Calls to reduce Luton Airport noise pollution after ‘dramatic increase’ in complaints

An Easyjet plane takes off from Luton Airport. Picture: DANNY LOO

An Easyjet plane takes off from Luton Airport. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

A consultation on flight paths from Luton Airport has met with calls to reduce noise pollution over St Albans.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is conducting a review of the RNAV route, a navigation system which was introduced in 2015 and which narrowed the flight paths for aircraft flying out of the airport.

Since its introduction, RNAV has met with opposition from campaigners who argue that narrowing the flight paths concentrated the noise over a smaller area, creating increased disturbance for residents.

St Albans council has apparently seen a “dramatic increase” in complaints about aircraft noise since the RNAV route was implemented.

Cllr Salih Gaygusuz, portfolio holder for business and the community, said: “For the most affected communities many more aircraft come closer to them, or fly directly overhead. Thus the concentration of previously widespread flights closer to some communities greatly increases cumulative noise impact for them. Some direct overflight of urban areas is reduced, but the concentration effects are serious.”

Cllr Gaygusuz stated that the noise has particularly affected residents living in Batchwood, Harpenden South, Marshalswick North, Marshalswick South, Sandridge and Wheathampstead wards.

He also asked the CAA to reveal what research is being carried out to reduce the environmental damage caused by air pollution from aircraft.

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He said: “My Council urges the CAA to strongly consider and consult on alternatives to the current RNAV route, including the potential option of reverting back to previous routes and more dispersed flight paths.” Cllr Gaygusuz also stated that he welcomes action to encourage airlines to use quieter aircraft.

A CAA spokesman said: “We are currently carrying out a post-implementation review (PIR) to evaluate whether the anticipated impacts of the Luton Airspace change are as expected.

“The PIR is not a review of the decision on the airspace change proposal. As part of the PIR we asked for feedback, via a survey, on both the impacts of the implemented airspace change and the data provided by the sponsor in support of the PIR.

“We will aim to review the evidence provided and publish the completed PIR by the end of the year.”