Pyjama clad 'night flight' protest
CAMPAIGNERS from Stop Stansted Expansion braved the cold night air in their latest bid to protect their homes from the effects of an expanded airport.The group joined forces with MPs, MEPs and members of other airport communities from the South East and the Midlands in London at a protest "sleep in" on Thursday nightto launch a campaign to ban night flights at all European airports.
CAMPAIGNERS from Stop Stansted Expansion braved the cold night air in their latest bid to protect their homes from the effects of an expanded airport.
The group joined forces with MPs, MEPs and members of other airport communities from the South East and the Midlands in London at a protest "sleep in" on Thursday nightto launch a campaign to ban night flights at all European airports.
The call for the ban between the hours of 11pm and 7am takes the form of a written declaration and, according to protestors, already has considerable support within the European Parliament.
If it is signed by at least 318 MEPs then it will be debated in the European Parliament before the European elections in June.
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Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) is calling on local people to press their MEPs into showing support for the ban as well as making their own representations to the region's European politicians.
The latest protest by the SSE comes in the wake of a Government White Paper in December, announcing that a second runway is planned for Stansted by 2012.
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SSE chairman Norman Meadattended the "sleep in", which took place outside a Department for Transport conference on night flights in Victoria.
He said: "A ban on night flights is already being demanded by many people in the Stansted area because of the extreme quietness of this largely rural community in the night hours.
"If a second runway should ever come into operation then the disturbance from night flights would potentially be even more serious.
"Because of the need to fit with the timetable requirements of airports in different time zones expansion would mean a large increase in cargo flights and there would be pressure from operators for many of these to be at night."
On average, Stansted currently has 30 flights per night, compared with 16 at Heathrow, 40 at Gatwick and 60 at East Midlands Airport.
Campaigners say night noise is regarded as one of the biggest problems facing communities across Europe and has been proved to be responsible for sleep disturbance, increased heart rates and day-after affects such as depressed moods.
A spokesman for Stansted Airport said: "The airport already complies with the Department of Transport's regulations and we have voluntary measures to reduce noise but night flights are important for time-sensitive goods."