Stop Stansted Expansion says the new night flight rules are a missed opportunity
Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) says the new night flight rules, set out by the DfT, do not go far enough to tackle the impact at Stansted on sleep disturbance for residents. They say the night flight restrictions, which are set to be introduced in October, and last for 5 years, are a missed opportunity to bring relief to thousands who suffer from broken sleep due to overflying aircraft. Martin Peachey, SSE’s noise adviser, said the new rules will not lessen the impacts of aircraft noise at night for residents. Though the Transport Secretary Chris Grayling is well aware of the impact of night flight noise on health and well-being, the new rules won’t actually lessen the impacts that people will experience, or improve the quality of their sleep between 11.30pm and 6am. The DfT has chosen to prioritise the economic benefits of night flights over quality of life for those affected by the noise. One small improvement is that some 1,700 previously “exempt” aircraft will now be recognised and added into the overall night time quota. The movement limit for Stansted up to 2017 was 5,000 in winter (the dates as for British summer Time) and 7,000 for summer. Now up to 2022 the movement limit will be 5,600 and 8,100 – both much higher. The Quota Count till 2017 was 3,310 in winter and 4,540 in summer. Up to 2022 this will be the same, unchanged.
New night flight rules at Stansted Airport are a missed opportunity, says campaign group
By Michael Steward (East Anglian Daily TImes)
New night flight rules at Stansted Airport do not go far enough to tackle the impact on sleep disturbance for residents, according to a campaign group.
Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has described the night flight restrictions, which are set to be introduced in October, as a missed opportunity to bring relief to thousands who suffer from broken sleep due to overflying aircraft.
The announcement of the new night flights regime at Stansted, Heathrow and Gatwick – which will cover the next five years – followed a government consultation earlier this year.
Martin Peachey, SSE’s noise adviser, said the new rules will not lessen the impacts of aircraft noise at night for residents.
He said: “Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said that he is ‘fully aware that noise is a major concern for those living near Stansted Airport and that night noise is widely regarded as the most disturbing impact of aviation’, but the new rules won’t actually lessen the impacts that people will experience, or improve the quality of their sleep between 11.30pm and 6am.”
The group says the secretary of state has chosen to prioritise the economic benefits of night flights with his actions, but did welcome one aspect of the new rules.
Some 1,700 previously “exempt” aircraft will now be recognised and added into the overall night time quota.
Mr Grayling said: “The new rules we are publishing will encourage the use of quieter aircraft by reducing the amount of noise these airports are legally allowed to make, and will give local residents a five-year guarantee about the level of noise they will be exposed to.
“This decision strikes a balance between managing the impacts on local communities by locking in benefits offered by technological developments, with the economic benefits of night flights.”
A spokesman for Stansted said: “Stansted plays a critical role in supporting economic growth and jobs and we welcome the reassurance the statement provides for communities around our airport.
“Over several years Stansted has worked with our airline partners to significantly reduce the effects of noise through the introduction of the latest generation of greener, quieter, more efficient aircraft.
“Night flights remain vital in the movement of time sensitive cargo, while passenger airline schedules rely on early and late flights to keep fares as low as possible.”
SSE press release at
According to Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE), the Night Flight Restrictions at Stansted Airport, set to be introduced in October, don’t go nearly far enough to tackle the very serious impacts of night flights in terms of sleep disturbance and adverse health impacts.
The announcement of the new night flights regime followed a government consultation earlier this year during which more than 90 percent of all responses were made by individuals, communities and environmental groups, with many seeking an outright ban on night flights. In spite of this, more weight has been given to industry demands than community concerns.
SSE’s noise adviser Martin Peachey expressed disappointment at the new rules, saying that it could have been the opportunity to reduce the harmful impacts of aircraft noise at night: “Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said that he is ‘fully aware that noise is a major concern for those living near Stansted Airport and that night noise is widely regarded as the most disturbing impact of aviation’, but the new rules won’t actually lessen the impacts that people will experience, or improve the quality of their sleep between 11.30pm and 6am.”
SSE maintains that local communities around Stansted and under related flight paths should have been provided with a more equitable balance of environmental protection. Instead, the Secretary of State has simply paid lip service to local concerns with his words, choosing to prioritise the economic benefits of night flights with his actions.
One aspect of the new rules, however, has been welcomed by SSE. While the Government has decided to maintain the present 12,000 annual night time movements at Stansted, some 1,700 hitherto ‘exempt’ aircraft will also be added to the numbers. The use of ‘less noisy’ aircraft at night has grown rapidly in recent years but no account had been taken of their cumulative impact in terms of creating noise nuisance and impacting on sleep. Under the new arrangements, these previously ‘exempt’ aircraft will now be recognised and controlled within the overall allowable aircraft movements.
