Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Peter Lilley, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, is calling for greater openness about plans to move the flight paths and stacking zones for Luton and other London airports.

    National Air Traffic Services (Nats), which manages Britain’s airspace, is proposing to redirect aircraft away from more densely populated areas to reduce the number of people affected by noise. One of the new routes runs north of St Albans and south of Luton.

    Describing the proposals as ‘thoroughly opaque’, Mr Lilley said he would be pressing for much more information.

    “It is very hard to tell what the impact of the new routes and stacking zones might be. There are no details of how many people would be affected and precisely where they will be. On the face of it, Hitchin might suffer less aircraft noise, but people between St Albans, Wheathampstead and Kimpton could be subject to a lot more.

    “Communities that have previously enjoyed relative tranquillity are not going to welcome these changes if their lives are blighted by noise. There is no point in having a consultation if the impact of proposed changes is not made clear to those affected.

    “I will be pressing Nats to be much clearer about what their proposals mean. In general, it is a good thing that aircraft flight paths should be moved away from densely populated areas, but there will be winners and losers. Unfortunately, the noise has to go somewhere. I will be calling for much greater clarity on the whole issue.”

    Details of the proposals are available at the Nats website, www.nats.co.uk, and at public libraries. The new flight paths could be in place by spring 2009 if the Civil Aviation Authority gives the go-ahead.