Possibility of more night flights to Heathrow over Windsor rather than West London

Plans drawn up by the DfT could see hundreds of night flights diverted away from the homes of 110,000 residents of the west London areas like Richmond, Kew and Hounslow, over the Windsor area. There could be an extra 1,500 – 1,700 night flights per year over Windsor, starting at 4am. About 90% of the flights at night are between 4.30am and 6.00am, waking people up and making it difficult to many to get back to sleep.  The local MP for Windsor,  Adam Afriyie, is concerned on the negative impact the change would have on the quality of life of his constituents. The Queen often spends weekends at Windsor, and also many weeks during the year.  Under existing rules Heathrow is allowed 5,256 incoming scheduled night flights a year, so Londoners have to put up with around 16 planes overhead every night. Due to the wind direction, about 72% of the time they come from the east over London. The DfT is now considering ordering pilots to approach from the west unless a tailwind of five knots or more makes this impractical. This is part of the current night flights consultation, which closes on 22nd April.


One will not be amused: Heathrow planning 1,700 extra night flights over Windsor Castle

  • Rude royal awakening from four o’clock in the morning as 110,000 sleepless residents in west London may see flights diverted over Berkshire
  • Windsor MP urges residents to fight the proposals

By NICK FAGGE (Daily Mail)

11 March 2013

As the home of the Royal Family for almost a thousand years Windsor Castle has become a symbol of peace and harmony.

But now the tranquility of the Queen’s Berkshire home is set to be shattered by sound of an extra 1,700 night flights which will give royal residents a rude awakening from four o’clock in the morning.

Plans drawn up by the Department of Transport could see hundreds of night flights diverted away from the homes of 110,000 residents of the west London.

Queen’s home: There could be an extra 1,700 night flights over Windsor Castle which will begin at 4am

But the price of quieter nights in Richmond, Kew and Hounslow will be more noise for the 15,000 people living in the Windsor area, including the Queen.

Disruption: The planes flying overhead are a 'private matter' for the Queen Disruption: The planes flying overhead are a ‘private matter’ for the Queen

And considering 90 per cent of arrivals land between 4.30am and 6.00am the plans look set to disrupt the Queen’s peace.

Windsor MP Adam Afriyie, has called on residents to resist.

The Conservative MP told the Sunday Times: ‘I am particularly concerned by this latest proposal, which could have a truly detrimental impact on the quality of life of Windsor residents, and I would urge residents to make their views known.’

The Queen spends most of her private weekends at Windsor Castle as well as taking up official residence there for a month over Easter.

She also spends a week there in June, when she attends Royal Ascot and the service of the Order of the Garter.

But a Royal spokesman told the Daily Mail the issue of night-time disruption at Windsor Castle was a ‘private matter for the Queen’.

The Department of Transport (DfT) hopes to divert 1,670 flights away from approaching over London and passing over Windsor Castle instead.

Under existing rules Heathrow is allowed 5,256 incoming scheduled night flights a year. There are also a small number of unscheduled departures which means Londoners have to put up with nearly 16 planes passing overhead every night.

The majority of incoming night flights – 72 per cent – approach Heathrow over the built-up boroughs of west London, with the remaining 28 per cent passing the Windsor area.

Night flights: More planes used by British Airways and other airlines will fly over Windsor under the proposals

But the (DfT) is now considering ordering pilots to approach from the west thereby avoiding the more heavily populated area, unless a tailwind of five knots or more makes this impractical.

This would increase the flights passing over Windsor from about 1,470 to about 3,150 every year.

The potential winners of this strategy are the 245,000 Londoners who claim they are affected by the noise.

John Stewart, chairman of the Hacan Clear-Skies group, which campaigns against aircraft noise, yesterday told the Daily Mail: ‘Many people in west London will clearly benefit if this change went ahead but it would be at the expense of many more sleepless nights for the people of Windsor.’

A (DfT) spokeswoman told the Daily Mail diverting the approach path for night flights was ‘just one option’ being examined.

She said: ‘The government recognises that noise disturbance from aircraft flying at night is the least acceptable impact of airport operation on local residents.

‘At this stage we are gathering evidence on what might be feasible and have taken no decisions yet on our preferences. We will be consulting on specific proposals later this year once we have assessed the evidence received from this consultation.’





Information on the Night Flights consultation, from HACAN


Government consultation released: still no night flight ban

HACAN has expressed disappointment that the Government has still not committed itself to a night flight ban in its consultation on a new night flight regime at Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick, released on 22nd January.

Here is the full consultation document and how to respond

Read HACAN’S immediate press release

Read a four pager from HACAN that explains the consultation and helps you respond

Read a two pager which provides a bullet point summary





See also


The MP for Maidenhead has weighed into the dispute over night flights from Heathrow.

11.3.2013  (Royal Borough Observer, covering Windsor and Maidenhead)

Theresa May MP has joined up with fellow Royal Borough MP Adam Afriyie (Windsor) in raising concerns about a proposal from the Department for Transport (DfT) about more night flights arriving from the west of the airport over Windsor and Maidenhead.

The proposal is outlined in a consultation document published by the DfT which would result in the number of night flights arriving at Heathrow from the west rising from 30% to 60%.

Mrs May said: “I have campaigned against any increase in night flights, so I am concerned about this proposal. This would represent a major shift and would result in an increase in aircraft arriving at night from the west, over the Maidenhead area.

“I am concerned about the effect this will have on local residents, who could not have anticipated this change when they bought their houses.”

Earlier in the week, Mr Afriyie said: “It’s clear that we must seek a reduction in night flights – so I’m both surprised and concerned at the latest proposals which look to permanently change the direction of night-time flights arriving into Heathrow.

“I would urge everyone to make their voices heard during the public consultation period. We must make those at Heathrow listen to the concerns of the people.”

The proposal is one consideration up for discussion in the consultation document.

Comments can be made on the consultation atwww.gov.uk/government/consultations/night-flights-consultation until April 22.