People share concerns over aircraft noise at public meeting

Residents attended a public meeting at Little Gransden Village Hall on July 5 to discuss increased aircraft noise.

Residents attended a public meeting at Little Gransden Village Hall on July 5 to discuss increased aircraft noise. - Credit: Stephen Ferguson

More than 150 residents attended a public meeting to discuss the "increase in noise levels and pollution" they say has resulted from changes to London Luton airport flight paths.

The meeting took place on July 5 in Little Gransden Village Hall and was organised to raise awareness and inform those impacted about what they should consider doing and how they should complain.

Of the attendees, 145 residents claimed the noise from the new operations had negatively impacted them.

District councillor for Priory Park and Little Paxton, Stephen Ferguson, told The Hunts Post: "A number of people complained that the noise had significantly affected their mental health.

"Several residents stated that they were considering moving away because of the noise impact."

Cllr Ferguson hosted the meeting alongside Cllr Tumi Hawkins and Cllr Richard West to address the new arrivals flight path and stacking system, which came into force on February 24.

Cllr Ferguson said he had received many complaints about the increased aircraft noise from several rural communities. Those affected, stretches from the north of Cambridge to Potton and Gamilingay, including Longstanton, the Gransdens, Waresley and Abbotsley.

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Summing up the meeting, Cllr Ferguson said: "The impact and disturbance are much worse than indicated by the consultation.

"The consultation was flawed, the section over Cambridgeshire was presented as a fait accompli (without any alternative) and failed to identify the area of most noise impact.

"The consultation materials were highly technical and impenetrable to the layperson."

The National Air Traffic Services (NATS) had agreed to increase the height of the stack to 9,000ft to alleviate noise concerns.

However, an Abbotsley resident had been tracking the altitude of aircraft operations in May above the village (using transponders on the aircraft), which recorded planes flying well below the height.

Subsequently, councillors felt the engagement from NATS during the consultation had been poor and that their concerns had not been properly addressed.

Cllr Ferguson said: "The 12-month post-implementation review period is not long enough for us to gather enough credible data to challenge NATS, and this period needs to be extended."

Advice from the meeting urged those impacted to write letters of complaint to their relevant parish council and the Airport as nothing will happen unless there is concerted pressure.

All complaints will then be passed onto the Civil Aviation Authority for final review.

Cllr Ferguson added: "There was a strong feeling among the many gathered residents and councillors that we need to work together to challenge these arrival flight paths before they are made permanent.

"We will be contacting everyone that attended shortly. If you would like to join us, please email: stephen.ferguson@cambridgeshire.gov.uk".