Harpenden MP calls for review of increase flight noise disturbance from Luton Airport

PUBLISHED: 09:00 26 August 2016

Peter Lilley MP

Peter Lilley MP


The increase in disturbance from aircraft as a result of flight path changes needs to be reviewed, according to Harpenden MP Peter Lilley.

He has urged Luton Airport, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the National Air Traffic Service (NATS) to look into the impact, saying “it is important to establish why residents have experienced increased disturbance in recent months”.

The politician added: “Many constituents in Sandridge and Jersey Farm feel there has been a marked change in noise levels in recent months. Moreover, they feel there was little consultation of residents in those areas prior to introducing new flight paths.

“The two settlements were not included in overflown figures in [Luton’s] consultation environment report.”

Although he has taken up the issues with the airport, the CAA and NATS, Mr Lilley was told by the organisations that they ascribed “the increased perception of noise to the general growth of traffic, not the change in route, deviations from it or low flying planes.

“However, I have called on them to undertake objective measurements of noise in these residential areas rather than just assuming planes above 4,000 feet do not cause disturbance. And they should review the flight path to see whether it can be ‘tweaked’ to reduce disturbance over built up areas to the east of the railway line.

“In the long run, the best outcome might well be a complete rerouting of planes over less populated areas west of St Albans. I shall continue to press ministers and NATS to work on the option.”

A CAA spokesperson said: “Following the implementation of the Luton airspace change, which came into effect in August 2015, the CAA will be carrying out a review of the change.”

He said the post implementation review would provide a “rigorous assessment of whether the anticipated impacts and benefits, set out in the airport’s original airspace change proposal, have been delivered.

“A range of factors will be reviewed including safety, operational and environmental, which includes the impact of noise.

“If the impacts and benefits of the airspace change are not as originally anticipated, we will seek to establish why and determine the most appropriate course of action.”

• Details of the Luton airspace change can be found here.

• See here for an update on the CAA’s review.

• Enquiries related to the Luton airspace change should go to the airport. The CAA requires all these to be collated by Luton, and submitted to the CAA to complete the review.

• General airspace enquiries/noise complaints should use the CAA online portal.

• On Wednesday, August 31, Luton Airport will hold a public surgery at Park Hall, Leyton Road, Harpenden. Staff will be available between 4-7pm, and will respond to questions and concerns relating to the noise impacts of airport operations.

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I should probably have taken the hint! Walking out into the garden recently an unprecedented flock of thirty or more crows raucously greeted me from the treetops at the bottom of my garden. Cawing and croaking these big, black birds clung clumsily to the top most branches and twigs, jostling and flapping to stay balanced in a constant flurry of feathers. There is always something ominous about crows – they are after all carrion crows, the vultures of the bird world – always watching for scraps and weakness that might mean their next meal.

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