Gatwick has more night flights than Heathrow or Stansted – and that will continue for next 5 years
The Government Department for Transport (DfT) has released the long awaited night flight consultation documents (ends 28th February). The number of flights between 23:00 and 07.00 would not be reduced. The current number, and the one proposed for the next 5 years, is 3,250 in the winter and 11,200 in the summer, making an annual total of 14,450 which averages as 40 per night through the year. There will be a slight reduction in the quota count, as it is not being used – so the new figure will not change anything. This will be a reduction of at least 345 in the winter to 1655 [from 2000] and 1,330 in the summer to 4870 [from 6200]. Local campaign group CAGNE has commented about how unsatisfactory the proposals for Gatwick are. Sally Pavey, Chair of CAGNE said: “We would like to see a total ban on Gatwick night flights as this is a major cause of complaints we receive from communities. Summer nights especially when residents want to enjoy their gardens and have windows open on hot evenings.” CAGNE says it is regrettable that the government seems to “accept the economic case over the health implications of allowing night flights to continue.” Gatwick plans to continue to grow at perhaps 10% per year, meaning continually increasing noise.
The Stansted number are proposed to rise
An increase of 600 movements in the winter season from 5,000 to 5,600
• An increase of 1,100 movements in the summer season from 7,000 to 8,100
Gatwick has more night flights than Heathrow or Stansted Airports
The Government Department for Transport (DfT) has released the long awaited night flight consultation documents.
and consultation responses can be submitted using the online response form at https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/J6KX6
Residents only have until 28th February to comment on the proposals.
Even with the DfT’s proposed increase in summer night flights at Stansted, there would still be hugely more night flights at Gatwick than either Heathrow or Stansted. While the DfT proposes the current numbers at Heathrow and Gatwick to remain the same, they would rise at Stansted. That would still mean 11,200 flights at night in the summer period at Gatwick, compared to 8,100 at Stansted and 3,250 at Heathrow.
Sally Pavey, Chair of CAGNE said: “We would like to see a total ban on Gatwick night flights as this is a major cause of complaints we receive from communities. Summer nights especially when residents want to enjoy their gardens and have windows open on hot evenings.”
“It is good to see that the Government acknowledges that aircraft noise at night represents the least acceptable form of aircraft noise, but they seem to accept the economic case over the health implications of allowing night flights to continue.”
The current restrictions on night movements expire in October 2017 and the DfT consultation details the proposals for the restrictions that should replace them. It is proposed that the restrictions should last for five years. This is quite separate from Heathrow expansion proposals of a night ban, if a runway was built.
Gatwick has already introduced a system that encourages airlines to fly quieter planes at night but this still includes planes that residents would class as noise unacceptable, over 20 years old.
“We would like to see better scheduling of night movements and that the 6-7am period be included in the night quotas at Gatwick” said Sally.
Gatwick would seem to target a 10% rate of annual growth as desirable for the airport, so affected communities must make their voices known to the DfT through this latest aviation consultation.
“This winter season has witnessed an increase in flights which has not provided the respite that is normally welcome at this time of year.
CAGNE knows residents are dreading the summer months as Gatwick continues to cause major noise issues for its neighbours within a 30 miles radius off its single runway with concentrated flight paths to and from the airport.
The annual noise reports for all three airports can be found online at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/noise-exposure-contours-around-london-airports
The DfT consultation document says:
Proposal – Noise Quota Limits Heathrow and Gatwick
3.22. Both Heathrow and Gatwick are using proportionately less of their noise quota limits than their movement limits. For instance, in the summer 2016 season, Heathrow used 91% of its movement limit, but only 45% of its noise quota. For Gatwick the figures were 101% and 79% respectively – based on limits before the carryover and overrun provisions were applied.
3.23. As the current restrictions stand therefore, there is little to incentivise the use of quieter aircraft nor to prevent an airline from replacing an aircraft operating a route with a noisier one.
We therefore propose, that as a minimum, both airports’ noise quotas are reduced to reflect the level of current noise quota usage. The reductions would be:
• For Heathrow, a reduction of at least 1,740 in the winter to 2,340 and 2,560 in the summer to 2,540.
• For Gatwick, a reduction of at least 345 in the winter to 1655 [from 2000] and 1,330 in the summer to 4870 [from 6200].
New measures to cut night flight noise at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted published for consultation.
12.1.2017 (DfT website)
The government has announced new measures to cut the noise allowed from night flights at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted.
Measures out for public consultation today (12 January 2017) will help encourage the use of quieter aircraft to limit the number of people significantly affected by aircraft noise at night, while maintaining the existing benefits to passengers and the economy of night flights.
Current night flight restrictions at the 3 airports expire in October 2017, and the new rules will last for the next 5 years up to 2022.
Measures out for consultation include:
- reducing the total noise quota at Heathrow Airport by at least 43% in the winter (from 4,080 to 2,340) and 50% in the summer (5,100 to 2,540) 1
- reducing noise quotas at Gatwick by at least 17% in the winter (from 2,000 to 1,655) and 21% in the summer (6,200 to 4,870)1
- setting a strict cap at existing levels for the number of night flights from Heathrow and Gatwick
- ending exemptions for almost 1700 night flights operating out of Stansted by including these in the new cap, setting a strict limit which the airport cannot exceed
Aviation Minister Lord Ahmad said:
This government is committed to tackling the issue of aircraft noise, especially flights at night, which can be a blight for people living near airports.
Night flights are, however, important to the economy, creating extra choice for passengers and moving freight, and we need to carefully balance the needs of local communities with the benefits these flights can bring. That’s why we are encouraging the use of quieter aircraft by bringing in tighter noise quotas at the airports and setting strict caps on aircraft movements at night.
The consultation will run until Tuesday 28 February 2017, after which responses will be reviewed and a final decision on night flights will be published.
This consultation is not connected to the government’s announcement in October 2016 on its preference for expansion at Heathrow, subject to full and fair consultation, and restrictions will last 5 years, up to 2022.
The government will also be launching a consultation on airspace policy shortly. We will be proposing measures to ensure the interests of communities affected by aircraft noise are properly balanced with those of passengers and the industry, including how an independent aviation noise body can facilitate better engagement on noise issues.
Each aircraft is set a quota value between 0 and 16 depending on how loud it is upon take-off and landing. By reducing the total noise quota allowance, industry will be encouraged to use quieter aircraft.