DfT publishes night flights consultation – no concessions to airport groups for another 4 years…?
Historically, the DfT has set the night flight regime – for the “designated” airports, Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted – for periods of 5 years. The last regime was in 2017, for the period from October 2017 to October 2022. The DfT says: “The aim of the regime was to maintain the status quo and ensure that communities do not experience any overall increase in the noise created by night flights.” It has allowed a high level of night flights, with no reductions on earlier numbers, despite significant community opposition. Seventeen airport groups wrote to the Aviation Minister on 10th November, asking that night flights should be limited in future, with a proper night period in which no flights are permitted (other than genuine emergencies). The aim was to make their point before the DfT consultation (by which time the DfT has decided what it intends to do …). The government has now published its new night flights consultation, for the period 2022 to 2024. The DfT intends there to be no change to the current regime (no concessions to suffering from being overflown at night) other than phasing out the noisiest planes, which airlines are getting rid of anyway, due to Covid. DfT says: “… we are also seeking early views and evidence on policy options for the government’s future night flight policy at the designated airports beyond 2024, and nationally.” .Tweet Government rejects plea to ban night flights amid noise complaints By Press Association 2020 2.12.2020 Calls for a ban on night flights at airports have been rejected by the Government.Existing limits on night flights at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted will be preserved until at least October 2024 under new Department for Transport (DfT) proposals. Seventeen organisations covering airports such as Bristol, East Midlands, Gatwick, Glasgow, Heathrow and Southampton wrote to aviation minister Robert Courts last month demanding that take-offs and landings are banned for eight hours every night. The DfT, which is consulting on the plans, said night flights are “an important contributor” to the economic benefits provided by the aviation sector. But it also acknowledged that noise from night flights “is often regarded by communities as the most disturbing form of airport operations”. Responding to the consultation launch, John Stewart, who chairs anti-Heathrow expansion group Hacan, said: “The Government should take this opportunity not to tinker around with night flight restrictions but to ask the more basic question of how many of the night flights are really needed. “No night flights is what most communities want. The Government should have that as its target.” The DfT consultation document stated: “Maintaining the existing restrictions for an interim period will provide time for complete consideration of the longer-term options for managing aviation noise at night at the designated airports. “It will also provide time for the impacts of the pandemic on the aviation industry to be better understood and for evidence to emerge that can support longer-term policy changes.” Heathrow is currently allowed an average of 16 flights every night between 11.30pm and 6am. The limit at Gatwick and Stansted is 40 and 38 respectively. The only planned change in night flights from October 2022 is to prohibit the use of aircraft with noise levels similar to the Boeing 747-400 between 11.30pm and 6am. These type o