25th April 2015
SSE calls for cross-party support to end night flights
Ahead of the general election and local council elections to be held on 7 May, Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) is calling upon all local candidates to support a ban on night flights at Stansted.
Stansted currently has permission to operate 12,000 night flights a year, more than twice as many as are permitted at Heathrow. SSE has long argued to the Government that night flights have a far greater impact on local residents around Stansted because of its rural location where background noise levels are generally very low.
The number of night flights at Stansted has significantly increased over the past year, and this is believed to be largely due to the closure of Manston Airport. This led to Manston’s remaining cargo airlines transferring to Stansted. Whilst at Manston, these aircraft were subject to a ban on night flights, imposed by the local council. However, there is no such ban at Stansted.
SSE also wants all politicians to recognise that the 12,000 limit only applies to the 6½ hour period between 11.30pm and 6.00am whereas the normal definition of ‘night’ is the 8-hours between 11.00pm to 7.00am. There are no restrictions on the number of aircraft permitted to take-off and land at Stansted during the so-called shoulder periods between 11.00pm and 11.30pm and between 6.00am and 7.00am.
SSE has long argued that those living in the vicinity of Stansted and/or under its flight paths should have the right to an uninterrupted night’s sleep, which should mean a full 8 hours and not just the 6½ hours covered by the current restrictions on night flights.
Martin Peachey, SSE’s noise adviser, commented: “Politicians of all persuasions appear sympathetic to ways of reducing the effects of sleep disturbance and adverse health impacts caused by night flights for residents around airports. With the approaching general election and local council elections, we invite politicians of all parties to support a timetable to progressively phase out nights flights.”
Further background is contained in SSE’s submission on night flights to the Government in January 2014.
The current consultation relates to night flights at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, and can be accessed at www.gov.uk/government/consultations/night-flights. This is the second part of a two-stage consultation process which began in January 2013. The new arrangements will come into force in October this year.
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