Second Lords victory prompts fresh calls for night flight ban

Council joins chorus of approval for peer's successful challenge

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Hounslow Council has renewed its calls for a total ban on night flights after the Government’s aviation policy suffered a second defeat in House of Lords.

Last month, the Government climbed down over its plans for an immediate increase in night flights, under pressure from local authorities, aviation campaigners and backbench MPs. But it opened the door for significant increases in the future, by proposing legislation to scrap the current cap on night flights in 2012.

The plan to replace the existing numerical cap with a noise quota scheme that will allow more ‘quieter’ planes to fly at night, was defeated in the Lords on Wednesday evening by 185 votes to 128. Opponents of the scheme, which Peers previously rejected in March, have argued for the cap on night flights to be retained because all planes cause some level of disturbance.

Now the Council’s newly elected administration has made a fresh call for a total ban on night flights because of their environmental impact. The effect of noise pollution on communities living under flights has been well documented, but there is also growing concern that night flights make a major contribution to climate change. In the past month, new evidence has come to light suggesting that the effect on global warming of one night flight is the same as 12 planes flying in the day.

Welcoming the Lords victory, Cllr Barbara Reid, Lead Member for Aviation Issues at Hounslow Council, said “This is a real victory for common sense, as the removal of the movement limit would have opened the door to even greater numbers of night flights. We hope that the Government will now take notice of the many residents whose lives are being blighted by aircraft noise at night, instead of bowing to the pressures of the aviation industry.

“As we now know that night flights are making a far greater contribution to climate change than those in the daytime, we believe the time has come for the Government to revisit its aviation policy and introduce a timetable for phasing out night flights for good.”

The Civil Aviation Bill will return to the Commons where ministers will decide whether or not to ask MPs to overturn the Lords votes.


June 29, 2006