Commercial aircrafts should be banned from flying at night, campaigners tell government 


Commercial aircrafts should be banned from flying at night to give residents eight hours sleep, campaigners tell government

  • The letter was signed by 17 campaign groups and called for a night flight ban 
  • The group claims that night flights could cause several health issues for people 
  • Only emergency or humanitarian flights should be allowed at night, they said 

Commercial flights should be banned from flying at night so residents can get eight hours sleep, campaigners have told the government. 

In a letter to the aviation minister, 17 community and environmental groups warned how excess noise can damage the health of residents underneath the flight path. 

Only emergency or humanitarian flights should be allowed late at night and early in the morning, the group said.

The letter was sent as the government prepared to begin a consultation into the future of night flights.   

It was signed by the Aviation Environment Federation, the Aviation Communities Forum and local groups representing residents living close to several airports.

They include Southampton, Gatwick, Heathrow, Luton, Bristol, Stansted, East Midlands and Glasgow. 

A letter signed by 17 campaign groups has called on the government to ban all late night flights

The letter was addressed to Robert Courts, the aviation minister, and urged him to consider banning all flights between 11pm and 7am because of concerns that repeated exposure to aircraft noise at night can disrupt sleep, leading to health problems. 

It read: ‘If building aviation back better is to mean anything it must mean putting people’s health and welfare ahead of cheap flights for the small section of society who fly frequently, and airline profits.’ 

A study of European airports previously found that a small increase in noise levels at night could lead to an increased risk of high blood pressure. 

Noises at night have also been linked to a higher risk of hospital admissions for strokes and heart disease. 

The Department for Transport has the direct power to restrict night flights at three big airports, Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted.

These powers are used to cap the overall number of flights and noise levels, with the current limit restricting Heathrow to an average of 16 flights each night.

Only emergency or humanitarian flights should be allowed late at night and early in the morning, the campaign group said

Only emergency or humanitarian flights should be allowed late at night and early in the morning, the campaign group said

These measures are scheduled to remain in place until 2022, though the DfT is expected to unveil new plans soon.   

A DfT spokeswoman said: ‘We recognise the concerns around the impact of noise on communities and intend to consult on night flights restrictions at Heathrow, Gatwick, and Stansted shortly, as well as the government’s national night flight policy.’

However, any move to ban flights is likely to be battled by airlines, with the aviation industry devastated by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.  

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