AIRLINES whose planes leave Heathrow after 11.30pm should be fined £5,000, with the money used to insulate homes under the flight path.
That was the tough sanction demanded this week by Hounslow Council's deputy leader Colin Ellar as the council submitted its response to the Government's night flights consultation.
The council joined anti-expansion campaign group HACAN and the London Assembly's health and environment committee in calling for a complete ban on night flights as the consultation period ended on Monday (April 22).
It said no flights should be allowed to leave or arrive at the airport between 11pm and 7am, and demanded a 'comprehensive and universal noise insulation scheme'.
Mr Ellar also called for fines for late-departing aircraft, saying: "It's outrageous that any airline should be deviating from the schedule in this way and making things so much worse for residents – I maintain that a good night's sleep is a basic human right.
"They should be fined and the money paid should go towards funding more mitigation for sleep-deprived householders in Hounslow."
HACAN called for a ban on flights before 6am, with chairman John Stewart saying such a move would spark 'widespread rejoicing'.
In the absence of a ban, it said, higher taxes should be imposed on night flights to discourage airlines from operating them.
However, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) argued that the current system worked well and changing it would make 'no sense'.
Rhian Kelly, CBI's director for business environment, said: "Night flights allow the UK to compete in a 24 hour, seven day a week, global economy. When growth is so fragile, we can't risk cutting back on a key part of the aviation industry responsible for generating over a billion pounds in investment and exports."
The current night flights regime allows an average of 16 planes a night to arrive at or depart Heathrow between 11.30pm and 6am. The noisiest planes are banned from landing or taking off between 11pm and 7am.