First they said they were planning new fly routes. "Only for day-time use". Then they started flying over night. Many flights... Local residents in Leicestershire have been campaiging for the last year and a half, trying to get a proper night sleep, as Nottingham East Midlands Airport keeps expanding and leaving communities surrounding the airport in the dark over future plans. In July, Steve Charlish of the campaign group DEMAND, who lives 26 nautical miles from the airport, said in the Observer scheduled flights could be as high as 65 per night, leaving him with not much sleep. The campaign groups seem to grow in strength, getting support from local MP's Edward Garnier QC, Rt Hon Kenneth Clarke, Rt Hon Stephen Dorrell, Alan Duncan, Keith Vaz and Nicky Morgan. Recently Belvoir Brewery in Old Dalby launched 'Nightcap', a beer to support the campaign efforts.
A large public meeting is to be held on September 23, from 7.30pm, at Kibworth Grammar School, Kibworth, Leicester.
Links: DEMAND website | Download DEMAND poster/flyer | Support DEMAND | Sign the petition | Map showing flight routes | New Civil Aviation Bill | Many articles about the campaigns | Nottingham East Midlands Airport website
Scrolling along the Nottingham East Midlands Airport website I find press releases stating 'Committed To Our Communities' and 'Cash Boost For Community Groups'. 'Environmental Success For NEMA' states another one, released back in May, a day after commencing flying on new flight routes. The airport seems keen on a community caring image. The NEMA Community Fund does financially supports local initiatives and of course an airport is an important part of a local economy, with over 5000 employees. But how much do they care about the noise complaints and the concerns in communities around rural Leicestershire and some parts of Nottinghamshire? "It is tough if you are one of the people overflown at a lower height than before." according to Penny Coates, the new managing director of Nottingham East Midlands Airport. "I live 100 metres from a railway and have lived on main roads, and there is an initial change in noise, but I got used to it." Remarks like this seem to doubt the seriousness with which the airport deals with complaints.
"We can hear them, see them and even read the airline's logo. They also wake people at night and the early hours. Gaddesby is one of the many villages in rural east Leicestershire now blighted day and night by this noise and disturbance. Thousands of people are affected." according to Linda Bates, a local resident from Gaddesby. She adds: "Such remarks add insult to injury for people who would never have chosen to live under a flight path in a million years." Furthermore, the Government steps in by giving Nottingham East Midlands Airport the power to regulate its own noise pollution. This has got a step closer to becoming law as the new controversial Civil Aviation Bill was given its second reading in Parliament last month. The new law is to give airports the power to fine airlines which it decides make too much noise when using flight paths...
Many articles have told of the campaigning work of groups such as Demand, East Leicestershire Villages Against Airspace (ELVAA) and 'Wings'. Let's hope one day all the hard work they put in will pay off and they will get some sleep...