Gatwick campaigners dismayed by government’s failure to limit night flights

The Department for Transport has published its decision document on the first part of its recent consultation on night flights at Gatwick, Heathrow and Stansted.  The Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC) is dismayed that although numerous responses to the consultation showed strong and wide opposition to night flights at Gatwick and elsewhere, the Government has decided to extend current night flight numbers and noise limits for a further three years. DfT’s decision is a kick in the teeth for all those negatively affected by the noise and disturbance caused by aircraft flying at night. It entirely ignores the views of local communities, and groups representing them – and the negative effects on health caused by sleep disturbance. GACC had called on the government to ban all commercial night flights at all UK airports for a full 8-hour period each night. GACC also argued that any flights allowed should be far more strictly regulated. Unfortunately the government has not taken the opportunity, to make positive changes after the Covid hiatus. GACC says: “Instead the DfT continues to neglect its regulatory responsibilities and to see its role as serving the interests of the industry, not overflown communities.”
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CAMPAIGNERS DISMAYED BY GOVERNMENT’S FAILURE TO LIMIT NIGHT FLIGHTS

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20th July 2021

GACC (Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign) press release

The Department for Transport has published its decision document on the first part of its recent consultation on night flights at Gatwick, Heathrow and Stansted.

The Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC) is dismayed that although responses to the consultation showed strong and wide opposition to night flights at Gatwick and elsewhere, the Government has decided to extend current night flight numbers and noise limits for a further three years. DfT’s decision is a kick in the teeth for all those negatively affected by the noise and disturbance caused by aircraft noise at night. It entirely ignores the views of local communities and groups representing them.

GACC had called on the government to ban all commercial night flights at all UK airports for a full eight-hour period each night. GACC also argued that if any night flights continued to be allowed, they should be limited to those that were genuinely essential for economic reasons, not leisure flights, and that they should be far more strictly regulated.

GACC chairman Peter Barclay said, “The Government has used the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to avoid making the changes that many respondents to its consultation strongly endorsed. This beggars belief.

“The pandemic hasn’t changed the reality that night flights have severe impacts on people who live near the airport and under flightpaths. They disturb sleep, cause stress and lead to serious health problems.

“The government has committed to building aviation back better. It could and should have seen the recent reduction in flights as an opportunity for positive change. Instead the Department for Transport continues to neglect its regulatory responsibilities and to see its role as serving the interests of the industry, not overflown communities.”

ENDS

Notes for Editors:

(1). The Department Transport’s decision document is here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/night-flight-restrictions-at-heathrow-gatwick-and-stansted-airports-between-2022-and-2024-plus-future-night-flight-policy

The second part of the consultation – on night flight restrictions post-October 2025 is open for comments until 3 September 2021 and can be found at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/night-flights-restrictions-at-heathrow-gatwick-and-stansted-airports-beyond-2024-plus-national-night-flight-policy

(2) GACC’s response to the night flights consultation can be found on our website: http://www.gacc.org.uk/resources/GACC%20response%20to%20night%20flight%20consultation.pdf

For further information contact Sarah Finch on 07870 823485 or email press@gacc.org.uk.

GACC’s aims are to protect and improve the environment in the vicinity of Gatwick Airport and to diminish any wider environmental impact of its operations, with particular regard to noise, congestion, air quality, light pollution and climate change.

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See earlier:

DfT decides to roll over the night flights regime for 3 more years (not 2) for Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted

The government consulted, in December 2020, on its night flights regime (closed 3rd March 2021). Part of the consultation was whether to “roll over” the current regime for the three designated airports, (Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted) for another 3 years, and it closed on 3rd March 2021. The second part is about wider night flights issues for all issues, and that closes on 3rd September 2021. The DfT has now published its “Decision Document” on the night flights regime and the designated airports. It has decided – despite pleas from numerous groups and individuals for change – not only to roll over the existing scheme, but to set this for THREE years more, rather than the two years originally proposed. The DfT says: “The restrictions will be reassessed in time for a new regime to commence in October 2025…” Airport groups at the designated airports are upset and furious. Night flight noise is probably the most hated, and the most damaging element of aircraft noise. The justifications given for night flights, about their economic necessity, are unconvincing. Sadly, people living with night flight noise from Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted will be stuck with the problem, at least until 2025

Click here to view full story…

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and

Groups write to Aviation Minister, asking for new limits on night flights – including need for an 8-hour night period

A long list of organisations and groups have signed a letter to the Transport Minister, Robert Courts, asking for action to limit night flights.  It is understood that the government intends to publish a consultation and call for evidence on night flights later this year.  The groups hope the DfT will take their views into consideration, and not (as in 2017) decide policy on night flights BEFORE consulting.  They say that all night flights, other than for emergency and humanitarian purposes, should be banned at all UK airports. The period defined as night should be an eight hour period. If any night flights are to be permitted, their number and impacts should be regulated far more robustly than they are now, at all airports. In the past, the government has argued that the economic benefits of allowing planes to fly at night outweigh the health and quality of life costs of those negatively affected. This can no longer withstand scrutiny, as many flights are just to perpetuate a low-cost carrier business model that generates unsustainable levels of leisure flights. The demand for business flights is increasingly replaced by internet communications, and most air freight does not need to arrive the next day.

Click here to view full story…

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Read more »

DfT decides to roll over the night flights regime for 3 more years (not 2) for Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted

The government consulted, in December 2020, on its night flights regime (closed 3rd March 2021). Part of the consultation was whether to “roll over” the current regime for the three designated airports, (Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted) for another 3 years, and it closed on 3rd March 2021. The second part is about wider night flights issues for all issues, and that closes on 3rd September 2021. The DfT has now published its “Decision Document” on the night flights regime and the designated airports. It has decided – despite pleas from numerous groups and individuals for change – not only to roll over the existing scheme, but to set this for THREE years more, rather than the two years originally proposed. The DfT says: “The restrictions will be reassessed in time for a new regime to commence in October 2025…” Airport groups at the designated airports are upset and furious. Night flight noise is probably the most hated, and the most damaging element of aircraft noise. The justifications given for night flights, about their economic necessity, are unconvincing. Sadly, people living with night flight noise from Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted will be stuck with the problem, at least until 2025
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The DfT’s

Night Flight Restrictions at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted

Decision Document

July 2021 is at

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1003621/night-flight-restrictions-at-heathrow-gatwick-and-stansted-decision-document.pdf

In this, the DfT says: 

“Following this consultation and taking into account responses from industry, community groups and individuals, the following decisions have been reached. Firstly, the night noise objective and existing restrictions will be rolled over for a period of three years rather than two as originally proposed in our consultation.

A two-year rollover, which would have necessitated consultation on new proposals in 2022, would no longer provide enough time for the government to have conducted thorough research to properly inform and develop a new evidence-based night noise regime.

This is because of a change in the government’s view on the pace and trajectory of the aviation sector’s recovery.

By rolling over for three years, the extra year will allow the government to develop a more meaningful evaluation of the costs and benefits of night flights (as called for in a number of consultation responses from community groups), taking into account the effects of the pandemic and the extent and speed with which aviation demand returns.

This will enable decisions to be taken against a background of a wider evidence base, including on the negative impacts on sleep and health, against which the economic benefits of night flights have to be balanced. Some recovery is necessary to allow for research which is representative of prepandemic times, and which can therefore accurately examine the benefits of night flights, alongside how night flights at, or closer to, their normal level would impact on local communities.

Although many individuals urged the government to implement change now as skies are quieter, basing policies on a time when the UK was in full or partial lockdown and most international travel had been halted, would not be representative of future demand for aviation services and would be likely to have negative longer-term economic effects.

In reaching this decision we took into account the views of community groups and considered that it was likely that a longer extension would increase the strength of feeling expressed by consultees opposed to any extension.

Nonetheless, even considering this our decision is that time must be allowed for the sector to recover to enable an accurate analysis of the benefits of night flights and associated negative impacts for communities.

The restrictions will be reassessed in time for a new regime to commence in October 2025, by which time we would have a better understanding of how COVID-19 has impacted the aviation sector.”


 


See  earlier:

 

DfT publishes night flights consultation – no concessions to airport groups for another 4 years…?

