Calls To Halt Flight Path Trials

22 February 2016, 08:16 | Updated: 22 February 2016, 08:17

Campaigners have called on David Cameron to launch a review and moratorium on controversial new flight path trials amid reports of aircraft noise blighting communities.

More than 20 groups from across Britain have signed an open letter to the Prime Minister outlining their concerns about the noise impact of airspace changes.

Campaigners told Mr Cameron that some trials of possible new flight paths have taken place without local communities being informed.

In some cases, locals have found themselves suddenly living under a busy flight path and exposed to noisy aircraft at a rate of up to one per minute, it is claimed.

The letter, co-ordinated by the national NGO Aviation Environment Federation, describes the current approach for making airspace changes as "not fit for purpose''.

And it calls on Mr Cameron to enforce an immediate moratorium on flight path trials and airspace decisions until a new policy is implemented.

Tim Johnson, director of Aviation Environment Federation, said: "We need a clearer policy direction from Government with effective community consultation to avoid any more disastrous flight path trials.

"David Cameron needs to know that people up and down the UK are calling for a review immediately, and there is no justification for this to be held up by the Government's deliberations on a new runway.''

Helena Paul, of Stop Edinburgh Airspace Trial, said last year was a "terrible'' summer for thousands of people who found themselves suddenly living under a busy flight path.

She said airspace trials led to "constant and unwelcome noise disruption'' with readings of more than 80 decibels commonplace in previously quiet rural areas.

A Department for Transport spokesman said: "The Government already expects appropriate consultation to take place with communities before noise sensitive flight path trials take place, with a formal consultation necessary before any permanent changes are made.

"The Government understands the concerns that communities living near to flight paths have regarding aircraft noise.

"This is why we are working closely with industry and local community representatives on how best to mitigate the impact and are looking at whether these processes can be improved.

"This will include a possible role for an Independent Aviation Noise Authority as recommended by the Airports Commission.''