The Government has published a consultation on night flight restrictions for airports in the south, including for Stansted airport.
The current regulations expire in October of this year and this new consultation will establish rules for the next 5 years.
The Government acknowledges that noise at night represents the least acceptable form of aircraft noise. However, night flights are supported for providing ‘extra choice for passengers’ and night operations for the freight sector.
Responses need to be submitted by 28 February. Your Parish Council will be submitting a response. However, it is vital that residents also make their opinions known.
Whilst there are some aspects of the proposals which are welcome, specifically ending night quota exemptions for certain flights, they do not go far enough to reduce highly disruptive night flights, particularly in the ‘shoulder’ periods at the end of the evening and first thing in the morning at 6am.
Too many people in Felsted thought that the last changes to daytime flights would have no impact on them and so did not submit to the previous consultation. But Stansted has seen a 10 fold increase in complaints and Felsted has suffered from increased aircraft noise.
Make sure you have your say now.
Sharing advice and thoughts from Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE):
Stansted currently has permission for 12,000 night flights a year, more than twice as many as are permitted at Heathrow. SSE has long argued to the Government that night flights have a far greater impact on local residents around Stansted because of its rural location, where background noise levels at night are generally very low.
Furthermore, the 12,000 annual limit applies only to the 6½ hours from 11.30pm to 6.00am whereas the normal definition of ‘night’ is the 8 hours from 11.00pm to 7.00am. Moreover, a large number of Stansted’s night flights are large, noisy cargo aircraft, many of which are very old. Unsurprisingly, these give rise to a disproportionately high level of noise complaints. There are also a rapidly increasing number of ‘exempt’ aircraft flying at night, currently approaching an additional 2000 movements annually.
The Government proposes to maintain the present night limit on aircraft movements at Stansted, whilst at the same time removing the current exemption for less noisy aircraft and increasing the movements limit accordingly. This aspect of the Government’s proposals is welcome since the number of exempt aircraft has been increasing at Stansted Airport in recent years, to nearly 2000, and all aircraft movements at night – the least noisy as well as the most noisy – create noise nuisance and cause widespread sleep disturbance for local residents. This proposal will cap this increase.
SSE’s main criticism of the Government’s latest night flights proposals is that they do not go nearly far enough to tackle the very serious impacts of night flights in terms of sleep disturbance for local residents around Stansted and under its flight paths.
Felsted Parish council is joining SSE in calling for:
- An unequivocal Government commitment to phase out all night flights at Stansted by 2030, except in the case of genuine emergencies;
- In the meantime, for the annual limit on Stansted night flights to apply, not just from 11.30pm to 6.00am, but from 11.00pm to 7.00am, so that ‘night’ truly means ‘night’, as defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s Guidelines on Community Noise;
- A radical overhaul of the current ‘averaging’ method for measuring aircraft noise so that the official Government noise statistics start to represent what people actually have to endure.
We would urge residents to consider spending a few minutes making their own voices heard by completing the online consultation.