Campaigners are fighting back against plans to increase the number of night flights at Stansted Airport.

Manchester Airports Group (MAG), which runs the airport, is pressing the Government to remove the limit on night flights permitted at London Stansted - which is currently limited to 13,700 per year.

Campaign group Stansted Airport Watch (SAW) is arguing that this directly contradicts a Section 106 planning agreement with Uttlesford District Council.

Saffron Walden Reporter: Stansted Airport Watch is campaigning against increases in night flightsStansted Airport Watch is campaigning against increases in night flights (Image: SAW)

SAW chairman Brian Ross said: "MAG is putting profit before principle and knowingly breaking this agreement."

The group argues that night flights are profitable for the airport, as a 50 per cent surcharge applies to all landing and departure fees between 11pm and 6am.

SAW noise adviser Martin Peachey said: “This is very disappointing behaviour by MAG. 

"Aircraft are intrinsically noisy machines and particularly so compared with the low ambient noise levels at night in the countryside surrounding the airport. 

"MAG has shown that it is prepared to breach its agreements with our local council in order to increase the number of night flights at Stansted.

"This would adversely impact the health of residents, especially vulnerable groups."

Mr Peachey claimed that night flights are the single biggest cause of noise complaints from local residents - which was disputed by the airport, who said 80 per cent of complaints received are from daytime operations.

SAW also claimed that the most disruptive noise is made by the aircraft before it takes off - which is not counted within the airport's metric for measuring noise levels.

A London Stansted spokesperson said: "We recognise that aircraft noise, especially at night, is an important issue for our local community.

"That is why we are committed to delivering the measures that will be most effective in minimising the impacts of noise on those living near to us.

"We also believe it is really important people have the correct information available to fully understand what is often a complex issue.

"London Stansted's recent planning approval to grow operations to 43 million passengers per annum included a legally binding condition to limit the impact of aircraft noise at night.

"This condition is more restrictive than the national controls on night noise.

"Far from seeking to increase night noise, our most recent Noise Action Plan commits us to introduce a new noise quota limit which 'freezes' noise at summer 2022 levels.

"Any future growth will then be achieved without increasing aircraft noise. Limiting noise quota is the best way to reduce noise at night, by flying quieter aircraft. 


"We believe this is a powerful incentive for airlines to continue investing in modern and quiet aircraft, and many have already committed to do so.

"The current Government regime does not incentivise the operation of quieter aircraft in any way.

"We take aircraft noise very seriously and have introduced extra measures in addition to the night flight limit, including a new sound insulation grant.

"This ensures those living near the airport who remain affected by aircraft noise have access to insultation grants of up to £10,000."