The Government is proposing no change to the number of night flights at Heathrow. The consultation document, released today by the Department for Transport, argues that the current regime should continue for the next five years. It will then be clearer whether a third runway will be underway. Permission to build a third runway is expected to be conditional on a tougher night flight regime being introduced when it opens.
At present an average of 16 flights each night are allowed to land at Heathrow between 11.30pm and 6am. There are no scheduled departures during this period. The first flight lands at 4.30am.
John Stewart, chair of the campaign group HACAN said, “Local residents will be disappointed that their early morning wake-up call remains the first flight at 4.30am. We do, though, see the sense in postponing any changes until the question of a third runway is settled. During the forthcoming consultation on the new runway we will be arguing very strongly for no flights before 6am.”
Every few years the Department for Transport sets the night flight regime for the country’s three designated airports, Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick. The current regime comes to an end in October this year. This consultation will run until Tuesday 28 February 2017, after which responses will be reviewed by the Department for Transport and a final decision on night flights is expected to be published by May.
The consultation is proposing no change to the annual movement limit at Gatwick but a new limit will be set for Stansted to take out of the increased number of quieter planes which have been using it in recent years.
The consultation is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/night-flight-restrictions-at-gatwick-heathrow-and-stansted
A HACAN Briefing on the consultation is available at http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Night-Flight-Consultation-2017-HACAN-Briefing.pdf (pdf)