I have had some complaints about new patterns of aircraft noise and different flight times in the constituency. The UK government is currently consulting on a new “Future Airspace Strategy” to fulfil its requirements under the large European skies project. This project requires member states, divided into airspace areas, to respond with revised flight plans to cut delays, encourage more direct routes and make other improvements.
I have taken all this up with the Heathrow authorities at party conference. I explained that my constituents do not want earlier flights in the morning or later flights at night. They would welcome changes which reduced the numbers of planes held in low flying stacks, and would welcome any change to the approach and take off paths which cut noise at ground level.
Heathrow itself will not rule out adverse changes to aircraft movements as a result of the new rules and consultation. They point out that these decisions will be taken following the consultation by the UK government, which in turn will have to satisfy the EU government that its measures are appropriate. The UK’s airspace is grouped with Ireland’s, so the Irish government too will be involved.
I have made strong representations, and may do so again as the consultation and trials progress. I recommend that constituents also lobby the Department of Transport directly with their response to the trials. A westerly departure trial and an easterly departure trial are currently underway and last until the new year. (Jan 26th)