HAVE YOUR SAY ON NIGHT FLIGHTS
(press release issued 28 September 2004 by Stop Stansted Expansion)
There is just one month left for people to input into the important first stage of the Government's consultation on Stansted night flights to help it decide what restrictions, if any, should apply in the future.
Night flying restrictions are reviewed for Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted every five to six years and the current rules which limit Stansted to 12,000 night flights a year (on average 33 per night) come to an end next October (2005). The Government wants to hear from the aviation industry and local communities to help it decide on the rules that should apply in future.
Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has produced an advisory booklet on the subject and this has now been sent to over 200 parish, district, town and county councils in the region, setting out the main issues on night flights at Stansted and encouraging them to make their views known to the Government. Responses from individuals within the community who wish to have their say are also being encouraged.
"The number of night flights at Stansted has grown rapidly in recent years and for many local people this is one of the biggest bugbears of the airport," said SSE Chairman, Peter Sanders. "The current annual cap of 12,000 night flights at Stansted is far too high - the second highest in the country - and we must make every effort to hold the Government to its promise that it will "bear down" on night flights. Families who live near the airport or beneath flight paths put up with enough during the day. They should at least be entitled to some respite during the night."
The current annual 12,000 limit on night flights is thoroughly misleading because it only covers a 6½ hour period between 11.30pm and 6am, not the full 8 hour night time period from 11pm to 7am which the Government recognises for other aspects of the night flying rules. In reality there were over 21,300 night flights at Stansted last year, but the majority avoid the restrictions by operating just outside the 6½ hour quota period. SSE is calling for the noise quota period to be extended to at least the full 8 hour night-time period from 11pm to 7am.
Many people argue for a total ban on all night flights and such bans already exist elsewhere in the UK and around the world. The Government consultation does not offer this option but it would be perfectly legitimate for people to write to the Government in straightforward terms saying that is what they want.
SSE supports the Government commitment to implement the World Health Organisation (WHO) Guidelines in relation to aircraft noise because this would dramatically reduce the noise impacts upon communities. However, SSE views the Government's proposed 30 year timetable for implementing the WHO Guidelines is wholly unacceptable.
"A 30 year timetable is preposterous," commented Mr Sanders. "We recognise that it may be unrealistic for the Government to fully adopt the WHO Guidelines within the next regulatory period (2005-2011) but we expect it to commit to fully adopting them during the subsequent regulatory period. If the Government will not commit to this, then we see no alternative other than a total ban on all night flights. There is a limit to the patience and tolerance of local people."
The Government consultation document and SSE's explanation and advice on this can be obtained via the SSE website, by contacting the SSE campaign office on 01279 870558 or via email: email@example.com. The Consultation closing date is 29 October 2004 although there will be a second stage before final decisions are reached.
Whatever their views on the expansion of Stansted Airport, SSE is urging local residents to participate in this Consultation and make their views known to the Government by writing to:
Department for Transport
Aviation Environmental Division 2
Great Minster House
76 Marsham Street
LONDON, SW1P 4DR
Peter Sanders, SSE Chairman, 01799 540273
Carol Barbone, SSE Campaign Director, 0777 552 3091 firstname.lastname@example.org
Broxted Parish Council's response to the Stage 1 consultation, 26 October 2004.
SSE's Covering Letter (MS Word ® format 34KB)
SSE's Briefing Paper (MS Word ® format 367KB)