Historically, the DfT has set the night flight regime – for the “designated” airports, Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted – for periods of 5 years. The last regime was in 2017, for the period from October 2017 to October 2022. The DfT says: “The aim of the regime was to maintain the status quo and ensure that communities do not experience any overall increase in the noise created by night flights.” It has allowed a high level of night flights, with no reductions on earlier numbers, despite significant community opposition.  Seventeen airport groups wrote to the Aviation Minister on 10th November, asking that night flights should be limited in future, with a proper night period in which no flights are permitted (other than genuine emergencies). The aim was to make their point before the DfT consultation (by which time the DfT has decided what it intends to do …). The government has now published its new night flights consultation, for the period 2022 to 2024. The DfT intends there to be no change to the current regime (no concessions to suffering from being overflown at night) other than phasing out the noisiest planes, which airlines are getting rid of anyway, due to Covid. DfT says: “… we are also seeking early views and evidence on policy options for the government’s future night flight policy at the designated airports beyond 2024, and nationally.” 

https://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2020/12/night-flights-consultation/

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See earlier:

Campaign groups call for ban on Gatwick Airport night flights

Both community groups at Gatwick, GACC and CAGNE, are calling for a ban on night flights from Gatwick. “If night flights continue to be allowed, GACC argues they should be limited to those that are genuinely essential for economic reasons, not leisure flights, and that they should be far more strictly regulated.”  Successive governments have acknowledged that noise from aircraft at night has significant health, economic and other impacts on communities near airports and under flight paths, and have asserted that they take this very seriously. But there has been no bottom-up review of the UK’s night flight regime since 2006. Instead, the government has repeatedly rolled forward night flight limits set many years ago, without any re-examination of what we believe are the very limited economic benefits, whilst failing to take account of the increasingly strong evidence of the adverse physical and mental health impacts night flights have on communities. There is no reason to continue to operate services at night when there is ample capacity at times of day that have less serious health and community impacts. The first part of the DfT consultation on night flights ended on 3rd March; the second part ends on 31st May.

Click here to view full story…

Groups write to Aviation Minister, asking for new limits on night flights – including need for an 8-hour night period

A long list of organisations and groups have signed a letter to the Transport Minister, Robert Courts, asking for action to limit night flights.  It is understood that the government intends to publish a consultation and call for evidence on night flights later this year.  The groups hope the DfT will take their views into consideration, and not (as in 2017) decide policy on night flights BEFORE consulting.  They say that all night flights, other than for emergency and humanitarian purposes, should be banned at all UK airports. The period defined as night should be an eight hour period. If any night flights are to be permitted, their number and impacts should be regulated far more robustly than they are now, at all airports. In the past, the government has argued that the economic benefits of allowing planes to fly at night outweigh the health and quality of life costs of those negatively affected. This can no longer withstand scrutiny, as many flights are just to perpetuate a low-cost carrier business model that generates unsustainable levels of leisure flights. The demand for business flights is increasingly replaced by internet communications, and most air freight does not need to arrive the next day.

Click here to view full story…

Read more »

Bristol Airport expansion (for 2 mppa more) public inquiry to will start on July 20th, for 10 weeks

The expansion plans would see passenger numbers grow from 10 million to 12 million a year.  The public inquiry into the expansion plans is due to start on July 20 and last 10 weeks. The airport appealed against a decision by North Somerset Council last year to reject its expansion plans. Bristol City Council has also opposed the expansion with North Somerset Council saying it will ‘robustly defend’ the appeal. The inquiry will be held in person and online, via Teams, though requests had been made for it to be online only, due to Covid. Campaigners say any expansion of the airport would lead to higher carbon emissions, congested roads and more plane noise. A number of campaign groups including the Bristol Airport Action Network (BAAN) , the Parish Councils Airport Association and Stop Bristol Airport Expansion (SBAE) are all set to give evidence at the inquiry. The Planning Inspectorate team will be led by Philip Ware.
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Bristol Airport expansion public inquiry to take place later this month

By Heather Pickstock, North Somerset reporter (Bristol Live)

6 JUL 2021

The inquiry is expected to last 10 weeks

A long awaited public inquiry to decide on major expansion plans for Bristol Airport will be held in person and online this month.

The inquiry – to decide whether the airport can increase passenger numbers from 10 million to 12 million a year – is due to start on July 20 and last 10 weeks.

The airport appealed against a decision by North Somerset Council last year to reject its expansion plans.

Bristol City Council has also opposed the expansion, with North Somerset Council saying it will ‘robustly defend’ the appeal.

Campaigners say any expansion of the airport would lead to congested roads, increased noise and more pollution from the proposed growth in flights.

A number of campaign groups including the Bristol Airport Action Network (BAAN) , the Parish Councils Airport Association and Stop Bristol Airport Expansion are all set to give evidence at the inquiry.

Inquiry inspectors have agreed the inquiry will be a ‘blended’ event and involve a mix of people present in person to give evidence as well as participants joining remotely via Microsoft Teams.

The blended event comes despite Bristol Airport asking for the inquiry to be held completely online due to the coronavirus pandemic.

North Somerset Council had also previously raised concerns about people attending the event in person due to the risk of coronavirus.

But following a meeting last week between those involved in the inquiry, a blended event was decided.

The inspection team will be led by Philip Ware.

A spokesman for BAAN said: “Thankfully the planning Inspectors led by Philip Ware were unanimous that the event would be fully blended with the opportunity for the public to make their views known by either attending in person or by using remote technology.

“Mr Ware made it clear that all persons wanting to speak would be heard and that no-one would be turned away.”

Members of the public want to have their voice heard at the inquiry they should email the inquiry manager, Joanna Vincent at Joanna.Vincent@gateleyhamer.com with a summary of what they want to say and whether they want to attend in person or remotely via Teams.

The inquiry is scheduling to hear public opinions during the first couple of days and it is hoped that further sessions will be organised as the inquiry progresses.

Richard Baxter, a spokesperson for BAAN hit out at the airport’s request for the inquiry to be held entirely online

He said: “It is ironic that Bristol Airport’s inquiry team asked the planning inspectors to exclude the public from attending in person because of coronavirus but they are happy for members of the public to sit without any social distancing on a plane for a couple of hours.

“What is their motive in trying to restrict public access to the inquiry?

“Could it be due to the fact that the majority of people in the area do not want this expansion to go ahead for a whole range of reasons.

BRISTOL AIRPORT EXPANSION EFFECT ON RESIDENTS

He added: ”We very much appreciate that there are logistical challenges in running an Inquiry whilst COVID is still evident in the local community.

“However we are also aware that the legal restriction relating to the virus are due to be relaxed on July 19 with a strong anticipation that requirements on social distancing and the wearing of masks will be dropped.

“The council needs to be clear as to how this might affect the Inquiry in terms of numbers of people permitted to attend in person.”

North Somerset Council rejected the airport’s plans in February 2020.

Nearly 9,000 local people objected to the expansion on the grounds of increased noise and traffic chaos the expansion would bring.

There was also very strong opposition on the grounds of the additional greenhouse gas emissions that more flights would produce as well as the loss of greenbelt land that would be turned into additional parking spaces.

Bristol Live has approached North Somerset Council and Bristol Airport for comment.

https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/bristol-news/bristol-airport-expansion-public-inquiry-5615889?utm_source=twitter.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=sharebar

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See earlier

Bristol Airport withdraws application to be allowed many more night flights

Bristol Airport is pushing on with its expansion plans, despite withdrawing the application to the DfT to join the UK’s list of “coordinated airports”. The application, which would allow Bristol Airport to operate night flights all year round, has been withdrawn due to the pandemic-driven drop in passenger numbers.  It would have given the airport complete freedom to schedule night flights across the year, with the declared intention to increase summer (summer is 7 months) night flights.  Flights are currently allowed to operate between 11pm to 7am in the summer season. Allowing more flights at night would improve airline profits and “efficiency” (allegedly).  And airport spokesperson said the application for coordinated status is separate from the airport’s expansion plans, and the airport will resubmit the coordinated status application when/if passenger numbers return to high levels – such as numbers in 2019. There is currently an appeal by the airport, against their rejection by North Somerset council last year.  There are now 7 airports that have coordinated status, (Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, London City, Luton, Birmingham and Manchester) and this is normally for congested airports. The airport currently has a cap of 10 million annual passengers.

