the Government removes limits on early landings at Heathrow
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
"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
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
June 9, 2005