Stop Stansted Expansion calls for an end to night flights over an 8 hour period, not 6½ hours
Date added: November 19, 2012
On the eve of next Saturday’s European Day of Action Against Night Flights (November 24), Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has renewed its call for a total ban on night flights. Stansted is currently permitted by the Government to handle up to 12,000 night flights a year, between 11.30pm and 6.00am. This is more than double the number of night flights permitted at Heathrow (5,800) even though Heathrow is four times bigger than Stansted. Stansted’s rural location means the impact of aircraft noise on local residents trying to sleep is worse than at Heathrow because rural ambient noise levels at night are so much lower than in a city. Stansted has 24 hour BA cargo flights, using noisy ‘Super Jumbo’ Boeing 747-8 cargo aircraft are only based at Stansted because they are not allowed to be based at Heathrow. A report in 2011 showed the scale of the economic savings that would be made at Heathrow if night flights were stopped, due to the costs of sleep disturbance and stress caused by night flight noise – and the same logic applies to Stansted. Tired workers are less healthy and productive. “The impact of night flight noise has been consistently underestimated and it’s time for the Government to set down a firm timetable for ending the misery of night flights.”
On the eve of next Saturday’s European Day of Action Against Night Flights (November 24), Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has renewed its call for a total ban on night flights.
Stansted is currently permitted by the Government to handle up to 12,000 night flights a year, between 11.30pm and 6.00am. This is more than double the number of night flights permitted at Heathrow (5,800) even though Heathrow is four times bigger than Stansted.
British Airways’ only flights from Stansted are its noisy ‘Super Jumbo’ Boeing 747-8 cargo aircraft which are permitted to fly in and out of the Essex airport 24 hours a day and are only based at Stansted because they are not allowed to be based at Heathrow.
In evidence submitted to the Government in connection with the current Aviation Policy Review SSE acknowledges that more people are affected by aircraft noise at night around Heathrow. However, it is exactly because of Stansted’s rural location that the impact on local residents trying to sleep is far worse because ambient noise levels at night are so much lower in the countryside compared to a city.
An independent study carried out last year at Heathrow showed that the cost of a total ban on night flights to business would be outweighed by savings made through the reduced costs of sleep disturbance and stress caused by night flight noise.
“The same logic would apply to Stansted”, said Martin Peachey, SSE’s noise adviser and one of the authors of the campaign group’s evidence to the Government’s Aviation Policy Review. Mr Peachey continued: “Many of those disturbed by night flight noise around Stansted are people who do vitally important jobs for the UK economy and society. The impact of night flight noise has been consistently underestimated and it’s time for the Government to set down a firm timetable for ending the misery of night flights.”
Another study, cited by SSE in its evidence, shows that among the health dangers of night flights is sleep disturbance that can seriously harm a child’s performance at school.
SSE’s evidence to Government on the damage from night flights will feature strongly in its submission to the Airports Commission, headed by Sir Howard Davies, which is likely to determine whether or not Stansted should be allowed to expand.
To mark European Day of Action Against Night Flights, demonstrations are planned for this week-end in major cities across Europe, including London, Paris and Frankfurt.
·A key element of SSE’s submission to the Government is that “night should mean night” with a prohibition on night flights for the 8-hour period between 11.00pm and 7.00am, as opposed to the current 6½ hour restricted period from 11.30pm to 06.00am.
19.11.2012 (GACC – Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign)
The Government is due to publish within the coming month a consultation on the future of night flights at Gatwick and other major airports.
At a crowded meeting last week members of GACC demanded a reduction in the number of night flights. Representatives attended from Buckland, Capel, Charlwood, Coldharbour, Colgate, Cowden, Crawley, East Grinstead, Edenbridge, Forest Row, Hever, Horley, Horne, Leigh, Marsh Green, Mid-Sussex, Newdigate, Nutley, Redhill, Reigate, and Salfords, most of them representing Borough, District or Parish Councils – together with representatives from CPRE Surrey and Plane Stupid.
GACC members expressed support for people across Europe who are holding a ‘day of action’ against night flights on 24 November.
At Gatwick there is a quota for the number of planes allowed to land at night, and a separate quota for the number of noise points. Under pressure from GACC the noise point quota has been steadily reduced over the past twenty years. GACC will now be asking for both quotas to be reduced.
Brendon Sewill, chairman of GACC, said: ‘We welcome the fact the Gatwick Airport have said that they will not be asking for any increase in night flights. But in a civilised world there would be no night flights.’
There are about 50 flights each night in summer at Gatwick, more than at any other UK airport except East Midlands. But the night noise is lower than at Heathrow – because the aircraft are on average smaller.
GACC has already contributed to Government policy on night flights with a detailed submission.* See www.gacc.org.uk/aviation-policy (scroll to night flights). Sewill commented: ‘We are pleased that the new draft White Paper has taken some of our points on board, and in particular that it states that the Government will aim to reduce the number of people affected by noise at night.’
* This is what we told the Government –
1. The economic value of night flights, after allowing for depreciation, and after allowing for the effect of paying no fuel tax and no VAT, is likely to be small or negative. We request that the new White Paper should include a balanced assessment including lower fares and higher costs.
2. In assessing the impact of night flights, international standards show that at night there is a 10dB differential between rural areas and urban residential areas.
3. A continuing gradual reduction in the noise quotas would have many advantages: it would encourage aircraft manufacturers to design quieter aircraft; it would encourage airlines to purchase, and use, quieter aircraft; it would give local residents the assurance that the noise climate at night will gradually improve.
4. The new White Paper should also recognise the desirability of reducing the number of night flights.
5. GACC is opposed to a ‘respite period’ in the middle of the night if that meant more flights at the beginning and end of the night.
6. Noise insulation schemes should be extended to cover the whole 55 Lden contour.
7. A levy should be imposed on all night flights.
 This consultation will be about the system used to control night flights. A further consultation will be issued in 2013 on the size of the quotas, and the new regime will come into force in October 2014.
 The GACC AGM was held at the Gatwick Manor Hotel, Crawley, on 9 November. Over 60 people attended.
The Night Flights consultation is long delayed – it was meant to be this spring:
Minister announces consultation on Heathrow Night Flights in spring 2012
24.5.2011 (Hacan press release)
Aviation Minister Theresa Villiers has just announced that the Government will
issue a detailed consultation on the current night flight regime at Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick “next spring.” Speaking in as an adjournment debate in Parliament (1), initiated by Brentford and Isleworth MP Mary Macleod, Villiers said that the night flight decision would be “one of the most importance issues I will face as a Minister.”
The current night flight regime comes to an end in October 2012. The Minister
said that the Government might need to ask for a temporary extension of that regime but it hadn’t made a final decision on that. She explained that the reason why the formal consultation on night flights was being delayed until next Spring was to allow the Government to take account of the views expressed in its Aviation Scoping Document, currently out for consultation until September 2011. The Scoping Document is the first stage in the Government’s plans to produce a new aviation policy, expected to be published early in 2013.
In the debate Mary Macleod stressed the adverse impact night flights have on
the health and quality of life of residents under the Heathrow flight paths.
HACAN Chair John Stewart said, “We can see the logic in the consultation being
delayed. We welcome the fact that Theresa Villiers is taking the issue seriously. This is in contrast to many of her predecessors who seem to give little thought to night flights.”