Click here to view full story…

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Date for Bristol Airport expansion inquiry is July 20th and will last 16 days

3 FEB 2021

The expansion plans would see passenger numbers grow from 10 million to 12 million a year.  The public inquiry into the expansion plans will open on July 20 and is scheduled to sit for 16 days.

The airport appealed against a decision by North Somerset Council last year to reject its expansion plans which would see passenger numbers grow from 10 million to 12 million a year. Bristol City Council has also opposed the expansion with North Somerset Council saying it will ‘robustly defend’ the appeal.

To find out more visit https://www.stopbristolairportexpansion.org.

https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/bristol-news/date-bristol-airport-expansion-inquiry-4957379

Read more »

Virgin Atlantic looking at ‘flying taxi’ partnership for VTOL vehicles for transport to large airports

Virgin Atlantic is exploring whether it could launch a flying taxi VTOL service as part of a partnership with Bristol-based Vertical Aerospace. Virgin suggests electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles (eVTOL) could fly from towns like Cambridge to major airports, such as Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester – to save passengers the bother of getting there by surface transport.  Vertical Aerospace is conducting test flights of its aircraft this year, but it can see challenges ahead. The proposed VA-X4 aircraft will be able to carry 4 passengers and a pilot up to 100 miles. They claim they will be low carbon (depending on the electricity used) and not too noisy – or at least, less noisy than a helicopter. They say it will be “near silent” when cruising though the  “rotors and wings would still make noise in forward flight”.  Vertical Aerospace has already partnered with American Airlines and Avolon, an aircraft-leasing company.  These would not be mini air taxis to ferry passengers from one skyscraper to another, which would require new air-traffic control technology, public acceptance of the noise and safety aspects of more aircraft in cities, and regulatory change – which could be years away.
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Virgin Atlantic explores ‘flying taxi’ partnership

13.6.2021  (BBC)

Virgin Atlantic is exploring whether it could launch a flying taxi service as part of a partnership with Bristol-based Vertical Aerospace.

The airline suggests electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles (eVTOL) could fly from towns to major airports.

Vertical Aerospace is conducting test flights of its aircraft this year.

One expert said the proposal was “less radical” than those of other air taxi companies, but argued there would be challenges ahead.

What is the idea?

Several companies have promoted the idea of autonomous “flying taxis” that could pick passengers up from rooftops in city centres and take them wherever they would like to go.

Virgin Atlantic’s suggestion is slightly tamer.

It has proposed that an eVTOL aircraft could pick people up from a city such as Cambridge and fly them to a major airport such as London Heathrow.

Vertical Aerospace says its VA-X4 craft will be able to carry four passengers and a pilot up to 100 miles, as well as being emissions-free and quieter than a helicopter.

In fact the company claims it will be “near silent” when cruising.  It has already partnered with American Airlines and Avolon, an aircraft-leasing company.

Is it feasible?

“There’s a lot of hype in this market,” Vertical Aerospace president Michael Cervenka told the BBC.

“We have taken the approach that is pushing the bounds of what is available in terms of technology, but not going beyond.”

With a 15m (49ft) wingspan, the aircraft would have to fly to and from designated spots such as helipads or regional airports.

As with any other aircraft, the VA-X4 will be subjected to strict safety and regulatory checks.

Dr Guy Gratton, associate professor of aviation and the environment at Cranfield University, said Slovenia’s Pipistrel Velis gave a good indication of what a modern electric plane could achieve.

“The Velis will carry two people, half a toothbrush and fly for about an hour-and-a-quarter. That is a conventional aeroplane and thus pretty efficient compared to anything with vertical take-off and landing,” he explained.

While the VA-X4 will be quieter than a helicopter, the “rotors and wings would still make noise in forward flight”, he added.

Mr Cervenka expects it will sound no louder than a refrigerator from the ground, when cruising overhead.

He said the company’s goals could be achieved with today’s technology rather than hoping for the invention of a “magical new battery”.

But more lavish visuals of air taxis carrying passengers from one skyscraper to another would require new air-traffic control technology, public acceptance of more aircraft in cities, improvements in automation and regulatory change that could be a decade away.

On Thursday, Vertical Aerospace announced plans for the company to be floated on the New York stock exchange after a merger with Broadstone, in a deal valuing the company at $2.2bn (£1.6bn).

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-57447564

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Vertical Aerospace secures ‘flying taxi’ orders from Virgin and American Airlines following $2bn Broadstone merger

The company is planning to work with Virgin Atlantic to launch its electric aircraft at UK airport hubs including Heathrow

By Hannah Baker, Bristol Post Business Editor  (Business Live)
15 JUN 2021

Bristol-based Vertical Aerospace has agreed to be taken over by Broadstone Acquisition Corp

Bristol’s Vertical Aerospace has announced 1,000 pre-orders for its all-electric ‘flying taxis’ after confirming it will become publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

The aerospace firm, which is developing an all-electric aircraft, confirmed the merger with special purpose acquisition company Broadstone Acquisition Corp in a deal valuing the company at nearly $2bn (£1.4bn).

The transaction with Broadstone – a US ‘blank cheque’ company owned by business tycoon Hugh Osmond – is expected to close in the second half of 2021.

Vertical Aerospace said it had already received pre-orders from Dublin-based aircraft leasing company Avolon and American Airlines, and a pre-order option from Virgin Atlantic, worth $4bn.

The business has also secured investment from Microsoft’s venture capital fund M12, American Airlines, Avolon, Honeywell and Rolls-Royce. European Internet company Rocket Internet and 40 North – a related investment business of Standard Industries – also have a stake in the company.

Mr Osmond, chairman of Broadstone, said: “Transportation is one of the next big sectors of the global economy to be disrupted at scale.

“Vertical has a clear commercial plan to challenge short-haul air travel, and to create new markets where neither cars nor public transport can cope with demand.”

Vertical Aerospace is planning to develop and launch a Virgin Atlantic-branded short-haul electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) network in the UK. The partnership includes an option for Virgin Atlantic to acquire up to 150 eVTOL VA-X4 aircraft.

According to Shai Weiss, Virgin Atlantic’s chief executive, the joint venture will see the launch of electric vehicles at UK airport hubs, including London Heathrow, Manchester and Gatwick.

Vertical Aerospace said it would also work with American Airlines on passenger operations and infrastructure development in the US.

Derek Kerr, chief financial officer of American Airlines, said emerging technologies were “critical” in the race to reduce carbon emissions.

“For years, American has led the industry in investing in newer, more fuel-efficient aircraft,” he said. “[This] partnership is another example of that commitment, and an investment in the future of air mobility.”

Vertical Aerospace is targeting profitability and cash flow breaking even with annual sales of fewer than 100 aircraft.

The business said it had assembled an in-house engineering team with backgrounds from senior levels of Rolls-Royce, Airbus, UK Ministry of Defence, Jaguar Land Rover and General Dynamics.

What is Vertical Aerospace?

Stephen Fitzpatrick, founder of Ovo Energy, established Vertical Aerospace in 2016 (Image: Douglas Fry).  Vertical Aerospace was founded in 2016 by Ovo Energy boss Stephen Fitzpatrick to develop the world’s first all-electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft.

According to the business, which unveiled its designs last year, the vehicle will be able to carry four passengers for 120 miles at speeds of more than 200mph.

The aircraft is currently in development, with flight testing expected to take place this year, followed by certification in 2024 and initial commercial services starting shortly afterwards.

Stephen Fitzpatrick, Vertical chief executive and founder, said: “This is the most exciting time in aviation for almost a century; electrification will transform flying in the 21st century in the same way the jet engine did 70 years ago.

“[The] announcement brings together some of the largest and most respected technology and aeronautical businesses in the world and together we can achieve our aim of making the VA-X4 the first zero carbon aircraft that most people will fly on.

“The United Kingdom is already a global leader in aerospace innovation and we believe Vertical Aerospace will be the British engineering champion to drive the aviation industry forward.”

