No Change on Government Policy on Heathrow

But we need to make Heathrow "operate better"

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HACAN, which represents residents under the Heathrow flight paths, has welcomed the statement from the Prime Minister in the House of Commons on Wednesday that the Government will stick by its policy not to expand Heathrow.

David Cameron, in answer to a question from Richmond MP Zac Goldsmith, said, “The position of the Coalition on Heathrow has not changed.”

But he warned "we must not be blind" to expanding airport capacity overall, and making Heathrow operate better when welcoming people to the UK.

HACAN Chair John Stewart: “David Cameron was very clear.  This Government is not for u-turning on Heathrow.”

The Prime Minister was speaking just weeks before the Government is expected to publish it draft aviation policy for public consultation.

The issue was first raised in a report published by HACAN last year. The report from the Dutch consultants CE Delft suggested the economic disadvantages of night flights at Heathrow outweighed their benefits.  The report found that a night flight ban before 6am could benefit the national economy by as much as £86 million over a year because the economic costs of sleep deprivation, such as stress, ill-health and educed productivity at work – outweighed the economic benefits of these flights.

HACAN Chair John Stewart said: “We are delighted that the Government will factor in the economic costs of sleep deprivation when looking at its future plans for night flights.  We have, frankly, never believed the argument made by the airline industry that if 16 night flights were moved to daytime then the economy of London and the UK would collapse.”

The Government is due to start consulting on a new night flight regime at Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick towards the end of this year.  The current agreement with the airlines runs out in October 2014.  At present 16 flights are permitted between 11.30pm and 6am.  There is no limit of flight numbers between 6am and 7am.

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June 14, 2012