Stevenage pensioner is plane prisoner

A PENSIONER feels she may be forced to leave her home of 30 years because aircraft overhead is flying lower and more frequently and is making her life a misery.

Valerie Tuck, of Grace Way in Stevenage, lives on the flight path for London Luton Airport.

She said: “It’s been worse in the last four or five months – that’s when the increase in planes has been more noticeable.

“Before that we could live with it because they flew higher and were less frequent.

“They now fly so low that the engines hurt my ears.”

Mrs Tuck, 72, reckons at peak times a plane flies overhead every one to two minutes.

“As they come over our house they throw their engines into reverse,” she explained. “All you can hear are engines.

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“They fly over all night long, and I can’t sleep anymore.”

Mrs Tuck said she has to keep all her windows closed, even on a hot summer’s night, because the noise of the aircraft is unbearable.

“I love my windows open in the summer,” she said, “so I’m like a prisoner in my own home.

“I’m thinking of moving because it’s driving me mad.”

A spokesman for London Luton Airport has confirmed that there has been an increase in air traffic over Stevenage.

She said the busy summer season means there are additional passenger flights, many scheduled in the late evening, early hours of the morning, and at weekends.

She also said the direction of the wind has led to more air traffic over Stevenage in recent weeks, as aircraft must take off and land into the wind.

“London Luton Airport holds a 24-hour licence to operate,” the spokesman added.

“There are no plans to stop night flights, however we are conscious of the impact night flights can have on the local community and have made efforts to mitigate this impact by encouraging airline operators to use quieter aircraft through a stringent penalty system, which fines those aircraft that exceed stipulated noise limits.”

* Are you badly affected by aircraft flying overhead in Comet country? Call The Comet newsdesk on 01438 866200 or email