On Tuesday 20th September a new study will be
launched in Brussels which questions the need for night flights (1).
The launch will mark the start of a major Europe-wide
campaign to get rid of night flights. It comes just days after the end of the UK Government’s consultation on its plans to
increase night flights at Heathrow (2).
The new study (3) questions the value of night flights to Europe’s economy. It also argues there are no strong operational
reasons for night flights to continue. It calls on European countries to implement within 5 years the World Health
Organisation’s (WHO) recommended noise levels for night flights, which they have all signed up to (4).
The campaign is being backed by protest groups around airports right across Europe. Over the next two years they will use the
study — published in the form of attractively-produced briefing sheets — to lobby their national governments, MEPs and key
members of the European Commission for an end to night flights. Their aim is to persuade the European Commission, when it
publishes it revised Noise Directive in 2007, to require member states to put into practice the WHO guidelines on night flights
John Stewart, the Chair of the Heathrow pressure group HACAN ClearSkies and the author of the study, said “Over three and
a half million people across Europe are exposed to night flights. This campaign brings together protest groups from virtually
every country in Europe. Our study shows just how weak the arguments put forward for night flights actually are. Our aim is
to persuade European governments to put people’s health before the self-serving interests of the aviation industry.”
Caroline Lucas MEP, who will be hosting the launch in the European Parliament, said, “This campaign is built on solid
foundations. It is now clear that the economic importance of night flights has been greatly over-stated. It is also clear that
there are no overwhelming operational reasons why planes need to fly at night. I will be working with my colleagues of all
political persuasions in the European Parliament to make the case for applying WHO standards to night flights.”
Notes for Editors:
(1). The launch will take place in Room ASP 8F388 of the European Parliament on Tuesday 20th September from 13.15 —
(2). The consultation ends on 16th September. Every 5/6 years the Government enters into an agreement with the airlines on
the number of flights permitted between 11.30pm and 6am at Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick. The current agreement will
run until 2006. After that the Government is proposing to increase flights numbers at Heathrow so that by 2011/12 there will
be 620 more a year between 11.30pm and 6am than there are at present.
(3). Summary enclosed
(4). The World Health Organisation guidelines recommend that no single outdoor event at night should exceed 60 decibels at
night (45 indoors) and that the average noise over an eight hour night period should not exceed 45 decibels outside (30
indoors). 59 countries across the world, including all EU countries, have signed up to the guidelines, but there is no agreed
timetable as to when they should come into force.
(5). The EU Noise Directive was published in 2002. It required member states to draw up noise maps and produce noise
action plans, but it did not specify any required noise levels. Over the next two years the European Commission will be
revising the Directive, with a revised proposals being ready for Spring 2007.
For further information contact:
John Stewart on 44 (0)207 737 6641 or 07957385650
Caroline Lucas on 32 2 284 5153
Press Release dated 13/09/05