Stevenage airspace under consultation to reduce aircraft noise

Stevenage residents are being troubled by low-flying planes departing from Luton Airport. Picture: D

Stevenage residents are being troubled by low-flying planes departing from Luton Airport. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

Stevenage campaigners are calling for a reduction in noise disturbance from Luton Airport flights passing over the town.

A public surgery was held at Bedwell Community Centre this summer to discuss what is being done to decrease disturbance.

Since then, members of campaign group SLAIN (Stop Luton Airport Increasing Noise) are hoping for airspace changes, meaning that flights departing over Stevenage would travel down a narrower corridor than they do currently.

SLAIN member Michael Austin said: "It was good to hear that there are recommendations being put forward by LLA [London Luton Airport] to raise the height planes can leave the Noise Preferential Route [NPR] corridor from 3,000 to 4,000ft, making easterly flights towards Stevenage the same as westerly flights taking off over St Albans and Harpenden.

"Both St Albans and Harpenden are well-represented by their councils and MPs and they managed to get this manoeuvre in place to help stop flights passing over their residents' homes.

"If Stevenage was better represented then the easterly take-off flight path could also have a similar restriction that only allows flights to leave their NPR corridor once they have passed the main railway line between Stevenage and Knebworth."

Michael claims that, during the hottest days of the year, aircraft taking off to the east leave the NPR route early to fly low over Stevenage south from 6am, creating disturbance over people's homes. LLA operations director Neil Thompson said: "We are working with community representatives on redesigning all of our departure routes as part of a national programme to modernise the way airspace is used. Stevenage is represented as part of this lengthy regulatory process and we expect initial designs to be developed over the next 12 months. A full public consultation will be held before changes are implemented.

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"In the meantime, we continue to work with our communities and all of our industry partners to look for other ways to mitigate and reduce noise disturbance where possible."

The airport is currently conducting noise monitoring in the town, with results expected before the end of the year.

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