Wandsworth Council voices increased concerns

as the Government removes limits on early landings at Heathrow

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Local residents could face an increase in night flights after the Government announced plans to remove the limits on the numbers of aircraft landing at Heathrow in the early morning.

The measure, which will be fiercely resisted by west London residents, is a key feature of today's Civil Aviation Bill.

Transport secretary Alistair Darling wants to move to an overall 'noise quota'. This would allow more planes to fly.

Council leader Edward Lister said

"The Government is paving the way for a huge increase in early morning arrivals at Heathrow. One 747 for example will be roughly equivalent to two A380s.

"The current movement limits were only won after concerted legal action by local authorities. Noise quotas are too easy to fudge and bear too little relation to the distress caused by people under the flightpath.

"Mr Darling is the latest in a long line of transport ministers to put the interests of the aviation industry ahead of environmental and community concerns."

The Government is expected to publish tomorrow its long-delayed proposals for a new round of night flight controls at Heathrow for the winter season.

The hold-up had followed the Government's admission in court last December that it could take into account the real noise levels caused by flights landing at Heathrow before 6am when considering restrictions.

The climbdown was forced by Wandsworth Council's revelation that the true noise level of 747-400s with Rolls Royce engines was 74 per cent higher than the prescribed limit.

The legal action had being brought jointly by Wandsworth and Richmond councils over concerns that the Government's plans for night flights could see a threefold increase in the number of flights permitted to land at the airport.


June 9, 2005