Campaign group calls for residents to make views heard over Stansted night flights

PUBLISHED: 11:50 02 February 2017 | UPDATED: 11:50 02 February 2017

Stansted Airport.

Stansted Airport.

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Campaigners are urging councils and residents to make their voices heard to reduce plane noise after Government plans to regulate night flights at Stansted Airport were published.

Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) is calling on the Government to phase out all night flights at Stansted by 2030 expect in the case of genuine emergencies.

The Government opened a public consultation on January 12 regarding new measures to cut the noise allowed from night time flights at Stansted, as well as at Heathrow and Gatwick airports.

Flight restrictions currently in place at the airports expire in October, and the new regulations will last for the next five years up to 2022.

SSE says Stansted currently has permission for 12,000 night flights a year, more than twice as many as are permitted at Heathrow.

The campaign group argues that night flights have a far greater impact on residents around Stansted because of its rural location where background noise levels at night are generally very low.

An SSE spokesman said: “The main criticism of the Government’s latest night flights proposals is that they do not go nearly far enough to tackle the very serious impact of sleep disturbance for residents around Stansted and under flight paths.

“The 12,000 annual limit applies only to the six and a half hours from 11.30pm to 6.00am whereas the normal definition of ‘night’ is the eight hours from 11pm to 7am.

“Moreover, a large number of Stansted’s night flights are large, noisy cargo aircraft and unsurprisingly, these give rise to a disproportionately high level of noise complaints.”

Aviation Minister Lord Ahmad said: “This government is committed to tackling the issue of aircraft noise, especially flights at night.

“Night flights are, however, important to the economy, creating extra choice for passengers and moving freight, and we need to carefully balance the needs of local communities with the benefits these flights can bring.”

A Stansted spokesman said: “Stansted has significantly reduced its noise footprint over the years with the introduction of the latest generation of greener, quieter, more efficient aircraft.”

The consultation will run until February 28, after which responses will be reviewed and a final decision published.

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