Ban on flights over Lake District and Yorkshire Dales is rejected

12.11.2009   (The Westmorland Gazette)

by Alan Tunningley

Countryside campaigners and MPs have condemned the Department for Transport (DfT)
for failing to ban passenger flights over the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales
national parks.

The Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) and the Commons transport
select committee criticised the DfT’s refusal to limit the number of aircraft
flying above the parks.

The row follows research commissioned by the CPRE which showed peace and quiet
was one of the main national park attractions.

In a report acknowledging this, the MPs’ committee said: "Tranquillity is a key
factor in sensitive areas such as national parks and areas of outstanding natural

But the DfT said that [tranquillity] was a ‘subjective concept’ which would mean
different things to different people.

Ralph Smyth, the CPRE’s senior transport campaigner, said: "The Government’s
response seems to be rather dismissive of the work we have done.

"In national parks, there aren’t many other factors affecting tranquillity; that’s
why having planes flying overhead is particularly intrusive.

"Unchecked increases in flights over sensitive areas such as national parks would
progressively destroy the peace and quiet that make these areas special."

The DfT responded: "While Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and national
parks are afforded certain statutory protection, this does not extend to precluding
overflight by aircraft.  In practice it would be impractical to prevent widespread
overflying of areas of outstanding natural beauty or of national parks without
affecting reasonable levels of access to our airports."

Prospective Conservative candidate for Westmorland and Lonsdale Gareth McKeever said: "I’ve never heard any low flying commercial aircraft over the Lake District.

"So as far as I’m concerned there doesn’t appear to be a problem."

He added: "I believe the Lakes should be protected but not preserved in aspic
and to ban aircraft from flying overhead would be a step too far."

link to article



see also the original story from 27th October:

Tranquillity is ‘subjective’, rules Government

The DfT has now said flights over national parks will not be capped because tranquillity
is a “subjective” concept. Replying to a call from the House of Commons’ own Transport
Committee for flights over national parks and AONBs to be limited, ministers said
that to do so would be “impractical”. Current guidance appears to allow unchecked
increases in aviation activity over these areas.” Planes overhead are intrusive
as background sound is so low.

Click here to view full story…


The Transport Committee report   – released on 26.10.2009

“The use of airspace: Government response to the Committee’s Fifth Report of

is at     (14 pages)

This contains all the Committee’s recommendations and the Government (DfT) responses.
Comment from an AirportWatch member:
“But ‘tranquillity’ is a subjective quality and as such can mean different things
to different people – what may be seen as intrusion by one may be acceptable to
So says our wonderful Government – yet so is the quality of a work of art: nobody
has produced an objective index against which the Mona Lisa scores 6.95, yet it’s
very widely accepted as being a thing of great beauty.   The problem is that   civil
servants all have the pinched little minds of accountants – they know the cost
of everything, but the value of nothing.