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Campaigners raise night flights and ‘noise nightmare’ concerns over Stansted expansion plans

PUBLISHED: 15:01 17 April 2018 | UPDATED: 15:02 17 April 2018

The main terminal at Stansted Airport.
Picture: Stansted Airport

The main terminal at Stansted Airport. Picture: Stansted Airport

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The owners of Stansted Airport have stressed that they are not seeking any change to current night flight limits at the site, after campaigners claimed they were trying to overturn the current legal conditions.

Inside the control tower at Stansted Airport. Picture: WILL LODGEInside the control tower at Stansted Airport. Picture: WILL LODGE

Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) claims the airport wants to change conditions which have prevented it from lobbying government for more night flights.

But the group said the plans were “buried” within its planning application to expand its annual throughput of passengers to up to 43m.

It claimed it was “a clandestine attempt to betray the community”, as it raised concerns about sleep disturbance and adverse health impacts caused by night flights.

“For years SSE has been calling for tougher controls to bear down on the impacts night flights have on sleep disturbance and the quality of life and wellbeing of people across the region,” said SSE noise adviser Martin Peachey.

The view of Stansted Airport from the control tower. Picture: WILL LODGEThe view of Stansted Airport from the control tower. Picture: WILL LODGE

“Stansted is already allowed more than twice as many night flights as Heathrow, and night flights are set to be completely banned at Heathrow within the next 10 years as a condition of expansion.”

But an airport spokesman said: “We recognise that night flights are a sensitive issue for local residents and our application does not seek any change to the current night flight limits at Stansted.

“These flights are regulated separately by central government with the current controls applying until 2022.

“Night flights are a small but important part of our operation with both passenger airlines and cargo operators attaching a high value to the ability to operate at night.

“Stansted has grown in a measured and environmentally sustainable way and the introduction of the latest generation of quieter, more efficient aircraft will ensure that we continue to minimise aircraft noise.”

Campaigners are also concerned that the long haul and freight aircraft which airport owners Manchester Airports Group (MAG) is hoping to attract to Stansted are “typically larger and noisier than most aircraft types currently based there”. and that they would also exacerbate problems with noise disturbance suffered. “If MAG succeeded in having the present restrictions on night flights relaxed, the floodgates could rapidly open to a noise nightmare,” they claimed.

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