In July 2014, the government announced the current regime for night flight restrictions at the designated airports; Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted. These restrictions are due to expire in October (2017) this year.
Today this government has launched a consultation on our proposals for the next night flight regime at these airports. We are proposing to set these restrictions for a period of 5 years to 2022, so this will not therefore cover the period in which a proposed new runway at Heathrow would be operational. Any ban on night flights at an expanded Heathrow would be consulted on separately.
We will continue to balance the economic benefits night flights offer with the cost they have on communities. We therefore want the next night flights regime to maintain the status quo in terms of the number of flights, but also give the industry incentives to continue the improvements in noise performance that are already taking place. The government therefore proposes an environmental objective to encourage the use of quieter aircraft to limit or reduce the number of people significantly affected by aircraft noise at night, while maintaining the existing benefits of night flights.
Our consultation includes proposals on how we intend to deliver this objective, including limits on the number of flights and new noise quotas for each airport and adjustments to the structure of the regime to ensure it keeps up with changes in aircraft technology. This consultation is seeking views and evidence relating to these proposals and is accompanied by an impact assessment exploring the costs and benefits of our proposals.
We will publish a final decision on night flights later this year after we have carefully reviewed the
responses to this consultation.