Saturday, April 11, 2009

Will Government ban airport night flights?

Hundreds of people fed up with noisy night flights are waiting to see if the Government will impose restrictions at East Midlands Airport.

The petitioners want restrictions already in place on night flights at Stansted, Gatwick, and Heathrow airports – which ban planes landing or taking off at night – to be imposed at the region's airport too.

The Demand group, led by Steve Charlish, of Kings Norton, near Market Harborough, launched an online petition on the 10 Downing Street website which has been signed by more than 600 people.

It has got to be considered by the Department of Transport.

Mr Charlish said: "I think it shows there are a lot of people fed up the disturbance of ever-increasing night flights at East Midlands Airport.

"We have to wait and see what the Government says in its response. It may try to ignore us all together, but we will not let this drop.

"It is vital the airport is told enough is enough and lets us get some peace and quiet at night."

Leicestershire County Council is backing the call to restrict night noise from aircraft.

County councillor Kevin Feltham, who has signed the petition, said: "Despite the importance of the campaign to the people of Leicestershire, the Government has not shown very much interest in supporting us so far. Whatever they say, we will continue the fight.

"It seems strange to designate a number of the country's main airports, but do nothing about the situation here."

In 2008, there were 21,500 flights over East Midlands Airport between 11pm and 7am – an average of 58 each night.

Campaigners argue that the night flights disturb the sleep and damage the health of people living under the flight paths.

An airport spokeswoman said: "We have noted the number of people who have signed the petition.

"We will respond fully to the petition when we know what the Government has to say about it," said the spokesman.

The Department of Transport will put together a response and decide whether any further action is needed.

A spokesman for the Prime Minister's office said: "Now the petition has expired, it has been forwarded to the Department of Transport for consideration.

"How long that takes will depend on the complexity of the issue, but it will be dealt with at the earliest possible opportunity."