Stansted to study impact of proposed changes to noise restrictions

13 / 01 / 2017

Stansted Airport has said it will study the impact of proposed changes to night time noise restrictions that will restrict the number of quieter aircraft – such as turboprop freighters − that can fly to the airport.

The UK government yesterday announced the launch of a consultation on changes to night time noise restrictions at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted that propose the removal of an exemption for the quietest aircraft from current rules. The new rules will start in October 2017 and run until October 2022.

The removal of exemptions will affect Stansted more than the other two airports because it has experienced a boom in the number of flights of quieter aircraft (see main image), such as turboprops, in recent years because of growth in cargo/express carriers and private planes.

The consultation document said that if the exemptions were to have been removed during the last summer season, Stansted would have failed to meet noise restriction limits.

To offset the effect of the removal of exemptions of the quietest aircraft on Stansted, the proposals do allow for an increase the north London airport’s noise quota.

Last year 1,700 flights that were exempt from noise restrictions took place at Stansted, but the proposals allow for an increase in Stansted’s noise quota of the same amount.

However, there are several other factors that could come into play if the exemptions are removed, such as future growth in express and cargo flights using turboprop aircraft and the increased use of more modern quieter aircraft.

Stansted said it would review the consultation document.

“Night flights at Stansted play a critical role in supporting economic growth and jobs both in the east of England and the UK as a whole,” a Stansted spokesperson said.

“They are vital for the movement of time sensitive cargo including pharmaceuticals and perishable goods and airlines such as Ryanair and easyJet rely on early morning flights in order to keep airfares as low as possible for passengers.

“Stansted has significantly reduced its noise footprint over the years with the introduction of the latest generation of greener, quieter, more efficient aircraft. Future environmental advancements in aviation technology will ensure that we continue to minimise aircraft noise.

“We will now closely review the Government's consultation, gather evidence and respond accordingly.”

The consultation document states: “Stansted is a hub for several large freight and express companies, which require the flexibility to fly throughout the night in order to ensure timely next day deliveries to key markets.

“Freight services make up approximately 35% of Stansted's night movements.

“Unlike Heathrow and Gatwick, Stansted also has a large number of exempt aircraft operating throughout the night that are not currently counted towards the night flight restrictions.

“The number of these movements has grown rapidly in recent years and with the introduction of new larger commercial passenger aircraft which fall into this category, there could be further significant increases under the current framework.”

Cargo carriers and express operators that flown from Stansted include UPS, FedEx, Royal Mail, CargoLogicAir, Antonov, Etihad Cargo, Qatar Cargo and Panalpina.

The consultation document can be found here, with the period for feedback running until the end of February.