Already there is an average of 16 flights before 6am - "that’s 16 too many"
The Government’s second stage consultation on a new night flight regime proposes no significant changes to the existing rules despite new evidence on the health and social impacts of sleep deprivation caused by aircraft noise.
The consultation documents say the Commission led by Sir Howard Davies, which is reviewing airport capacity, will make recommendations for night flights in its final report in 2015. Significant changes are therefore deferred.
Wandsworth Council warns that Davies has already set out his plans for increasing the number of Heathrow night flights before 6am in his first stage report.
Ravi Govindia, leader of Wandsworth Council, said:
“We already suffer an average 16 early morning arrivals before 6am – for our residents that’s 16 too many. Davies has already recommended more night flights without basing this on any credible evidence of the noise impact on local communities.
“He is relying on a study of people’s attitudes to noise that was carried out more than 30 years ago. He should not proceed a step further without commissioning a new study that will provide him with up to date information based on the experiences of people who have to live every day with the consequences of aircraft disturbing their sleep. Wandsworth Council is calling for a complete ban on all arrivals before 6am.”
To respond to the consultation visit the Government’s website or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Flightpath communities in Battersea and Putney complain bitterly about pre 6am flights (classified as night flights) and suffer from sleep deprivation and fatigue which affects their work and undermines quality of life.
The Department for Transport’s own impact assessments link prolonged exposure to night flights to serious health problems including cardiovascular disease, strokes and hypertension.
Sir Howard’s first report uses the outdated ‘57 decibel’ marker to define aircraft noise impacts which has infuriated campaigners who claim it grossly underestimates a flightpath noise footprint.
Davies has also shortlisted Heathrow as a potential location for new runways despite its existing noise impacts being far more severe than any other airport in Europe. Wandsworth Council warns that more runways will mean more flightpaths and greater demand for night flights.
Any serious examination of the relative noise pollution levels would decisively rule out any form of expansion to the west London airport which has flightpaths cutting across the most densely populated part of the UK, according to the council.
See a full report on the Government’s proposal for a night flight regime on the council’s website.
January 26, 2014