Air noise could be a thing of the past

GOVERNMENT ministers have pledged to “bear down on night noise” from aircraft amid growing concern about the number of planes flying over Felixstowe and Ipswich.

GOVERNMENT ministers have pledged to “bear down on night noise” from aircraft amid growing concern about the number of planes flying over Felixstowe and Ipswich.

New restrictions on night-flying come into force on October 29 to try to limit the amount of noisier aircraft landing at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted during the night-time flying hours.

One of the main aims of the changes being brought in by secretary of state Douglas Alexander is to prevent the noisier aircraft being scheduled to arrive and depart during the night - except where they have been affected by delays - rather than to limit the numbers of planes.

Such is the growth of concern over flights between 11pm and 7am the Department of Transport received nearly 8,000 responses to its consultation on the changes.

Mr Alexander said the government's policy was “to bear down on night noise”.

It wanted “to strike a fair balance between the protection of local communities from excessive aircraft noise levels at night and the provision of air services at night where they are of benefit of the national, regional or local economy”.

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He would be limiting “noise quotas”, which should restrict the numbers of heavier, noisier aircraft, and keeping these at constant levels at the airports for the next six years until the situation is reviewed again.

Some airlines are not happy at the situation and fear with the growth of air traffic this will make it difficult to schedule all the larger aircraft during the day and could cost them millions of pounds.

However, he did agree not to extend the night hours period because it was felt that would have severe implications on capacity at the three airports.

In the past two years, the number of flights over the Felixstowe peninsula has increased rapidly following changes to allow planes to fly 5,000ft lower than before.

Observers estimate that it now allows 1,200 planes a day to fly over the area.

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