ISSUE: Night Flights                       


Council pledges to fight any proposals to relax restrictions

The council has pledged to fight any proposal to relax current restrictions on night flights after the Department for Transport announced plans for new controls from next year.

Ministers intend to begin consultation this summer on new arrangements which would take effect from winter 2005. Transport department officials unveiled their plans at a forum last Friday February 27 attended by a number of local authorities in the south east affected by aircraft noise.

Any changes in the regulations for night flights now have to meet a new European directive.

For the first time night noise contours will be published showing the areas affected by early morning arrivals at Heathrow. Wandsworth has consistently called for a complete ban on night flights.

The Government is looking at a new quota system that would allow a substantial increase in the number of flights. This would be possible because individual aircraft would carry a lighter noise classification.

Last year a study by Wandsworth noise experts revealed that the true level of noise caused by early morning arrivals was up to 75 per cent higher than that implied by the Government's official method of classification.

This was because almost two out of three early morning arrivals at Heathrow had been incorrectly placed in a lower (quieter) band

Council leader Edward Lister said:

"We will have to look very closely at the small print of these new
regulations when they emerge.
Far from bowing to the pressure from residents for an end to night flights ministers seem to be getting ready to loosen the controls.

"The problem for anyone living under the flightpath is that it only takes one early morning arrival to be woken up. The council will continue to press for long term airport solutions that remove the need for night flights to come in over the most densely populated area of the country."

Last year the European Court of Human Rights reversed a previous ruling that night flights contravened the right to a decent night's sleep.

The case had been brought by a group of west London residents backed by a number of local authorities including Wandsworth. The proposed extension to the current night flights regime had been delayed pending the outcome of the challenge.

March 1, 2004


Associated articles:

Government wins Night Flight case 8.7.03

Richmond first with night flights cash 31.05.02

Wandsworth makes cash call to save night flights ruling May 2002

Residents face fresh night flights challenge April 2002

Night flights ruling could come before Christmas November 2002

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