Skip to content

Noise, safety, and how to make SE airports ‘better not bigger’

2nd June, 2011

Our focus during the past fortnight has been on UK issues. Tim attended the penultimate meeting of the SE Airports Taskforce, which is chaired by aviation minister Theresa Villiers and is expected to report in July on how the passenger experience at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted could be improved. Together with AEF board member Julia Welchman and educational consultant Mairi McLeod, he also visited BAA to discuss how the impact of aircraft noise on schools in the Heathrow area should be addressed.

Nic has also been working on noise issues, and attended a ‘Westminster debate’ (a short debate held in Westminster Palace) on night flights. The discussion was instigated by Mary Macleod, Conservative MP for Brentford and Isleworth, who is calling for night flights at Heathrow to be phased out. The Government will shortly be reviewing whether the current regulation of night flights at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted is effective, and AEF plans to respond to the consultation.

Roger, meanwhile, has been continuing to work on third party risk (the danger to people living near runways of an aircraft crashing), approaching NATS to discuss how risk was assessed in two recent planning applications – for the Thames Gateway Bridge and the London Cable Car – in which government guidelines do not seem to have been followed, and submitting a Freedom of Information request to the DfT for information on how the risk models have changed in recent years.

Our current intern, Dan, has been gathering some data on the social profile of flyers (looking at the extent to which people’s socioeconomic status correlates with how likely they are to fly) and how this has changed over time.  And Cait has been working on the next edition of our newsletter, Flying Green, which will look at the future of UK aviation policy, what’s on the cards for aviation taxation, and how one local group persuaded the government to use its powers to regulate a general aviation aerodrome.