to sleep, you might not.” “I’d say it’s the equivalent of a lorry coming and revving its engine just outside your bedroom window several times a night,” Heathrow say night flights boost the economy by £340m a year and by 6,600 jobs (evidence for that?)
“Inhuman”: Heathrow airport bosses urged to stop night flights
Heathrow bosses today came under pressure to justify the use of night flights into the country’s biggest airport.
They were urged to stop the 15 flights that land at Heathrow between 11.30pm and 6am every day and which activists say impact on 100,000 West Londoners.
Local council bosses and anti-expansion campaigners claimed the flights were “inhuman” and pointed out there was an economic cost to sleep deprivation.
Colin Ellar, deputy leader of Hounslow Council, said: “The only way you’re going to stop that annoyance is to stop the night flights. You’re not going to alleviate the nuisance if you’ve still got flights going over your head.”
John Stewart from HACAN added: “For many people the first plane coming in at 4.30am is their alarm clock.”
Heathrow chiefs told the London Assembly’s environment committee they accepted night flights had an impact but that they boosted the economy by £340m a year and by 6,600 jobs.
The airport’s sustainability director Matthew Gorman said: “We believe that night flights are an important part of the airport’s operation but equally we recognise they have an impact.
“We are committed to tackling these through introducing quieter technology and trialling new operational processes.”
Almost 6,000 of Heathrow’s 480,000 flights a year operate during the night, with 80 per cent landing between 4.30am and 6am, mostly from the Far East.
However, Mr Ellar, who lives under the flight path, said: “They’re very noisy, even a quiet airplane is very noisy. It will wake you up when it’s still dark, you might get back to sleep, you might not.”
Even though his house was soundproofed by Heathrow with roof insulation and triple-glazing, the noise still got through.
“I’d say it’s the equivalent of a lorry coming and revving its engine just outside your bedroom window several times a night,” he said.
“That experience is shared probably by 100,000 people and others will have it to a lesser degree. Let’s be honest, it’s inhuman to have planes land over you at 4.30 in the morning.”
The committee, which will submit evidence to the Department of Transport’s night flights consultation – which will in turn inform the Davies Commission into aviation – previously suggested there should be no night flights at all.
Committee chair Murad Qureshi said: “Londoners deserve a good night’s kip. Night flights are a key environmental concern. If you knock on doors in West London suburbs you won’t hear about carbon emissions or air quality, you’ll hear about aircraft noise.”