The manufacturer, which has said previously that assembly will take place in the UK, has already flown multiple full-scale prototypes.

https://www.business-live.co.uk/manufacturing/vertical-aerospace-secures-flying-taxi-20812803

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Read more »

New study shows exposure to plane noise at night causes vascular endothelial dysfunction, hence cardiovascular disease

A new study shows exposure to plane noise at night causes higher circulating levels of stress hormones eg. adrenaline, stiffened blood vessels, and these caused vascular endothelial dysfunction. These increase the chance of atherosclerosis leading to cardiovascular events. The scientists said: “In addition to being associated with an increased incidence of coronary heart disease, noise may serve as an acute trigger of cardiovascular problems. For example, a study published earlier this year established that for nighttime deaths, noise exposure levels two hours preceding death were significantly associated with heart-related mortality.” And “Importantly, comparing participants exposed to 30 versus 60 aircraft noise events per night revealed a dose-dependent worsening of endothelial function. Moreover, previous exposure to 30 aircraft noise events caused 60 events to have larger adverse effects on endothelial function. Thus, rather than any sort of habituation to the noise, there appeared to be a priming effect: prior exposure amplified the negative effect of noise on endothelial function.”
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How Environmental Noise Harms the Cardiovascular System

Sound from cars, aircraft, trains, and other man-made machines is more than just annoying. It increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.

By Thomas Münzel and Omar Hahad  (The Scientist)
Jun 1, 2021

https://www.the-scientist.com/features/how-environmental-noise-harms-the-cardiovascular-system-68786

Study shows exposure to plane noise at night higher circulating levels of stress hormones eg. adrenaline, stiffened blood vessels, and caused vascular endothelial dysfunction. These increase the chance of atherosclerosis leading to cardiovascular events

Some extracts from the article:

“The cardiovascular burden of traffic noise is particularly insidious, with annoyance reactions and sleep disturbances leading to an increased risk of heart disease. A 2015 report from the European Environment Agency linked exposure to car, truck, plane, and train sounds with nearly 1.7 million additional cases of hypertension, 80,000 additional hospital admissions, and 18,000 premature deaths due to coronary heart disease and stroke in Europe each year. A few years later, a metaanalysis conducted on behalf of the WHO supported these conclusions, with seven high-quality longitudinal studies collectively establishing that road traffic noise exposure was associated with an 8 percent increased risk of coronary heart disease.

Exposure to transportation-related noise is related to the annual loss of up to 1.6 million cumulative years of healthy life among people in Western Europe.

—World Health Organization, data from 2011

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In addition to being associated with an increased incidence of coronary heart disease, noise may serve as an acute trigger of cardiovascular problems. For example, a study published earlier this year established that for nighttime deaths, noise exposure levels two hours preceding death were significantly associated with heart-related mortality.

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Translational aircraft studies in people

In 2013, to take a more controlled look at the effects of traffic noise, we and our colleagues conducted our first field study involving the exposure of healthy subjects to simulated aircraft noise overnight in their homes. On control nights, we simply had participants play a recording of normal background noise in their home on a standard portable audio system placed on their nightstands. On other nights, we had them play a looped recording of aircraft noise taken in the bedroom of a resident living in the vicinity of Düsseldorf airport in Germany with a window tilted open.

Using questionnaires, blood analyses, and physiological tests of endothelial function, we established that one night of simulated aircraft noise exposure reduced self-reported sleep quality, elevated circulating levels of stress hormones such as adrenaline, stiffened blood vessels, and caused vascular endothelial dysfunction, the latter two reflecting early subclinical signs of atherosclerosis and being independent predictors of future cardiovascular events and disorders. Importantly, comparing participants exposed to 30 versus 60 aircraft noise events per night revealed a dose-dependent worsening of endothelial function. Moreover, previous exposure to 30 aircraft noise events caused 60 events to have larger adverse effects on endothelial function. Thus, rather than any sort of habituation to the noise, there appeared to be a priming effect: prior exposure amplified the negative effect of noise on endothelial function.

More recently, we exposed healthy subjects to simulated nighttime train noise and similarly found that one night of exposure greatly impaired sleep quality and endothelial function. In addition, proteomic analysis of participant blood samples revealed substantial changes in circulating proteins that pointed to a higher susceptibility to inflammation and blood clotting.

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Noise Damage Pathways

Epidemiological data have long linked exposure to noise such as aircraft, railway, or traffic sounds to increased risks of cardiovascular disease. And in recent years, experimental work has been revealing the biological mechanisms underlying that link. Specifically, researchers are finding that noise activates the brain’s limbic system, which plays a role in emotional regulation, the release of stress hormones into the blood, and controlling of the sympathetic nervous system. These stress responses can lead to cerebral and vascular inflammation, oxidative stress, and altered gene expression, sometimes culminating in endothelial dysfunction and cardiovascular disease.

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Only a few other studies have provided mechanistic insight into the relationship between traffic noise exposure and cardiovascular disease. In 2017, Maria Foraster and her colleagues at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute found, much as we did, that a decade of exposure to nighttime noise events, mainly related to road traffic noise, was associated with increased arterial stiffness in a cohort of 2,775 Swiss participants. That same year, a pooled analysis of more than 144,000 people in two large European cohorts from Norway and the Netherlands indicated that long-term exposure to road traffic noise was associated with higher levels of inflammation, blood lipids, and fasting glucose.

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Molecular mechanisms of noise-induced harm

A surprising result to come out of our first field study was that the adverse effects of nighttime noise on endothelial function were ameliorated by the administration of vitamin C, which we gave to some participants after noise exposure. Vitamin C is an antioxidant, a scavenger of oxygen-derived free radicals. Thus, this finding hinted that increased oxidative stress within the vasculature may be responsible for noise-induced endothelial dysfunction.

To further elucidate the molecular mechanisms responsible for nonauditory noise-induced cardiovascular side effects, we established a novel mouse model and employed various noise pollution protocols. In the first study, we exposed mice to simulated aircraft noise around the clock for four days and observed increased blood pressure and elevated concentrations of stress hormones such as cortisol, noradrenaline, angiotensin II, and dopamine, along with raised blood pressure, suggesting the animals were stressed. This was accompanied by endothelial dysfunction and increased production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) within the vascular wall.

Blood vessels are lined with endothelial cells that produce powerful vasoconstricting and vasodilating substances such as the radical nitric oxide (NO.). But ROS—which are produced in cases of hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, chronic smoking, and other conditions that are risk factors for cardiovascular disease—attack and degrade NO., thus limiting its bioavailability. This leads to stiffer vessels, higher blood pressure, and the initiation of plaque buildup in arteries. It appeared that this might be the initial pathway by which noise causes cardiovascular damage.

 

https://www.the-scientist.com/features/how-environmental-noise-harms-the-cardiovascular-system-68786

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Sir David Amess (Southend West MP) in plea to Southend Council to get night flights scrapped

Sir David Amess, MP for Southend West, has said that night flights at Southend Airport must be scrapped, as residents continue to battle sleepless nights. He has written to Southend Council leader Ian Gilbert pleading for his support in getting them banned, for the sake of residents. The Amazon cargo night flights have been the topic of heated debate since they launched in October 2019. The airport has permission for 120 night flights per month, but insists the number of flights is regularly much lower.  Council bosses have admitted it would be “very difficult” to get the flights scrapped, as the airport is acting inside their targets, and and are not breaking the law. The only way to get the night flights stopped is to have the quota removed from the Airport’s Section 106 Licence Agreement, from the council. The airport is desperate to make some money, due to the pandemic, and would not willingly give up night flights, which provide some income.  This is especially frustrating, when there are very few daytime flights, and many of the cargo planes are old and noisier than more modern planes.  There were actually 127 night flights departing the airport in March 2020, compared to just 78 last month.
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Sir David Amess MP in plea to scrap airport night flights

By Toby Emes 
Reporter (Basildon, Canvey, Southend Echo)

7th April 2021

NIGHT flights at Southend Airport must be scrapped, an MP has insisted as residents continue to battle sleepless nights.

Sir David Amess, MP for Southend West, has written to Southend Council leader Ian Gilbert pleading for his support for the sake of residents.

The controversial Amazon night flights have been the topic of heated debate since they launched in October 2019.

The airport has permission for 120 night flights per month, but insists the number of flights is regularly much lower.

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Council bosses have admitted it would be “very difficult” to get the flights scrapped.

Ron Woodley, deputy leader of Southend Council, said: “The airport are working inside their targets, and are not breaking the law.

