Spent most of the day working on the Violent Crime Reduction Bill. But highlight of the day was a rally in Westminster over night flights, organised by HACAN Clearskies and others.
The relentless drive by airlines, airports and Government for bigger airports and more flights rolls on – and the current proposals are for more night flights. Funnily enough – when I started campaigning in the Hornsey & Wood Green area – quite a few people had complained to me about aircraft noise in Muswell Hill. I had gone to Heathrow to the noise unit to investigate why there seemed to be an increase in flights over Muswell Hill. What I discovered was that there is a northern stack where aircraft wait. Whether that was the cause or not – unknown.
Curiously, after thumping the metaphorical table – I was told there had only ever had 8 complaints submitted over the previous 10 years from the Muswell Hill area. Now, I had received many more complaints than that just myself in a year! It didn’t mean there wasn’t a noise issue – but it did mean they were very smug about the level of complaint. It’s clear most people who are unhappy about the issue in my constituency don’t know who to complain to about the issue – something I will remedy!
Recently, there have been a lot of complaints locally about increased aircraft noise. In fact last night, my daughter and I counted four in one hour, really low and really loud. Anyway – on the back of this new spate I emailed out to my local lists to try and find out if this was particular sensitivity on the part of a few residents or a more widespread and general view about an increase. Judging from the response – it is much, much wider than before. I’ve put a map of the responses up on my website – and will make sure that people get the address details of the noise unit at Heathrow so everyone can also lodge a formal complaint – otherwise they will carry on saying, problem – what problem?
Back to the night flights rally. About 500 people turned out to oppose the proposals to expand night flights. A stream of politicians from the South West of London came and went to the podium – and then they let a North London girl (me) have my say. I told them about the complaints here in the north and about the survey. And about what seems to me the real crux of this problem – the continual expansion driven by the predict and provide approach of both government and supplier to an ever-increasing market. I remember at the London Assembly responding on behalf of the Transport Committee to a consultation about Heathrow. The constant drone of the government is that if we don’t expand – we die. Or rather Frankfurt or Paris will be then the preferred destination and inward investment will cease. Rubbish. Of course – there’s lots of money involved. And BAA, the airlines and the government want it. Before the ink on the paper was dry from the 5th terminal enquiry at which BAA had promised no need for a third runway – guess what – they started wanting a third runway.
So I rallied – for us – for North London!