Measures to cut night noise at London airports

The government has announced new measures to cut the noise allowed from night flights at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted.

With the current night flight restrictions at the three airports expiring in October 2017, the new public consultation will encourage the use of quieter aircraft to limit the number of people significantly affected by aircraft noise at night. The new rules will last for the next five years up to 2022.

Measures within the consultation include: reducing the total noise quota at Heathrow Airport by at least 43 per cent in the Winter and 50 per cent in the Summer; reducing noise quotas at Gatwick by at least 17 per cent in the Winter and 21 per cent in the Summer; and setting a strict cap at existing levels for the number of night flights from Heathrow and Gatwick.

Additionally, the consultation will seek to end exemptions for almost 1700 night flights operating out of Stansted by including these in the new cap, setting a strict limit which the airport cannot exceed.

Lord Ahmad, the department’s Aviation Minister, said: “This government is committed to tackling the issue of aircraft noise, especially flights at night, which can be a blight for people living near airports.

“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. That’s why we are encouraging the use of quieter aircraft by bringing in tighter noise quotas at the airports and setting strict caps on aircraft movements at night.”

The consultation will run until Tuesday 28 February 2017, after which responses will be reviewed and a final decision on night flights will be published.

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