“I emphasise with those who live nearby, but if the night flights are banned, there would be next to no flights leaving at the moment. With the financial struggles and tough times they are facing, I don’t see the airport making that move.”

In November, Mr Jones insisted the night flights would remain overnight,despite a lack of departures during the day due to the pandemic.

David Smith, who lives off Manners Way, claims he is woken up roughly four times a night by the The 70-year-old, said: “It’s impossible to sleep. We’re all disturbed along here.

“Some of the aircraft are 27 years old, they’re not set up to make minimum noise.”

But airport bosses insist night flights have decreased since this time last year.

Figures, seen by the Echo, revealed there were 127 night flights departing the airport in March last year, compared to just 78 last month.

Sir David Amess MP added: “I have written to the leader of the council saying that I would be calling for night flights to be banned at Southend Airport and asking the council for their support.”

https://www.echo-news.co.uk/news/local_news/19213811.sir-david-amess-mp-plea-scrap-airport-night-flights/

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See earlier:

Southend Airport to pay out £86k due to runway extension noise, under the Land Compensation Act

A court has ordered that Southend Airport should pay a total of £86,500 in compensation to owners of 9 neighbouring homes who say their values were diminished by noise, following the extension of the runway. in 2012  In its ruling, the Upper Tribunal’s Lands Chamber ordered that payments ranging from £4,000 to £17,000 be made in respect of the 9 homes, while a claim for a 10th property was dismissed. The claims for compensation are under the Land Compensation Act 1973. There is more noise, as larger planes land and take off from the airport.  The longer runway enabling the airport to “attract low-cost commercial airlines operating much larger aircraft than had previously flown from it”. The Tribunal agreed that the extra noise had meant depreciation in the value of most of the lead properties.  In 2013, the value of the lead properties ranged from £150,000 to £280,000, and the claimants sought compensation of between £32,200 and £60,100.  The Land Compensation Act says it applies to cases where there have been alterations to runways or aprons.  ie. something physical has been built (not buildings).

Click here to view full story…

Tory councillors want an end to Southend night flights, largely bringing in Amazon packages

Conservative councillors have criticised Southend Airport’s night flights, pledging to “explore every avenue possible” to have them removed. They have made it clear they back “further controlled expansion” but want night flights removed. Some residents say they are being forced to take sleeping tablets because of the sleep disruption caused by night flights. The Conservative councillors said: “We will continue to explore every avenue possible to have the night flight quota removed from the Airport’s Section 106 Licence Agreement.”  Other councillors worry there will be a loss of jobs, and they dare not risk losing them, with so many jobs being lost due to Covid. There are residential roads very close to the airport boundary, with houses must too near the runway. The airport is permitted on average 4 flights per night, but sometimes has fewer.  The airport has cargo flights, bringing in Amazon goods. There are generally 3 pear night between 1am and 5.30am, though there had been an earlier agreement not to have flights between midnight and 6am. This agreement has been abandoned.

Click here to view full story…

 

Stobart job losses due to Covid pandemic and decreased air travel

24.9.2020

More than 60 jobs are at risk at Manchester Airport as part of Stobart Aviation Services’ plans to cut 250 jobs across the UK.

The roles under threat are mainly baggage handlers. In Manchester it is 40% of Stobart Aviation Services’ workforce.

The company is also looking to reduce the number of people it employs at Southend and Stansted Airports by more than 60%.

https://www.thebusinessdesk.com/northwest/news/2066978-airport-jobs-under-threat-as-baggage-handlers-risk-being-left-empty-handed 


Southend Airport Amazon night flights to stay despite meeting with MP

By Matthew Critchell @MattC_Echo (Basildon, Canvey and Southend Echo)

3rd September 2020

Amazon bosses say night flights at Southend Airport will stay and be assessed – as residents and an MP demand action to stop disruption.

Sir David Amess, Tory MP for Southend West met with bosses at the online giant following serious concerns from residents about disruption from the flights. For years residents have spoken of the disruption and called for action to help the issue.

A letter to Sir David following the meeting said: “Our flights schedules are based on the best times to meet our promises to our customers and some of the flights have to occur at night. We always seek to be responsible neighbours and are very strict in following all regulations and laws on aircraft noise, making every effort to reduce any impact on residents.

“We will inform you of any future flight schedule changes and we will continue to assess our schedule going forward with your concerns in mind. The slots we are allocated are agreed with Southend Airport.

“In the meantime we are committed to working with you, the airport and residents to find ways to mitigate flight noise and reduce night disruption.”

https://www.echo-news.co.uk/news/18695758.southend-airport-amazon-night-flights-stay-despite-meeting-mp/

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Southend Airport to pay out £86k due to runway extension noise, under the Land Compensation Act

A court has ordered that Southend Airport should pay a total of £86,500 in compensation to owners of 9 neighbouring homes who say their values were diminished by noise, following the extension of the runway in 2012.  In its ruling, the Upper Tribunal’s Lands Chamber ordered that payments ranging from £4,000 to £17,000 be made in respect of the 9 homes, while a claim for a 10th property was dismissed. The claims for compensation are under the Land Compensation Act 1973. There is more noise, as larger planes land and take off from the airport.  The longer runway enabling the airport to “attract low-cost commercial airlines operating much larger aircraft than had previously flown from it”. The Tribunal agreed that the extra noise had meant depreciation in the value of most of the lead properties.  In 2013, the value of the lead properties ranged from £150,000 to £280,000, and the claimants sought compensation of between £32,200 and £60,100.  The Land Compensation Act says it applies to cases where there have been alterations to runways or aprons.  ie. something physical has been built (not buildings). Back in June 2013, over 1,000 claims were made against the airport’s noise.
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London Southend Airport to pay out £86k over runway extension noise

31.3.2021   (BBC)
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Southend Airport’s runway extension opened in 2012
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An airport has been ordered to pay compensation to the owners of neighbouring homes over noise caused by a runway extension.

Dozens of homeowners near London Southend Airport claimed the property values were diminished following the extension which opened in 2012.

The claims were denied by the airport.

But nine were upheld by the Upper Tribunal’s Lands Chamber, which ordered the airport should pay out a total of £86,500.

The court in London considered 10 exemplar cases after 190 current and former owners of houses near the airport made claims under the Land Compensation Act 1973.

Claimants said the value of their homes had been reduced by “physical factors caused by the use of the runway extension, and in particular by the increased noise they experience from the larger aircraft which now take off and land”.

‘A noisy environment got noisier’

The airport denied that the value of any of the lead properties had been “diminished by relevant physical factors resulting from the use of the runway extension and it values each of the claims at nil”.

In its ruling, the tribunal said daytime noise data showed between 2011 and 2014 “what was already quite a noisy environment got noisier”.

It said: “We are satisfied from the evidence of fact, the expert noise evidence and our site inspection that the use of the runway extension has caused depreciation in the value of most of the lead properties due to noise.”

The tribunal ordered payments ranging from £4,000 to £17,000 to be made in respect of nine homes, and a claim for a 10th property was dismissed.

A spokesman for the airport said: “London Southend Airport respects the decision of the independent judicial tribunal.

“The airport takes its role in the community extremely seriously and will continue to engage with residents so that we can all enjoy a sustainable future founded on responsible airport operations and creating long-term job opportunities.”

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Airport development & expansion claims

Part 1 of the Land Compensation Act 1973 provides that compensation can be claimed by residents who own and also occupy property, near an airport, that has been reduced in value by physical factors such as noise, vibration, smell, fumes, smoke and artificial lighting caused by certain airport developments and expansions.

Claims are made against the company managing the works, usually the airport operator, known as the ‘Responsible Authority’.

https://www.hughjames.com/service/environmental-compensation/runway-development-and-expansion

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The Land Compensation Act 1973

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1973/26/part/I

The change in conditions could be a change in the physical infrastructure (eg. longer runway).

The Act says:

” 3) Subsection (2) above shall not by virtue of any alterations to an aerodrome apply to a claim in respect of physical factors caused by aircraft unless the alterations are runway or apron alterations.”


Southend Airport ordered to pay compensation to home owners over noise

A court ordered a total of £86,000 to be paid to nine households

By Sam Russell  (Independent)
31.3.2021

A court has ordered that London Southend Airport should pay a total of £86,500 in compensation to owners of nine neighbouring homes who say their values were diminished by noise following a runway extension.

