Ealing Council Leader voices strong opposition to night flights: “One arrival before 6am is one too many”

Ealing Council have added their voice to the complaints about the recommendation buried in an appendix to the Airports Commission interim report that there could be double the number of Heathrow night flights as at present.  Ealing Council is part of the 2M group, which is an all-party alliance of more than 20 local authorities concerned at the environmental impact of Heathrow expansion on their communities. Leader of Ealing Council and 2M spokesman, Cllr Julian Bell, said: “We shouldn’t have to dig deep into a technical document to find out increases in night flights are proposed.” Ealing and the 2M group have fought for years for a ban on night flights, and do not find an increase acceptable.  The proposal is one of the short or medium-term recommendations to make maximum use of the existing runways at Heathrow.  Under a proposal called ‘early morning smoothing’, Heathrow would be allowed to land additional planes between 5am and 6am, which is classified as the night quota period. The aim is to minimise delays and could allow the airport to manage with one runway for arrivals between 6am and 7am. 



Double number of Heathrow night flights recommended

19th February 2014 (Ealing Times)

Ealing Times: Flights alert: the 2M Group is prepared to go to court again to halt expansion
Flights alert: the 2M Group is prepared to go to court again to halt expansion

THE Airports Commission plans to recommend more than double the number of night flights into Heathrow from next year, the 2M Group of councils has revealed.

Leader of Ealing Council and 2M spokesman, Cllr Julian Bell, said the proposal to increase the nightly quota from 16 to 35 flights is ‘buried’ in a technical appendix to Sir Howard Davies’ interim report on airport expansion.

Under a proposal called ‘early morning smoothing’, Heathrow would be allowed to land additional planes between 5am and 6am, which is classified as the night quota period.

Sir Howard says the extra flights would minimise delays and could allow the airport to manage with one runway for arrivals between 6am and 7am, instead of two, which is the existing system.

Communities in places across west London are deeply opposed to flights before 6am as they affect their sleep and are possibly linked to health issues.

The ‘smoothing’ procedure is one of the short-term recommendations and will be trialled from 2015.

“We shouldn’t have to dig deep into a technical document to find out increases in night flights are proposed.

“This council has fought for years for a ban on night flights. We’ve challenged the current scheme in the courts.

“One arrival before 6am is one too many. People are entitled to a decent night’s sleep.”

The Davies commission’s first phase report says the south east of England will need two new runways by 2050 and two Heathrow expansion schemes are shortlisted.

Cllr Bell continued: “Today, there are 725,000 homes in the area around Heathrow where noise exceeds the standard EU measure for annoyance. This compares to 11,900 around Gatwick and 9,000 around Stansted.

“We believe the Davies commission has a duty to show that noise, air quality and public transport problems can all be resolved before advocating any increase in flights.

“This means considering the actual impact – not just the figures that Heathrow want us to believe.

“Back in 2010 the 2M Group defeated the last expansion proposals in the High Court. Nothing has changed and the grounds on which Heathrow expansion was stopped are the same today.

“There is just no credible environmental case for adding 200,000 flights to an airport located in the midst of one of the most densely built-up parts of the country. Heathrow is simply in the wrong place for that kind of expansion.”

The 2M Group is an all-party alliance of local authorities concerned about the environmental impact of Heathrow operations on their communities.

Members are not anti-Heathrow but work together to improve the environment and protect the quality of life for local people.


More information on 2M is online at www.wandsworth.gov.uk/heathrow

To let Sir Howard Davies know your views email Howard.Davies@airports.gsi.gov.uk





Council Leader says Hounslow will ‘fight to the last’ to prevent mixed mode at Heathrow

February 14, 2014

Hounslow Council have voiced their opposition to a report by York Aviation saying that using mixed mode on both Heathrow runways would, allegedly ” boost UK economy by £206 million a year” from 2023, They say mixed mode is not acceptable and Hounslow residents will not tolerate losing their half days of relief from plane noise. The report was commmissioned by the City of London Corporation and business pressure group London First, which are both keen to seen aviation expansion – both in the short term, and in the longer term by adding a new runway. They do not appear to be concerned about the level of noise this would subject Londoners to. At present there is (most of the time, except for when the A380 lands and in other situations) one runway is used for arrivals and one for departures, with the roles switching at 3pm each afternoon to ensure some respite for those under the flight paths. 80% of Hounslow residents are in favour of keeping runway alternation. Hounslow Council’s deputy leader Colin Ellar said: “We will fight to the last to protect our residents from being subjected to more aircraft noise. While Heathrow is very important to us economically, the introduction of mixed mode flies in the face of a better airport.”      Click here to view full story…



