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
to complain.

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.

link to article



Reader comments



I omitted to add that the airport complaints telephone number is 0845

1088540 and the e-mail contact is environment@nottinghamema.com 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!


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.




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.
Dave,  Derby


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.
skyblue,  leicester


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.


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
Dave,  Derby


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?
avtar,  oadby