To whom it may concern,
I am very glad that this consultation is going ahead. It is a recognition that night flights are causing sleep disturbances to my constituents in Putney, Roehampton and Southfields, and that those disturbances are leading to adverse health effects in some cases. In turn, I do recognise the important role that the aviation industry plays in the UK economy, but I would suggest that our response to the climate emergency and the health and wellbeing of my constituents are of paramount importance.
Many communities, including my own, who live directly under busy Heathrow flight paths would like to see these proposals on dispensations for night flights go much further. Not only that, but they would like to see more independent oversight on the approval of the dispensations. I am disappointed that these proposals do not consider any penalties for airports who do not follow the rules. We should also not allow airports like Heathrow to mark their own homework when it comes to approving dispensations for night flights and I would like to see this change.
Making the information on dispensations more transparent would be welcome, but we must ensure that publication of this information is the norm. Communities affected by night flights should be able to scrutinise any decisions made and come to their own conclusions about their validity.
There are a few areas where the guidance around the granting of dispensations for night flights could and should be refined. The emphasis should be put on the airports to plan for things like adverse weather conditions and industrial action, as an example, rather than requiring dispensation for a change of schedule.
Many people who are affected by these schedule changes would question the need for some of these dispensations and whether it is in fact the airports trying to pack out their schedules as much as possible and having to account for it later at the expense of their wellbeing. I do however understand that some changes will be unavoidable, particularly when it comes to certain kinds of criminal activity.
More than anything, I hope this consolation results in some peace of mind for my constituents and other people who have to live with being woken up by planes roaring overhead at all hours.
All best wishes,
Fleur Anderson MP