Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick night flights to continue

Aeroplane There are no scheduled take-offs or landings at Heathrow between 23:30 GMT and 04:30 GMT

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The government plans to continue controversial night flights at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted for at least another four years.

Aviation minister Robert Goodwill said it would "not be sensible" to change flights until a decision is reached on new runway capacity around London.

The current night flights regime is now set to continue until October 2017.

But a Heathrow noise campaign group chairman said: "Local people hate night flights with a vengeance."

Under the current regime at Heathrow, there are no scheduled take-offs or landings between 23:30 GMT and 04:30 GMT.

Between 04:30 and 06:00, 16 flights are allowed to land, while between 06:00 and 07:00, a total of 65 flights are allowed to use the airport.

At both Gatwick and Stansted airports night flying is classified as taking place between 23:30 and 06:00.

'Quieter aircraft'

The current night flight regime at Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick, ends in October 2014.

Start Quote

We will fight for an end to night flights in 2017”

End Quote John Stewart Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise

Normally a new regime would be put in place to cover the next five or six years.

But following the publication of its report Night Flying Restrictions at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted Stage 2 Consultation, the government has proposed to effectively roll-over the existing regime until 2017.

There will also to be no change to the noise quotas set for each of the three airports, the government proposed.

But ministers have agreed to extend the ban on the noisiest types of aircraft.

Flights by such aircraft at Heathrow will now be banned between 23:00 and 07:00, extended from the current banned period of 23:30 until 07:00.

A Department for Transport statement said "most responses from the public argued for a ban on night flights" but added that at Heathrow between now and 2017 "we fully expect the trend in quieter aircraft to continue".

John Stewart, chair of Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise (HACAN), the campaign group fighting noise on behalf of residents under the Heathrow flight paths, said: "There will be huge disappointment that their sleep will continue to disturbed.

"We will fight for an end to night flights in 2017."

The government's proposals are open for consultation and a final decision will be made next spring.

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