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Flights or quiet nights question faces flight path residents
Would you trade an extra hour of sleep for more morning flights overhead?
That is the question people living under the flightpath will be asked as part of consultations taking place later this year.
Those woken by the 16 planes that can currently land between 4.30am and 6am will have the opportunity to call for the first arrivals to be pushed back to 5.30am.
BAA will test the impact of altering morning flight times in November, as part of the second phase of Heathrow’s operational freedom trials, and the Government is due to begin consulting later this year on night flying arrangements between 2014 and 2019.
Lord True, leader of Richmond Council, said: “Sleep loss is a serious issue for our residents living under the flight paths. They will welcome any moves to quieten more of the night, however small the gains might be, without losing sight of the need for a longer night’s sleep for all.
“I support this move to explore how people will feel about moving flights to after 5.30am.”
The council said it would closely scrutinise the second phase of Heathrow’s controversial trials, which started this week and allow it to use both its runways simultaneously when it has a backlog.
The authority encouraged residents to report any changes in noise levels on its website.
Campaigners from the Hacan Clearskies group staged a colourful stunt in Richmond Green on Sunday, July 1, to highlight the start of the nine month trial.
Ten activists dressed as judges were surrounded by people holding up the number residents can call to make a complaint.
John Stewart, chairman of Hacan Clearskies, said: “Residents are worried by this trial by noise. Although the overall number of planes using Heathrow each day will not increase, they are losing their much-valued respite period.”
Councillor Virginia Morris, strategic cabinet member for environment at Richmond Council, said: “It is important that we monitor this trial as it might affect many people in the borough.”
Councillor Stephen Knight, leader of Richmond’s Liberal Democrat group, claimed senior Liberal Democrats in the Government were blocking calls for mixed-mode, which would allow Heathrow to use both runways all day for both take-offs and landings.
He said: “Talking to Vince [Cable], it is clear the leadership of the Conservative party would like to re-open Heathrow expansion as an issue.”
To report changes in noise levels to the council, visit richmond.gov.uk/aircraft_noise or call 020 8891 7979.