THE GOVERNMENT should ban all night-time flights landing or taking off from UK airports, according to Green MEPs Jean Lambert (London) and Keith Taylor (South East England), speaking on International Noise Awareness Day.
Writing in response to an official consultation on relaxing the current restrictions on night flights at Haethrow, Gatwick and Stansted Airports, the MEPs argue that more night flights would worsen air pollution, contribute to climate change, deprive nearby residents of sleep – and could cost the UK billions in increased health costs, fines and lost work days.
Ms Lambert, London’s Green MEP, said:
“I welcome the consultation, but the Government needs to take into account the full economic, community and environmental impacts of night flights.
“If the additional burden on the NHS, employers and the climate are factored in, it’s pretty clear that the economic costs of night flights far outweigh any potential benefits, and that this should provide a basis for ending them altogether, as well as for reducing the number of early movement flights.”
Mr Taylor, South-East England’s Green MEP, said:
“Any extra night flights will worsen air quality, disturb the sleep of those living near airports (a human right, according to the European Court of Human Rights ruling), and increase greenhouse gas emissions.
“Indeed if we are to meet our legal obligations on improving air quality and reducing our climate change impact, as well as to protect the right to a decent night’s sleep for those living in the shadow of airports, we just can’t see any relaxation of the rules: rather we need a complete ban now.”
The MEPs made their comments, which can be read in full here, in a response to a Department for Transport consultation on a new regime for night flights from Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted Airports.
Ms Lambert will be speaking alongside London Mayor Boris Johnson, MPs and council leaders at a cross-party rally calling for an end to expansion of Heathrow Airport this Saturday from 9.30am, at Barn Elms Playing Fields in Barnes.