In its ruling, the Upper Tribunal’s Lands Chamber ordered that payments ranging from £4,000 to £17,000 be made in respect of the nine homes, while a claim for a 10th property was dismissed.

The court considered 10 exemplar cases after 190 current and former owners of houses in the vicinity of the airport referred claims for compensation under the Land Compensation Act 1973.

The claimants asserted that the value of their homes has been depreciated by “physical factors caused by the use of the runway extension, and in particular by the increased noise they experience from the larger aircraft which now take off and land at the airport“.

An extension to the existing runway was opened in 2012, enabling the airport to “attract low-cost commercial airlines operating much larger aircraft than had previously flown from it”.

The tribunal, led by deputy chamber president Martin Rodger QC and chartered surveyor Andrew Trott, said: “The general impression created by the daytime noise data is that between 2011 and 2014 what was already quite a noisy environment got noisier.”

They added: “We are satisfied from the evidence of fact, the expert noise evidence and our site inspection that the use of the runway extension has caused depreciation in the value of most of the lead properties due to noise.”

In 2013, the value of the lead properties ranged from £150,000 to £280,000, and the claimants sought compensation of between £32,200 and £60,100.

The airport denied that the value of any of the lead properties has been “diminished by relevant physical factors resulting from the use of the runway extension and it values each of the claims at nil”.

A spokesman for the airport said: “London Southend Airport respects the decision of the independent judicial tribunal.

“The airport takes its role in the community extremely seriously and will continue to engage with residents so that we can all enjoy a sustainable future founded on responsible airport operations and creating long-term job opportunities.”

Press Association

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/airport-pay-compensation-noise-b1825071.html

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See earlier:

Tory councillors want an end to Southend night flights, largely bringing in Amazon packages

Conservative councillors have criticised Southend Airport’s night flights, pledging to “explore every avenue possible” to have them removed. They have made it clear they back “further controlled expansion” but want night flights removed. Some residents say they are being forced to take sleeping tablets because of the sleep disruption caused by night flights. The Conservative councillors said: “We will continue to explore every avenue possible to have the night flight quota removed from the Airport’s Section 106 Licence Agreement.”  Other councillors worry there will be a loss of jobs, and they dare not risk losing them, with so many jobs being lost due to Covid. There are residential roads very close to the airport boundary, with houses must too near the runway. The airport is permitted on average 4 flights per night, but sometimes has fewer.  The airport has cargo flights, bringing in Amazon goods. There are generally 3 pear night between 1am and 5.30am, though there had been an earlier agreement not to have flights between midnight and 6am. This agreement has been abandoned.

Click here to view full story…


Grandmother complains after Southend airport expansion means 50 planes a day taxi at end of her garden

More planes using Southend airport have been causing noise nuisance and distress to local residents. A grandmother has complained as planes now taxi at the end of her garden, and there are 50 jets a day coming within 150ft of her fence. She says the planes going past, sometimes as often as every 20 minutes, with the noise and fumes, have left her and her husband miserable. “You can’t have a conversation in the garden with anyone because you can’t hear them.  When we are inside with the door closed we have to pause the TV until the plane has gone past. We worry about our grandchildren coming around and the enjoyment of having people over for BBQs is ruined. I love my garden and used to do a lot of gardening but now it is all spoilt with the noise and the smell.”  She has complained to the airport numerous times and is concerned the problem could worsen this summer when runways are expected to get busier.  It is very unsatisfactory when residential housing is as close to the taxiways as it is at Southend, and the quality of life of the residents is greatly reduced.

Click here to view full story…

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Lands Tribunal rules that residents near Farnborough can claim if their homes have been devalued by more flights

The Lands Tribunal has ruled that residents impacted by operations at Farnborough Airport, whose homes have been devalued by flights, can claim against the airport operators TAG. Law firm Hugh James is already dealing with 200 claimants and estimates that compensation could run into the millions.  The ruling concerns claims for compensation under Part 1 of the Land Compensation Act 1973, which provides a right to compensation where property value has been depreciated by increases in noise and other physical factors caused by the use of certain works including airports. The deputy president of the Lands Tribunal ruled that claims can proceed for any depreciation in property values caused by the addition of the airport’s West One Apron, completed in May 2010. This Apron was considered to be a substantial alteration built with the purpose of providing facilities for a greater number of aircraft. A partner at Hugh James said: “It’s yet to be determined whether any depreciation has been caused to property values and if so by how much, but it will now be the subject of ongoing proceedings.” Any claims for compensation arising out of the decision will need to be brought prior to the expiry of the statutory limitation period in May 2017. Other claims for work done at the airport in 2002 cannot be made, as these are now out of time. 

https://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/10/lands-tribunal-rules-that-residents-near-farnborough-can-claim-if-their-homes-have-been-devalued-by-more-flights/

 


Over 1,000 claims for compensation from Southend Airport due to loss in value of homes, because of aircraft noise

Southend Airport – which has had a huge and very rapid rise in the number of aircraft using the airport over the past year – has received more than 1,000 claims for compensation over aircraft noise. Homeowners nearby are concerned that the airport is reducing the value of their properties, due to the noise. The airport has said it will honour residents’ compensation claims if it is proven their homes have lost value because of its activities. Jon Fuller, of local group SAEN (Stop Airport Expansion and Noise) said that estate agents are giving strong indications local residents must expect many thousands of pounds less than they expect when they sell their homes. Though house prices in the area are generally fairly buoyant, if houses are close to the airport or on the flight path prices are suppressed. The airport’s CEO, Alistair Welch said people can make a compensation claim up to a year after the new terminal is finished. Surveyors, Michael Marriott, who are helping people submit claims say they can only claim for nuisances arising from the use of the runway extension. Nuisances arising from the use of the airport which do not depend upon the extension will be disregarded.

Claims could only be made after 9th March 2013, for 6 years. So the end of the claim period was March 2019.

https://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2013/06/huge-opposition-to-southend-airport-expansion-revealed/

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Campaign groups call for ban on Gatwick Airport night flights

Both community groups at Gatwick, GACC and CAGNE, are calling for a ban on night flights from Gatwick. “If night flights continue to be allowed, GACC argues they should be limited to those that are genuinely essential for economic reasons, not leisure flights, and that they should be far more strictly regulated.”  Successive governments have acknowledged that noise from aircraft at night has significant health, economic and other impacts on communities near airports and under flight paths, and have asserted that they take this very seriously. But there has been no bottom-up review of the UK’s night flight regime since 2006. Instead, the government has repeatedly rolled forward night flight limits set many years ago, without any re-examination of what we believe are the very limited economic benefits, whilst failing to take account of the increasingly strong evidence of the adverse physical and mental health impacts night flights have on communities. There is no reason to continue to operate services at night when there is ample capacity at times of day that have less serious health and community impacts. The first part of the DfT consultation on night flights ended on 3rd March; the second part ends on 31st May.
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Campaign groups call for ban on Gatwick Airport night flights

Two campaign groups are calling for a ban on night flights from Gatwick Airport.

By Sam Dixon-French  (West Sussex County Times)
Friday, 19th March 2021

The Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC) and Communities Against Gatwick Noise Emissions (CAGNE) want to stop planes flying at night to reduce noise and health impacts in the area.

A spokesman for GACC said: “If night flights continue to be allowed, GACC argues they should be limited to those that are genuinely essential for economic reasons, not leisure flights, and that they should be far more strictly regulated.”

Chairman of GACC Peter Barclay added: “People’s health should be put ahead of cheap holidays and airline profits.”

CAGNE said it is calling on residents in the area to respond to the Government’s night flight consultation, which ends on May 31.

A spokesman added: “It is well documented that night flights come with serious health risks as such they carry a cost to residents’ wellbeing and the NHS.”

… and it continues with comments from Gatwick, which can be seen at

https://www.wscountytimes.co.uk/news/people/campaign-groups-call-for-ban-on-gatwick-airport-night-flights-3171791

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GACC said in a recent newsletter on the Night Flights issue:

GACC strongly disagrees with DfT’s proposal to extend current night flight restrictions for an additional two years, for three main reasons.

