St Albans residents report noisy summer for air traffic from Luton

Luton Airport

Luton Airport - Credit: Archant

Intrusive aircraft noise has been disturbing residents in St Albans over summer, with reports of Luton Airport planes passing over homes every few minutes, including during weekends.

Among locals complaining to the Herts Advertiser about the noise was a Jersey Farm resident who said that night flights had also been disturbing her recently, including one that “sounded like a Lancaster bomber going over in the middle of the night”.

She and others said that Wizz Air seemed to have become “noisier over the summer” and a Ryanair plane flew over the city at 3,000ft at about 9pm one night.

A Verulam estate resident asked: “Was I the only person in St Albans awoken at 3am on Friday, August 15 by a very noisy aircraft? This is not an isolated incident. Luton Airport seems to have perfected the recipe for causing maximum disturbance to city residents with their night flights.

“Night flights are freight flights and the great thing about freight planes is they are old and noisy.”

He added: “Rather than keeping them to the proper routes between St Albans and Harpenden, where they disturb few, Luton flies them smack over the city centre. This way you have a fighting chance of awakening the best part of the 150,000 population.

“For an airport with no restriction on night flights, why should they care? We also seem to get more ‘heavies’ in the daytime from Heathrow.”

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The man advised residents to lodge complaints about plane noise.

Both residents requested anonymity.

A Luton representative admitted there have recently been more planes flying over St Albans because “winds have favoured predominantly westerly operations over the busy summer months – 86 per cent of the time during August, which is unusually high”.

Asked about complaints in regards to Wizz Air, the representative explained that aircraft leaving Luton to the west, along the Clacton/Dover/Detling flight route, depart from runway 26, which is used when the wind is from a westerly direction. That route is used by those airlines operating to destinations in eastern and northern Europe and “for this reason the vast majority of departures on this heading are Wizz Air flights”.

The airport believes residents will notice less plane noise should suggested changes to the width of a flight path over the district be approved, to encourage pilots to keep to the centreline.

An update on Luton’s airspace change proposal will be in next week’s Herts Advertiser.