Stansted Airport: BAA and communities to work together on noise issues

ISSUES with noisy aircraft blasting over the top of villages came to a head last Friday when over 200 people packed into Hatfield Heath village hall to air their grievances.

In the hot seat was Stansted Airport’s head of environment Dr Andy Jefferson. He was met with some angry questions about flight paths and Asia-bound jumbo jets swooping over rooftops at night.

Pensioner Albert Neilson attacked the airport chief after it emerged that on average every three months engine noise drowns out village life for three entire days.

He said: “That is three days of our lives gone in three months, how many more days are we going to lose?

“It’s all about profits for BAA – we were promised no flights at night. They need to put the goalposts back to where they were and stick to that promise.”

Dr Jefferson said airport owners BAA are eager to work alongside residents and get a better deal for them regarding flights paths.

He told them to lobby the Civil Aviation Authority in the hope of getting alternative flight paths approved.

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Dr Jefferson said: “We are aiming to trail new waypoints with one of the airlines – this will mean that aircraft will travel between Hatfield Heath and Hatfield Broad Oak rather then directly over them.

“It will reduce noise for some residents, but in order to do that for all airlines the CAA has to formally adopt those points.”

As a result parish councillors, the Stop Stansted Expansion Group, and BAA will be teaming up with Uttlesford MP Sir Alan Haselhurst to form a lobbying taskforce.

After the three month trial, which is due to start in August, data will be gathered and presented to the CAA.

BAA is also looking to increase its fines for aircraft companies that don’t obey height and direction rules. Currently Air Asia X and Ryanair are the biggest culprits – but are only fined �1000 or �500 for each contravention.

Dr Jefferson said: “We want an increase to make give the fines far more weight.”

SEE economics advisor Brain Ross welcomed BAA’s effort to engage with the community and said that there were “grounds for optimism.”

He added: “Noise fines should be increased ten-fold to make them a deterrent. If planes were actually at the 4000ft point they should be, people would be a lot happier. We also need to find a common position with BAA and aim to reduce night flying.”