First, we think it is complacent and irresponsible. Successive governments have acknowledged that noise from aircraft at night has significant health, economic and other impacts on communities near airports and under flight paths, and have asserted that they take this very seriously. But there has been no bottom-up review of the UK’s night flight regime since 2006. Instead, the government has repeatedly rolled forward night flight limits set many years ago, without any re-examination of what we believe are the very limited economic benefits, whilst failing to take account of the increasingly strong evidence of the adverse physical and mental health impacts night flights have on communities,

Secondly, there is no reason to continue to operate services at night when there is ample capacity at times of day that have less serious health and community impacts. The current reduction in night flights has been widely welcomed in local communities and the government should be taking steps to ensure they are eliminated or reduced very substantially, rather than permitting the airport to reintroduce them at scale when it pleases.

Thirdly, Gatwick communities are unfairly penalised by the current regime. In the summer, when they have greatest impacts, we have nearly 40% more night flights than Stansted and three times the number at Heathrow.

http://www.gacc.org.uk/resources/Newsletters/GACC%20NEWSLETTER%20123%20links%20included%20.pdf


The DfT Night Flights consultation – 2nd part ends 31st May 2021. (now extended to 3rd September 2021, so the results of the SoNA study can be included)

They say:

…. Secondly, we are also seeking early views and evidence on policy options for the government’s future night flight policy at the designated airports beyond 2024, and nationally. This includes whether we should amend our national noise policy to include specific policy for night noise, revising our night flight dispensation guidance, whether we should set criteria for airport designation, and what any future night flight regime at the designated airports should look like. This second section has been extended in a separate consultation, running from 4 March to 31 May 2021, all responses received will be treated equally to those of the new consultation.

We would aim to publish stage 2 of this consultation in 2022 which will set out firm proposals for the designated airports beyond 2024.

This process relates to the current designated airports in their current operational form and it does not consider any scenarios related to airport expansion proposals.

This consultation process will be of interest to communities that live near airports or underneath flightpaths, local authorities, airlines, airport operators, and businesses or consumers that depend on the aviation sector.

See

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/night-flights-restrictions-at-heathrow-gatwick-and-stansted-airports-beyond-2024-plus-national-night-flight-policy/night-flights-restrictions-at-heathrow-gatwick-and-stansted-airports-beyond-2024-plus-national-night-flight-policy


See earlier:

DfT night flights consultation – deadline for first section is 3rd March (second section 31st May)

The DfT has a consultation currently, on night flights.  The consultation has two parts. First, by 3 March the DfT seeking views on its proposals to extend the current night flight restrictions, set in 2017, for an additional two years from October 2022, and to ban the noisiest category of aircraft from operating in the night from October 2022 (this is only relevant for the few airports at which these planes are permitted). Then second, by 31st May it is seeking wider views on its national night flight policy and the structure of night flight restrictions beyond 2024.  Groups concerned about aircraft noise are very much opposed to the DfT’s proposal to extend current night flight restrictions for an additional 2 years, as it is widely acknowledged that plane noise at night disturbs sleep thousands, and negatively affects their mental and physical health.  The government has repeatedly rolled forward night flight limits set many years ago, without any proper re-examination of the issues. There are claims of the economic benefits of night flights, and these need to be re-assessed. With falling business flights, one frequent justification is to increase the number of daily “rotations” by low-cost airlines, keeping their fare prices low.

Click here to view full story…

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DfT spending £5.5 million on airspace change, to “drive improvements to UK’s ‘motorways in the sky’”

There is much talk, in the DfT and the CAA about “modernising airspace”. The main aim is to make it easier for more aircraft to use UK airspace safely. It means more planes flying along exactly the same route – which the DfT refers to as “motorways in the sky.”  The industry would also like to get the amount of noise nuisance from aviation to be as low as is possible with ever more planes. There has never been any satisfactory solution to whether to fly most planes over fewer routes (concentrated routes) or to fly planes on more routes. So the choice is affecting a smaller number of people very severely, or a larger number less badly.  There has never been decision on the alternatives. The concept of “respite” is popular with some – so more planes fly a certain route part of the time, giving those under another route some rest from the noise – then switching the two. Now the DfT has announced it is spending £5.5 million will (in the greenwash) “support airports to develop and evaluate design options aimed at making journeys quicker, quieter and cleaner.”  It will “deliver for all the UK.”  And help the sector to “build back better.” … The main aim is to fit in more flights, and ensure planes do not stack on their arrival at an airport.

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£5.5 million to drive improvements to UK’s ‘motorways in the sky’

[Read with greenwash detectors fully operating.]

For the first time since the 1950s, airport modernisation receives support to help make journeys faster, quieter and greener.

  • up to £5.5 million made available to support airports in reducing journey times, pollution and delays
  • funding will aid industry as it develops and evaluates new flight routes to modernise UK airspace
  • move will play a vital role in the Civil Aviation Authority’s Airspace Modernisation Strategy ready for when travel restrictions lift

The UK’s ‘motorways in the sky’ are on track to be redesigned for the first time since the 1950s, thanks to a £5.5 million investment announced today (19 March 2021).

Before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, there were approximately 7,000 aircraft in UK airspace, [sic] dependent on a complex network of routes that allows planes to operate safely. However, since these flight paths were initially mapped out decades ago, growing numbers of routes and a surge in demand has resulted in an increase in delays, noise and pollution.

The £5.5 million fund announced today will support airports to develop and evaluate design options aimed at making journeys quicker, quieter and cleaner.

Although national lockdown restrictions remain in place, meaning everyone must stay at home unless travelling for a very limited set of reasons, this work will help the sector build back better and greener from the pandemic.

Aviation Minister Robert Courts said:As an island nation, our airspace is vital in keeping us connected to the rest of the world.Modernising our ‘sky motorways’ could put an end to the days of circling the airport waiting for a landing slot, improving efficiency, and leading to flights that are quicker, quieter and greener than ever before.

Mark Swan, Head of the Airspace Change Organising Group (ACOG), said:

We’re delighted that the government has reaffirmed the essential role that airspace modernisation will play in helping the aviation industry to build back better from the COVID-19 pandemic. We will continue to work with our partners across the industry to ensure this programme is one that delivers for all of the UK.

Creating more efficient and streamlined airspace, not only benefits airports and airlines but also the passengers and communities surrounding them, through reduced emissions, lower levels of noise pollution and fewer delays.The investment has been made available to airports involved in the Airspace Modernisation Strategy to ensure this vital project remains on track, reflecting the government’s commitment to modernising the airways while supporting the aviation sector as we recover from the pandemic.

The government has also put in place one of the most comprehensive packages of business support in the world, pledging around £7 billion for the aviation sector since the start of the pandemic while working to develop a framework for the restart of safe and sustainable international travel.

The Global Travel Taskforce will publish its recommendations next month, with international travel resuming from 17 May at the earliest.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/55-million-to-drive-improvements-to-uks-motorways-in-the-sky


Information about the Airspace Modernisation Strategy

from the CAA

Airspace modernisation co-sponsor update (July 2020):

The Government and the Civil Aviation Authority have asserted our continued commitment to airspace modernisation in a joint statement and we have set out further detail on how we intend to review work on airspace modernisation going forward, including the need to consider how individual organisations may progress airspace changes in these uncertain times. 

The CAA has published its finalised Airspace Modernisation Strategy (AMS). The new strategy is in response to the Department for Transport tasking the Civil Aviation Authority with preparing and maintaining a co-ordinated strategy and plan for the use of UK airspace up to 2040, including modernisation.

The AMS replaces the Future Airspace Strategy and sets out the ways, means and ends of modernising airspace through 15 initiatives that will modernise the design, technology and operations of airspace, initially focusing on the period until the end of 2024. These include the removal of all fixed routes in upper airspace so aircraft can fly fully optimised routes, a fundamental redesign of the terminal route network using precise and flexible satellite navigation, and the focus on electronic surveillance solutions to improve safety and enable better integration of all airspace users. The AMS is published following public engagement earlier in 2018, which saw hundreds of people have their say.

