Sir Alan Haselhurst MP grills Stansted Airport over noise increase

A FUEL-SAVING change in flight practice for planes taking-off from Stansted Airport has led to increased noise levels over Hatfield Heath and Hatfield Broad Oak. In a bid to save money and cut carbon emissions, airlines have instructed their pilots to lif

A FUEL-SAVING change in flight practice for planes taking-off from Stansted Airport has led to increased noise levels over Hatfield Heath and Hatfield Broad Oak.

In a bid to save money and cut carbon emissions, airlines have instructed their pilots to lift their plane's undercarriage earlier, before accelerating to their cruising altitude.

Managing Director of BAA Stansted, Stewart Wingate, admitted in a letter to MP Sir Alan Haselhurst that the change in practice had resulted in a "redistribution of noise away from those living slightly further away from the airport, to those living closet to the airport."

He added that Hatfield Heath appears to be receiving the brunt of the increase in noise levels.

After taking up the issue on behalf of Hatfield Heath residents, Sir Alan has accused the airlines of "playing fast and loose with the noise preferential routes (NPRs) which had been agreed after much painful argument".

He said: "I find it quite extraordinary that instructions to pilots can be unilaterally altered in a way which at the very least modified the purpose of the NPRs."

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The change in departure procedures has meant that aircraft have been at a lower height - between 200ft and 300ft - over Hatfield Heath.

After pressure from Sir Alan, Mr Wingate said the airport would fund independent noise monitoring to be conducted in the area and discussions were underway with local councillors to agree the best site for the equipment.

"Please rest assured that my colleagues in out environmental team are giving this issue the highest priority," continued Mr Wingate in his letter to Sir Alan.

"But there can be no overnight solution to this until we have captured meaningful noise data from the impacted areas and discussed the noise impacts with airlines."

Sir Alan said he was pleased that the problem was receiving serious attention, but added that if the matter cannot be resolved satisfactorily through local discussions he would not hesitate to make representations to the aviation minister.

HAVE you noticed an increase in aircraft noise over Hatfield Heath and Hatfield Broad Oak?

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