St Albans resident calls upon aviation industry to ‘wake up’ to aircraft noise

An easyjet plane coming in to land at Luton

An easyjet plane coming in to land at Luton - Credit: Archant

Increasing aircraft noise continues to plague residents in St Albans, with one local calling upon the aviation industry to ‘wake up’ to the detrimental impact.

A Ryanair plane takes off at Luton Airport

A Ryanair plane takes off at Luton Airport - Credit: Archant

After the Herts Advertiser broke the news that legal action had been launched to help fight noise from Luton Airport, Kathryn Hurle wrote to the paper, saying that she regularly has over 100 planes flying over her Jersey Farm home.

She said that despite supporting various local groups to stop Luton Airport’s expansion of flights to 18 million passengers a year, some of whom “claim to have improved the situation, we in Jersey Farm and Sandridge now suffer even more.

“Since last summer there are days when I can account for over 100 Luton departing flights going over the area I live in, mostly over my house.

“You only have watch the flights on to see what we are expected to tolerate on a daily basis. The Luton flights are also starting earlier and sometimes depart a lot later than the permitted hours, including night time cargo and other flights.”

Kathryn pointed out that “we also have Heathrow flights coming up and over at the same time, depending on which way the wind blows.

“It’s about time the supposed responsible people for the aviation world woke up to the detrimental effect of noise pollution.”

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In relation to a legal challenge initiated to fight flight path changes, a Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) spokesman confirmed that in August 2015 it approved an airspace change proposal in respect of departures at Luton Airport, after an assessment environmental benefits and its ‘operational need’.

The spokesman said that 12 months after the change was implemented – in August this year – “we will start a post implementation review to assess whether the anticipated impacts and benefits have been delivered, and if not to ascertain why and to determine the most appropriate course of action.”

In March this year, the CAA launched a major consultation on improvements to the UK airspace change process.

The spokesman said that local communities affected by aircraft noise, and the aviation community, were “encouraged to respond to this consultation”.

However, this is too little action for the St Albans man who has engaged Harrison Grant solicitors to help fight Luton Airport noise.

Peter Hutchison said that his lawyers had received a response from the CAA about his legal challenge but, “we are not satisfied, and are considering our position, and potentially talking to counsel”.

Questions about the noise pollution from the expanding Luton Airport continue to be raised too by long-running campaign group London Luton Airport Town and Villages Communities Committee (LLATVCC).

In a recent newsletter, it said that some management at Luton had voiced concern at a meeting “over the rate of growth of the night noise contour area, which is one of the planning constraints now due to become effective from July 1”, six months after the airport’s expansion began.

LLATVCC added: “We were told that the operators of some night cargo movements have already been asked to shift their operations to the day-time period … [but] there are still movements of Luton’s noisiest aircraft, the A300 and B757-200 freighters, in the small hours.”

Julian Griffiths, a spokesman for another local campaign group, Save Our Skies, said that during a recent meeting with Luton, he was told that the amount that the city was overflown had been reduced, “but a narrower corridor means some residents see more planes.

“Not all aircraft are able to follow the route, including Boeing operated by Ryanair, for example. Luton are working with Boeing to resolve this but older aircraft are simply not equipped. There are still aircraft which are just off-course, and the airport has fined some of these.

“None of this deals with the environmental impact on air quality, congestion on our roads and trains, which the airport continues to fail to address – they do not seem to feel these are their problems. They are a business, and will do their level best to continue to grow – ergo, so will the issues.”