The structure of the UK’s airspace has remained the same for decades, despite an increase in demand from its users. According to research conducted by NATS, flights in UK airspace are forecast to grow from 2.25 million per year in 2015 to 3.25 million in 2030 (an increase of 44 per cent). If nothing changes, more and more flights will be delayed at UK airports each year. Without modernisation,  NATS predict an average of 26.5 minutes of delay per delayed flight, with more than 1 in 3 flights from all UK airports expected to depart over half an hour late due to a shortfall in airspace capacity. Other airspace users, including drone and spacecraft operators, general aviation and the military are also wanting increased access to this infrastructure and other stakeholders such as local communities want adverse impacts to be better mitigated.  Modernisation is critical to ensure that this invisible piece of the UK’s national infrastructure is fit for purpose for the future.

The AMS sets out a new shared objective between the Civil Aviation Authority and the Department for Transport for modernising airspace which is to deliver quicker, quieter and cleaner journeys and more capacity for the benefit of those who use and are affected by UK airspace. This new strategy will allow the UK to provide more choice and value for consumers, allowing airlines to add new flights, reducing flight delays and enhancing global connections that can help boost the UK economy, while continuing to improve safety standards and helping make journeys more environmentally friendly. Coupled with the adoption of new technology by existing airspace users, it will also help pave the way for increased safe access for newer airspace users like drones and spacecraft.

The increase in traffic may lead to an increase in noise in some areas, or the concentration of traffic can focus noise over a smaller area. While it is impossible to reduce the impact of aviation noise for all communities, it is important that noise is managed as well as possible. Airports should also consider whether they can develop airspace change proposals to reduce noise, i.e. to reduce the total adverse health effects of noise.

The strategy also presents a new governance structure which sets out the industry’s responsibility for its delivery and how relevant stakeholders will be a part of that process. The AMS does not propose any specific airspace changes but suggests that a masterplan of changes that will be necessary for modernisation should be developed. Any individual airspace changes that are developed either in response to this strategy or for any other reasons will go through the CAA’s airspace change process (as set out in CAP 1616), to include consultation with affected stakeholders which, depending on the circumstances, includes communities on the ground and other airspace users.

https://www.caa.co.uk/Commercial-industry/Airspace/Airspace-Modernisation-Strategy/About-the-strategy/

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Correspondence

DfT and CAA update on airspace modernisation: March 2021

Updated 19 March 2021

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/update-on-airspace-modernisation/dft-and-caa-update-on-airspace-modernisation-march-2021

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MSP Gil Paterson writes to Scottish Government, to get noise help for those overflown by Glasgow planes

Aircraft at Glasgow airport fly over some districts at little more than 400ft and yet Glasgow Airport, whose attitude towards its disadvantaged communities has been notoriously bad, refuses to provide them with proper sound insulation – which is all they have been asking for.  Now an MSP, Gil Paterson, has done a survey of the noise nuisance suffered. This shows a considerable % of those polled were “moderately, badly or severely” affected by the noise, both daytime and night. There are well established negative impacts of noise on health.  Gil has written to the Scottish Government, asking for help for those suffering so much aircraft noise. He says: “Before the pandemic I was engaged with Glasgow Airport, West Dunbartonshire Council and the Scottish Government putting together a noise insulation package for residents in the 63 dB area, but things have been very slow to materialise and to be honest the 63 dB contour area is much too narrow to resolve the impact of noise on human health.” …”Whilst I accept that air transport powers are limited to the Scottish Parliament as part of our Government’s commitment to eradicating inequalities and our anti-poverty policies, we must use all the levers available to resolve this appalling situation being experienced by my constituents who live under the flight path.”
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From
GIL PATERSON MSP
Member of the Scottish Parliament for
Clydebank and Milngavie constituency
SUITE 1-6
TITAN ENTERPRISE BUSINESS CEN.
1 AURORA AVENUE
CLYDEBANK G81 1BF

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To
Michael Matheson MSP
Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity
The Scottish Government
St. Andrew’s House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG

26/02/21

Dear Michael,

Aircraft Noise Mitigation at Glasgow Airport

I have been working for 13 years to try to find a solution to the problems created by aircraft noise at Glasgow Airport which impacts severely on some of the most disadvantaged and deprived communities in Scotland.

As a result of the downturn in aircraft activity caused by coronavirus restrictions, I took the
opportunity as part of the UK Government’s Night Flights Consultation to survey constituent
communities previously affected to establish in a comparative way how less flights improved noise pollution in their homes.

I have attached a copy of my survey results (see Glasgow noise survey Gil Paterson 2020 ) together with my letter to the Night Flight Consultation for your information.

No real surprise with fewer planes there was less disruption reducing the number of those badly or severely affected by aircraft noise from 31% before the coronavirus pandemic to 9% during the restrictions.

Before the pandemic I was engaged with Glasgow Airport, West Dunbartonshire Council and the Scottish Government putting together a noise insulation package for residents in the 63 dB area, but things have been very slow to materialise and to be honest the 63 dB contour area is much too narrow to resolve the impact of noise on human health.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines outline that noise in excess of 45 dBs during the day and 40 dBs at night will damage people’s health and that level of ill health for communities in Clydebank has been demonstrated in the SIMD statistics where early death and prolonged periods of ill health are amongst the worst in Scotland.

Whilst I accept that air transport powers are limited to the Scottish Parliament as part of our
Government’s commitment to eradicating inequalities and our anti-poverty policies, we must use all the levers available to resolve this appalling situation being experienced by my constituents who live under the flight path.

Interestingly, almost every other airport in the UK has had an insulation or compensation scheme in place for years and a few ban night-flights yet we seem to be caught in some kind of paralysis.

Can the various department in the Scottish Government please get round the table and address this issue which affects a relatively small proportion of Scotland’s population, but it does affect them extremely severely. With the numbers involved this will not be an expensive problem to resolve.

If you require any further information, I am more than happy to discuss the details with you.

Yours sincerely,

Gil Paterson MSP
Member of the Scottish Parliament for Clydebank and Milngavie (SNP)

 

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See earlier (2019)

MSP Gil Paterson secures parliament debate on aircraft noise

26th June 2019

By Lauren Brownlie Reporter (Clydebank Post)

CLYDEBANK’s MSP secured a debate in the Scottish Parliament highlighting the health effects of aircraft noise, and the damage it does to children’s education.

Gil Paterson MSP has been a long campaigner on the issue, despite Westminster being responsible for aviation issues.

During the debate on Tuesday evening, Mr Paterson started by welcoming Whitecrook residents that were in the gallery.

He said: “ I would like to mention Tam Brady, Joe Henry, Reuben McLean and Pat Hoey who have been of great assistance to me for more than 12 years on aircraft noise issues.”

Mr Paterson has been working with the Scottish and Local Government to take preventative action by upgrading fuel poverty schemes under the flightpath, using materials that protect against both heat loss and sound penetration.

Read more: Aircraft noise readings outside Whitecrook raise questions

Mr Paterson pointed out that he has already proved this can be done effectively, and at a reasonable cost, when he retrofitted a house in Clydebank installing triple glazing and special loft insulation reducing noise levels from 63 decibels to 45 decibels.

The MSP also announced that a proposal will go before West Dunbartonshire Council in August to approve a pilot scheme retrofitting 12 houses for heat and sound protection.

He also spoke of the importance that when new houses are built under the flightpath, they comply with the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations.

He said: “The WHO say that people are damaged at levels over 45 decibels. Therefore, I believe that housing regulations for new build homes which are within this zone be required to install materials that protect to the 45 decibels level.

“The cost of installing on a virgin housing site is considerably less than having to rip out and reinstall.”

“Right now in Clydebank there are houses being built that fall within the 60 decibels zone, which if not fitted with a dual heat/sound protection products at the start would be required to do so in a few short years.

“However, I am very glad to say West Dunbartonshire Council have been very engaged and alert in this matter and there is every chance these houses will be fully protected.”

Read more: Whitecrook campaigners meet UK aviation noise commissioner

In October 2018 the WHO warned of the increased incidence of cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment, mental health issues, metabolic problems, reduced quality of life, reduced level of well-being associated with the noise levels endured by those living under a flight path.

Mr Paterson concluded his speech during the debate by saying: “So my message from this debate is simple, you either stop night-time flights or by insulating the building you safeguard the people.”

https://www.clydebankpost.co.uk/news/17731012.msp-gil-paterson-secures-parliament-debate-aircraft-noise/

 

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