This is what happens when a local council throws its weight into the fight against night flights, on behalf of the residents.
Wandsworth Council in London is a founder member of the 2M group, an all-party alliance of 24 local authorities concerned at the environmental impact of Heathrow expansion on their communities. The group, which took its name from the 2 million residents of the original 12 authorities, now represents a combined population of 5 million people.
As they say on their website:
The council has campaigned for many years for a complete ban on night flights. In October 2001 the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that night flights violated human rights and that the UK Government was wrong to have put economic arguments ahead of environmental concerns.
Following the UK Government’s appeal, this ruling was overturned. The decision was announced on July 8, 2003. The council helped to raise £100,000 from other local authorities to help meet the legal costs of the two hearings. You can see the latest judgment of Hatton and Others v UK Government by visiting the ECHR website at www.echr.coe.int
They recognise one of the fundamental flaws in the existing setup for monitoring and regulating the aviation industry – the CAA itself:
The council wants the Government to set up a new regulator for aviation. This would combine responsibilities for safety and licensing, currently held by the Civil Aviation Authority, with new roles of consumer and environmental protection.
The council belives that the CAA as constituted lacks the independence for this task. It should be replaced by a new watchdog with powers to ensure compliance. The Department for Transport has been consulting on proposals for a new regulatory framework. You can read the council’s full response here:
Regulatory Framework for Aviation – the Chief Executive and Director of Administration’s report on proposals to update the regulatory framework for aviation.
Regulating Air Transport – The 2M Group response to the consultation on Proposals to Update the Regulatory Framework for Aviation.
Well done Wandsworth – a fine example for Thanet.