Stansted: Campaigners call for end to airport’s night flights
06:00 03 February 2014
Campaigners have called on the Government to bring an end to the “scourge” of noisy night flights at Stansted Airport.
The Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) group believes the current cap of 12,000 night flights a year, which is twice the amount permitted at Heathrow, is “far more than needed”.
SSE’s noise advisor Martin Peachey said: “For years the Government has been promising that it will bear down on aircraft noise at night.
“However, night flights at Stansted are still increasing, not decreasing.
“It’s time to reverse that trend and set a firm timetable for phasing out night flights altogether.”
The group made its submissions in response to a Government consultation which proposes to maintain the 12,000 flight limit between the hours of 11.30pm and 6am.
SSE believes the limit is outdated, having been made at a time, in 2006, when the airport was still expanding rapidly.
With Stansted handling 30% less traffic than it was in 2006, and plans for a second runway cancelled in 2010, the group claims that allowing 12,000 night flights a year “can no longer be justified”.
The submission also argued that those living in region had the right to a full eight hours sleep, rather than the six and a half hours included in the definition of a “night flight”. It also highlighted the particular disturbance caused at Stansted because of its rural location and the very low levels of background noise.
A DFT spokesman said: “Aviation plays an important role in the UK economy, but the government recognises the impact night flights have on people and expects the industry to reduce noise and minimise demand for night flights where alternatives are available.
“We will consider carefully all responses to the current consultation on night noise, which ends on Monday 3 February, and will respond in due course.”
Stansted Airport’s Chris Wiggan has previously said: “As the UK economy improves and passenger and freight movements continue to grow at Stansted, it is vital that government recognises this potential and retains our full night flight quota limit.
“Whilst we understand that night noise is an impor-tant issue for airport commu-nities, a reduction in the limit would have a damaging effect on the UK economy and only serve to transfer movements to airports with greater environmental impacts.”