01:13PM, Friday 18 December 2020
A consultation has been launched which could see thousands of night flights allowed to continue at Heathrow until 2024.
The airport is currently restricted to 5,800 take-off and landings between 11pm and 6am each year.
This agreement is due to run until October 2022 but the Government has now launched a consultation to extend this by a further two years.
It said an extension is needed while the aviation industry gets a better understanding of what the impact will be of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Councillor David Hilton (Con, Ascot and Sunninghill), vice-chairman of the Royal Borough’s aviation forum, said: “Somewhere down the line there is a balance and that should be on the basis of the impact on people’s health.
“My view is the fewer flights there are at night the better, the less people woken up the better and the better quality of life those people will have.
“At the moment we’re not in that magic position to be able to deliver something that satisfies the airlines, Heathrow and their communities.”
Campaign group Stop Heathrow Expansion said communities affected by night flights, such as Windsor, deserved eight hours sleep per night uninterrupted by aircraft noise and unscheduled night flights.
A Heathrow spokesperson said: ‘Night flights form an essential, although very small, part of Heathrow’s operations and are an important contributor to the economic benefits the aviation sector provides.
“Our night-time operations are already heavily restricted by the Government, and this is set to continue with the new proposals.
“The Government is currently consulting on their proposal to maintain the restrictions and we will be responding to their consultation in due course.”
The consultation over the proposed night flights extension will run until March 3.
Email night.flights@ dft.gov.uk to respond.
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