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New night flight rules at Stansted Airport are a missed opportunity, says campaign group

PUBLISHED: 23:26 17 July 2017 | UPDATED: 11:31 18 July 2017

Stansted Airport.

Stansted Airport.

Archant

New night flight rules at Stansted Airport do not go far enough to tackle the impact on sleep disturbance for residents, according to a campaign group.

Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has described the night flight restrictions, which are set to be introduced in October, as a missed opportunity to bring relief to those who suffer from broken sleep due to overflying aircraft.

The announcement of the new night flights regime at Stansted, Heathrow and Gatwick – which will cover the next five years – followed a government consultation earlier this year.

Martin Peachey, SSE’s noise adviser, said the new rules will not lessen the impacts of aircraft noise at night for residents.

He said: “Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said that he is ‘fully aware that noise is a major concern for those living near Stansted Airport and that night noise is widely regarded as the most disturbing impact of aviation’, but the new rules won’t actually lessen the impacts that people will experience, or improve the quality of their sleep between 11.30pm and 6am.”

The group says the secretary of state has chosen to prioritise the economic benefits of night flights with his actions, but did welcome one aspect of the new rules.

Some 1,700 previously “exempt” aircraft will now be recognised and added into the overall night time quota.

Mr Grayling said: “The new rules we are publishing will encourage the use of quieter aircraft by reducing the amount of noise these airports are legally allowed to make, and will give local residents a five-year guarantee about the level of noise they will be exposed to.

“This decision strikes a balance between managing the impacts on local communities by locking in benefits offered by technological developments, with the economic benefits of night flights.”

A spokesman for Stansted said: “Stansted plays a critical role in supporting economic growth and jobs and we welcome the reassurance the statement provides for communities around our airport.

“Over several years Stansted has worked with our airline partners to significantly reduce the effects of noise through the introduction of the latest generation of greener, quieter, more efficient aircraft.

“Night flights remain vital in the movement of time sensitive cargo, while passenger airline schedules rely on early and late flights to keep fares as low as possible.”

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