Peter Lilley, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, backed an amendment to the Civil Aviation Bill which would appoint an Ombudsman-like official with powers to publish information about night flights, noise from aircraft taking off and deviations from planned flight paths. He said this would give people an independent source of information outside the control of airport operators. It would be particularly valuable in the light of plans to expand Luton Airport to the size of Gatwick.
Unfortunately the government voted down the amendment. The Bill will now go to the House of Lords who will have a renewed opportunity to insert this amendment.
Peter Lilley said: “This amendment would solve the problem of people being unable to find out the basic facts about flight paths, noise and night flights.
“At present there is no confidence that individuals can have their complaints dealt with properly. Records are not systematically kept for long enough and it is quite difficult to back trace an individual aircraft. Moreover, little control exists over the expansion of flights at non-designated airports like Luton.
“It is a great pity that the government voted down this amendment. The appointment of an Ombudsman-like official would be particularly useful to us in Hitchin and Harpenden because of the increasing numbers of aircraft using Luton Airport, the plans further to expand the airport to the size of Gatwick and the close links between the airport operator and the local authority.?