SSE will continue to work to raise awareness of its four key demands to improve conditions for those who are currently overflown at night in future night flight rules, gathering evidence to press the case for:
* An unequivocal Government commitment to phase out all night flights at Stansted by 2030, except in the case of genuine emergencies;
* The annual limit on Stansted night flights to apply, not just from 11.30pm to 6.00am, but from 11.00pm to 7.00am, so that ‘night’ truly means ‘night’, as defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s Guidelines on Community Noise;
* A radical overhaul of the current ‘averaging’ method for measuring aircraft noise so that the official Government noise statistics start to represent what people actually have to endure;
* An immediate ban on all night time aircraft landings at Stansted from using reverse thrust, except in the case of genuine emergencies.
NOTES TO EDITORS
The publication of the new Night Flight Restrictions was announced in a written statement to Parliament: ‘Update on the Airports NPS and a decision on night flights’, is available here.
The Government decision document – ‘Night flight restrictions at Gatwick, Heathrow and Stansted’ – can be accessed here.
FURTHER INFORMATION AND COMMENT
Martin Peachey, SSE noise adviser: 01279 870374; (M) 07803 603999 firstname.lastname@example.org
Carol Barbone, Campaign Director, SSE, M 0777 552 3091, email@example.com
SSE Campaign Office, T 01279 870558; firstname.lastname@example.org
15. The rules for next regime are summarised in the table below.
….. and it goes on …..
By contrast, this is the document about the consultation on night flights in 2013.
they said then:
Heathrow night flights to continue unchanged despite protests from Richmond & Wandsworth Councils
The government has announced that night flights will continue at Heathrow airport until the airport is expanded, with a 3rd runway. The DfT document says there will be no change to the number of flights allowed between 11.30pm and 6am, until October 2022. The current regime ends in October 2017. Richmond and Wandsworth councils say the government has chosen to gamble with the health of Londoners, rather than challenge the airline industry to change. Richmond Council leader, councillor Paul Hodgins said: “Put plain and simply, the Government consultation was pointless. They were proposing virtually no changes to begin with and it looks like they haven’t listened to people’s feedback at all.” There is increasing scientific evidence that night flights impact adversely on human health, leading to a variety of conditions. Cllr Hodgins says “Heathrow already steps over the [WHO guidance] line when it comes to night noise …. The number of planes that depart and arrive from the airport at night is unacceptable, to protect people’s ears and sleep we need an all-out ban.” Wandsworth Council leader, Cllr Ravi Govindia said: “The Government’s consultation on night flights has been exposed as a sham. Heathrow’s vested interests have been protected while the health and well-being of Londoners living under the flights paths has been sacrificed.”
DfT confirms numbers of night flights – till 2022 – at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted will not be cut
Changes to the night flights regime, at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted have been delayed for several years. The DfT has now produced its Decision Document on the issue. Anyone expecting meaningful cuts in night flights, or noise from night flights will be disappointed. There is no change in numbers, and just some tinkering with noise categories. The DfT says night flights from Heathrow will continue until (if) the airport is expanded, and it just hopes airlines will be using slightly less noisy planes. Pretty much, effectively, “business as usual.” Chris Grayling, Transport Secretary, said he had to “strike a balance between the economic benefits of flying and the impact on local residents.” The DfT objective is to: “encourage the use of quieter aircraft to limit or reduce the number of people significantly affected by aircraft noise at night, while maintaining the existing benefits of night flights”. But it says: “Many industry responses welcomed the recognition by government of the benefits night flights offer and highlighted the importance of night flights to the business models of airlines, for instance by allowing low-cost airlines to operate the necessary minimum amount of rotations a day, or the benefits to the time-sensitive freight sector through enabling next day deliveries. ”
GACC finds the DfT’s night flight decision – to make no cuts in Gatwick flights – disappointing
The Government’s long-delayed decision on the night flight rules for the next 5 years – to 2022 – has at last been published. The Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC) finds it disappointing that there is to be no reduction in the number of night flights. Brendon Sewill, GACC chairman, commented: ‘Many of our members want to see a total ban on all night flights at Gatwick, as has been promised for Heathrow, and we proposed that at least there should be a gradual reduction towards that target. It is alarming that there is to be no change in the number (at Gatwick) permitted in winter [winter/summer is based on when the clocks change] which (since the current quota is not fully used) could permit a 60% increase in the actual number of night flights in winter.” GACC welcomes the reduction in the summer noise quotas which will ensure no increase in noise during summer months. GACC had been hoping for a gradual year-by-year reduction in noise quotas. That would put pressure on airlines to buy and use quieter (= slightly less noisy) aircraft. But this has been abandoned – as a result of lobbying by the airlines. GACC says it is “wicked” that the noise quota for the winter will also permit a 60% increase in noise levels at night in the winter. That appears to contradict the Government claim that the aim is to “’Limit or reduce the number of people significantly affected by aircraft noise at night…”