Written statement to Parliament

Night flying restrictions at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted Airports

This speech was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The first of 2 night noise consultations is announced today.

On 26 March 2012 the government announced that it would extend the existing restrictions on night flights at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted Airports for a period of 2 years until October 2014. This extension will ensure a new night flying regime can take account of the aviation policy framework which the government has committed to have in place by the spring.

Today I have published the first of 2 consultations which will inform the development of the next night noise regime. This first consultation seeks views and evidence on a range of issues including the effectiveness of the current regime, the costs and benefits of future options and airlines’ fleet replacement plans. Additionally this consultation includes a review of current evidence on the costs of night flights, particularly noise, and the benefits of these flights. It sets out our thinking on how we would expect to appraise the policy options for the next night flights regime and seeks views on our approach.

We will publish the second consultation later this year and this will include specific proposals for the new regime, such as the number of permitted night flights. These proposals, which will be informed by the evidence we receive from this first stage consultation, will need to strike a fair balance between the interests of those affected by the noise disturbance and those of the airports, passengers and the UK economy.