There is no doubt that Heathrow airport is an economic asset to our local area and provides valuable job opportunities to our community. It is important though, given the dense population around Heathrow airport, that residents and communities receive noise mitigation schemes that compare to the very best across the UK and the rest of the world.
I recently challenged the Government to ban night flights at Heathrow airport on the grounds of health and quality of life factors for local residents. The impact of night flights on the lives of those living under the flightpaths of Heathrow airport is something we must take seriously. Stronger enforcement of current quotas is required, together with higher fines for consistent offenders. As we prepare to set new night flight agreements for 2012/2017, we must also give full consideration to reducing or eliminating night flights, especially between the critical 11.30pm and 6am period.
I also urge the Government to work with BAA and the airlines to ensure effective noise mitigation, such as insulation and double glazing, for those who are worst affected by the noise of aircraft at Heathrow. I hope that the government’s current consultation on the future UK aviation strategy marks a positive step forward in relations between the government and the aviation industry. I want us to ensure that Heathrow airport continues to thrive and, at the same time, takes into account the quality of life of those who live around the airport.