Noise campaigners discover plans to more than double Heathrow airport night flights
Airplane noise campaigners have discovered plans to more than double the number of night flights into Heathrow hidden in a technical appendix.
Anti-Heathrow expansion group 2M uncovered the plans to increase the nightly quota from 16 to 35 flights in the Sir Howard Davies interim report.
Councillor Ravi Govindia has pledged to fight the Airport Commission's proposals, which were set out under the 'early morning smoothing' section.
Smoothing is one of Davies' short term recommendations and will be trialled from 2015.
It is intended to minimise delays and allows the airport to manage with one runway for arrivals between 6am to 8am, instead of two.
People living under the flightpath would enjoy a respite, with no planes overhead every other week.
Coun Govindia, 2M Group spokesman, said: "We shouldn’t have to dig deep into a technical document to find out what is in store for us.
"This council has fought for years for a night flights ban. We’ve challenged the current scheme in the courts.
"One arrival before 6am is one too many. Our community is entitled to a decent night’s sleep."
The first phase of the Davies report also believes the south east needs two new runways by 2050, giving two Heathrow expansion schemes as options.
Coun Govindia said: "Today there 725,000 homes in the area around Heathrow where noise exceeds the standard EU measure for annoyance.
"This compares to 11,900 around Gatwick and 9,000 around Stansted.
"But so far Davies is not adopting the EU standard for noise so he can claim fewer people are affected. This is keeping Heathrow in the running for new runways."
An Airports Commission spokeswoman said: "To protect the respite for local communities in the early morning period we have recommended to the Government a trial of early morning schedule smoothing.
"A trial provides the opportunity for communities around Heathrow Airport to both experience and comment on the impacts."
More information is online at wandsworth.gov.uk/heathrow
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