THE London Assembly has called for a complete ban on night flights at Heathrow.
A more generous noise insulation scheme and further research into the effects on health of night flights were some of the other demands made by the Assembly’s health and environment committee in its response to the government’s night flights consultation, published on Friday last week, the first phase of which is due to end on April 21.
Should night flights be allowed to continue, as is widely expected, the committee wants more planes to approach from the west, reducing the impact on an estimated 110,000 Londoners.
Committee chairman Murad Qureshi said: “We want to see the end of Heathrow night flights because it is unacceptable that thousands of Londoners are unable to get a good night’s sleep because of planes flying over the capital. But if they must continue then landing more planes from the west of London would at least share the noise burden more equally.”
Anti-expansion campaign group HACAN backed the call, with chairman John Stewart saying: “They cause untold misery for thousands and there is no hard evidence that they are essential for London’s economy.”
Heathrow’s sustainability director, Matt Gorman, said early morning arrivals were important for business, connecting the UK to emerging economies in Asia, but it was looking at how to minimise the impact on people living under the flight path.
“We encourage airlines to fly only their quietest aircraft by charging more for noisier aircraft, offer insulation to local residents and are currently working with noise campaigners to give residents predictable respite from early morning noise,” he added.
The night flight regime, due to end in October 2014, allows on average 16 planes a day to arrive between 4.30am and 6am. There is a voluntary curfew on flights between 11.30pm and 4.30am.