Night flights

PUBLISHED: 11:10 22 January 2009 | UPDATED: 13:51 06 May 2010

SIR, — Unlike many — more civilised — Continental airports in e.g. Switzerland or Germany, Luton operates 24/7 and it s the night flights (which may be cheaper and so encourage people to use them) which are particularly annoying to those unlucky enough

SIR, - Unlike many - more "civilised" - Continental airports in e.g. Switzerland or Germany, Luton operates 24/7 and it's the night flights (which may be cheaper and so encourage people to use them) which are particularly annoying to those unlucky enough to live under the flight paths.

This night-noise problem has been getting steadily worse over recent years, the area and number of people badly affected both increasing, with almost twice the number of night flights since 2000. This has resulted in an increasing number of affected residents, both to the east and the west of the runway, contacting the airport to complain - by phone (01582 395382) or email (noise@ltn.aero).

This problem could be controlled, of course, by the airport management restricting the number of flights but they claim "commercial need" (or greed?) and point out very few planes break the noise rules - but they are rather arbitrary and only measure four miles downtrack from the runway (the international convention). No hope to those regularly woken up at night.

The night-noise problem is usually looked at every two years or so by the Airport Committee (local councillors, residents groups and other interested parties) in discussion with the airport's management and would have started by now. But they've decided, as unfortunately is their right, they want to delay such discussions - on what Luton and District Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise (LADACAN) thinks is a flimsy excuse - for a year during which, no doubt, the problem will get worse.

This unco-operative stance so angered the usually benign - some say toothless - Airport Committee members that they agreed on Monday, January 12, to have an unprecedented special meeting of its noise and track sub-committee (which looks at technical issues to report back to the committee) on Tuesday, January 27, to consider the situation.

LADACAN informed the Government a year ago of the even-then steadily-worsening situation and was told, not unreasonably, that Luton's night noise was a local problem which should therefore be resolved at the local level. Little chance of that if the airport management refuses to co-operate by not even attending the special meeting because they don't intend significant action for a further year.

LADACAN hopes, despite this, that the meeting will come up with ideas to rein in the continuing increase in night noise with a view to bringing the number of night flights and the noise they cause back down to at least the level existing at the time of the Government Aviation Policy Statement in 2003.

JOHN DAVIS,

Luton and District Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise.

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