Full details of extent of Heathrow night flight plans ‘dug up’ by Leader of Wandsworth Council

February 13, 2014

The full extent of the Government’s plans to increase night flights into Heathrow has been “dug up” by anti-noise campaigners in the technical appendix of an Airports Commission’s interim report. The report was publicised on 17th December. The appendix shows that the number of planes allowed to land at Heathrow before 6am will increase from 16 to 35 from next year. Leader of the anti-Heathrow nights flights opposition, Ravi Govindia (also Leader of Wandsworth Council) said: “We shouldn’t have to dig deep into a technical document to find out what is in store for us.” Heathrow wants the amount of “stacking” to be reduced before the morning rush-hour. They say residents would be given “respite” from the noise, by having more in alternate weeks, followed by a week without planes. Mr Govindia, who is also the leader of the 2M group of 20 councils opposed to expansion of Heathrow, said people on the final approach flight paths into Heathrow were “deeply opposed” to the early-morning arrivals, which affect their sleep and are linked to serious health issues. The Airports Commission said: “We have recommended a trial of early-morning smoothing. A trial provides the opportunity for communities around Heathrow to experience and comment on the impacts.”    Click here to view full story…



“London Councils” – representing 32 London boroughs & councils – calls for an end to night flights from 2017

February 5, 2014

“London Councils” is a cross-party organisation which represents London’s 32 borough councils and the City of London and works on behalf of all of its member authorities regardless of political persuasion. It has responded to the 2nd stage of the government’s consultation on night flights from Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted by repeating its call for a total ban on night time flying from 2017. At present there is no ban on flying from the three airports at night but a limit on take-off and landing is in place. At Heathrow this is currently 2,550 in winter and 3,250 in summer. Councillor Catherine West, Chair of London Councils’ Transport & Environment Committee, said: “Night flights are an unacceptable part of the capital’s airport operations. This consultation is disappointing as it discusses keeping the current system, or extending the time period of the restrictions. It does not allow a proper assessment of the economic or health implications of banning night flights, which is what the majority of our residents want.” London Councils believes night flight noise is a serious well-being issue and has a big impact on quality of life for ordinary Londoners. “Any new technical and operation procedures could help, but ultimately communities across the capital would like a ban on night flights from 2017.”

Click here to view full story…



And a bit of history:

Night flight councils lose High Court battle

24.5.2008   (BBC)

Three councils have lost their High Court claim that the government did not deal
with the intrusive effects of aircraft noise at Heathrow at night.

London’s Richmond and Wandsworth councils, and Windsor and Maidenhead in Berkshire, had challenged ministers’ pronouncements on noise levels.   They wanted judges to overrule decisions on which type of plane, and how many, could land before 0600 BST.

But the High Court said the issues had been dealt with three years ago.

Wrongly classified

Mr Justice Sullivan said it was an “abuse” of the court process for the councils to launch a “root and branch attack” in relation to the same issues rather than address the compensatory measures – such as sound insulation of houses – put forward by the Department for Transport (DfT).

The judge heard that the Boeing 747-400 RR – the main type of aircraft used by airlines during the night quota period at Heathrow – had been wrongly classified at too low a noise level.

The councils argued that by not acting on the discrepancy, the government had failed in its duty to protect residents from excessive noise at night.

The judge said the Transport Secretary had acted on expert advice on noise levels.  That advice was open to dispute, but he was not “setting off on some frolic of his own”.

He also said the government had remedied the situation with a later consultation
document aimed at mitigating the effects of night noise.

‘Fight goes on’

Reclassification would have forced airlines to substitute quieter aircraft or withdraw early morning services.

There are about 16 early morning arrivals each day between 0430 and 0600.

Wandsworth Council’s leader, Edward Lister, said the ruling emphasised “the current
night-flight arrangements are designed for the benefit of the airlines”.

“It’s not clever to have drafted an important environmental policy in such a way that no-one can understand it.

“By not being explicit in its aims the government leaves the clear impression that looking after residents’ interests comes a very poor second.”

His counterpart in Richmond, Serge Lourie, added: “All the councils will be stepping
up their call for a complete ban on night flights.”

The court challenge was supported by Kensington and Chelsea, Hammersmith and
Fulham, Hounslow and Hillingdon councils and the Greater London Authority.

All the councils are members of the 2M Group, which opposes Heathrow expansion.