Uttlesford is being "dumped with night flights" the council has heard, while agreeing existing controls should continue.

The government is consulting over possible changes to night-time aircraft limits on night flights set in 2021, which themselves were rolled over from the previous regime – until a government-commissioned study into ‘aviation night noise effects’ on sleep is published in 2025.

The district council is set to recommend continuing the existing quota - with night flights to gradually reduce over time - but has also added it would like a reduction in night flights,  reflected in comments from campaign group Stansted Airport Watch.

Stansted is presently allowed 13,700 night flights a year, more than twice as many as currently allowed at Heathrow which has a limit of 5,800 per year.

Chairman of Uttlesford Council’s Stansted Airport Advisory Panel Cllr John Evans said the airport has a greater share of cargo aircraft which tend to generate the most intrusive noise because they tend to have older engines.

This is because, unlike Heathrow and Gatwick, Stansted does not generally accept cargo that goes in the “belly” of a normal passenger plane.

He added: “The other two airports do have volumes of cargo being carried in an ordinary passenger plane.

"So the freight at Stansted are really cargo aircraft dedicated to carry freight. It is those aircraft which are offensively noisy.

"The whine of a 777 is very intrusive. You can tell when one is coming."

In 2021 the council agreed to a response to the Government adding that in relation to Stansted Airport, there should continue to be a movement limit which should be reduced over time to accommodate only night flights that are deemed essential.

Committee member Cllr Martin Foley added: “Remember this committee took the proposals through cabinet that we should do as other airports have done with an ambition to see a reduction and eventually an end to night flights.

"We are being dumped with night flights – partly because we have less population that complains about it - but night bans are not impossible."

The consultation’s option 1 removes restrictions on the number of Stansted night flights and the permitted aggregate night noise level in October 2026.

Option 2 removes controls on the number of Stansted night flights in October 2025, while maintaining the controls on the permitted aggregate night noise level.

Option 3 keeps the existing night control regime in place.


Stansted parish councillors also acknowledged the airport brings employment – with almost 13,000 jobs – and business to Stansted.

A statement said: "It is the parish council’s position restrictions should remain in place, in the absence of convincing evidence night flights are safer than current evidence suggests.

"We don’t believe Stansted Airport is the bogeyman. It brings jobs and business to our community and is a generous backer of local organisations.

"Still, more night flights have the potential to worsen the health of residents. That’s why we back a continuing of the existing night flight regime."