Ban Night Flights Now Say Hounslow Council

Consultation told life a 'living hell' for residents near Heathrow

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Hounslow Council has urged the Secretary of State for Transport, the Rt. Hon. Patrick McLoughlin MP, to introduce an immediate ban on night flights from Heathrow Airport. 

The call comes as part of the council’s response to the secretary’s consultation on night flights, which closes today (22 April 2013). Campaign group HACAN has also called for a similar ban in its submission today.  

Councillor Colin Ellar , cabinet member for environment, said: “Night flights are a nightmare for our residents and banning them would be a massive improvement to their quality of life. 

“I live directly under the flight path and the noise can make your life a living hell – even with the noise insulation provided by Heathrow – which to be frank is inadequate to say the least.” 

In its response to the consultation, the key points raised by Hounslow Council include: 

  • Any ban should operate from 11pm until 7am and should be progressively introduced, starting with an immediate complete ban on flights between 11.30pm and 4.30am
  •   Night flights bring an even greater urgency for a comprehensive and universal scheme of noise insulation and mitigation for homes, schools and other community buildings in west London.

Councillor Ellar said airlines departing later than scheduled in the night period should be fined £5,000 per flight.

He said: “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.” 

Campaign group HACAN, representing residents under the Heathrow flight paths, has also called for a ban on nights flights.  In its response to the Government consultation, HACAN argues that a ban on night flights would immeasurably improve life for countless thousands of people.

HACAN Chair John Stewart said, “A night flight ban would spark widespread rejoicing.  Night flights are hated.  And we just simply don’t believe the economy of London is going to be destroyed if the sixteen flights which come in before 6 o’clock are banned.”

The Government has said it is committed to assessing whether the economic benefits of night flights outweigh the economic costs of sleep deprivation.  It will make its view know at the start of the second round of consultation which is expected in the autumn.  That consultation will also contain definite proposals for a new night flight regime.  The current night flight agreement with the airlines ends in October 2014.

If night flights are not banned, HACAN has suggested that a higher rate of Air Passenger Duty should be imposed on them.

Stewart said, “This would force the airlines to consider whether each flight really had to land at night”.

April 22, 2013