London Assembly says Heathrow night flights ‘disturb sleep and should stop’

London Assembly Health & Environment Committee has submitted its response to the government consultation on night flights. The Committee, chaired by Murad Qureshi, says they would wish to see night flights stopped altogether, or reduced to an absolute minimum. At the margins “quieter” aircraft cut the disturbance for residents at the edges of the noise footprint so their introduction is of benefit.  But modern ‘quieter’ aircraft are still loud enough to wake people & do so regularly after 4.30am, so their number should be reduced. The Committee says Heathrow should adopt a 59 dB Lden threshold for determining areas eligible for insulation, not the current 69 dB Leq or proposed 63 dB Lden. If night flights do continue, an easterly preference at night would help achieve more of a 50/50 split between directions, as at present more come into land from the east over London. Some night flights are because planes are delayed etc so the Committee suggests a reduction in Heathrow daytime number of ATMs would help, so flights do not have to be accommodated at night. They want Heathrow to work towards WHO guidelines; the objective should be to reduce the area within Heathrow’s 40dB night noise contour.





Heathrow Airport night flights ‘disturb sleep and should stop’

12.4.2013 (BBC)

About 70% of night flights arriving at Heathrow come in from an easterly direction

Overnight flights which disturb Londoners’ sleep should be stopped or reduced, the London Assembly has said.

It wants flights banned or an overnight mandatory curfew introduced at the very least – and a split between planes arriving from the east and west.

The assembly was responding to a government consultation into night flights ahead of renewing its policy in 2014.

The Department for Transport said it would consider the response.

‘Quality of life’

The government currently limits the number of night flights, places restrictions on the noisiest aircraft and sets noise quotas – but these regulations need to be renewed.

Murad Qureshi, from the assembly’s Environment Committee, said: “It is unacceptable that thousands of Londoners are unable to get a good night’s sleep.

“Heathrow is very critical to the local economy, but what we have to do is manage this trade-off between economic benefits and people’s quality of life.”

About 15 flights land at Heathrow between 23:30 and 06:00, the majority after 04:30, with about 70% arriving from the east.

Reduced schedules

The assembly said splitting arrivals between east and west would reduce noise for about 110,000 people in areas like Isleworth, Richmond and Hounslow, but increase it for 15,600 living in parts of Windsor, Datchet and Stanwell Moor.

John Stewart, from Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise, said: “That’s not so good for the people of Windsor, but of course far fewer people live on that side of Heathrow, so a lot of Londoners would benefit.”

As part of the consultation the assembly has also proposed that airports consider “reducing scheduled daytime movements” so fewer delayed aircraft would fly at night.

In a statement, the Department for Transport, said: “The Government recognises that noise disturbance from aircraft flying at night is the least acceptable impact of airport operations on local residents.

“At this stage we are gathering evidence on what might be feasible and have taken no decisions yet on our preferences.”

The consultation, which also includes Gatwick and Stansted Airports, closes on 22 April.


Night Flying Restrictions at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted Consultation

Department for Transport January 2013                                                              



HACAN supports London Assembly’s call for night flight ban at Heathrow


HACAN, representing residents under the Heathrow flight paths, has backed the call from the London Assembly today to ban night flights at Heathrow.  In its response to the Government’s consultation on the future of night flights at Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick, the Assembly’s Health and Environment Committee has called for a night flight ban at Heathrow.  It also backs the suggestion that, if night flights continue, more of them should land over Berkshire to ease the burden of noise on the hundreds of thousands of people overflown in London.  And it has called for further research on the impact of night noise on residents’ health.

HACAN chair John Stewart said, “We back the Assembly’s call for a ban on night flights.  They cause untold misery for thousands and there is no hard evidence that they are essential for London’s economy.  For many people their alarm clock is the first plane at 4.30 in the morning.”

Every 5 or 6 years the Government consults on a new night flight regime at Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick.  The current regime ends in October 2014.  This is the first of a 2 part consultation.  It closes on 22nd April.  Part two, containing clear proposals, is expected in the Autumn.