Consultation Night Flights

The section on Night Flights here describes the arrangements the airport will make to control overnight noise. However, we find these proposals confusing – and some key elements are missing. For example, up to twenty flights will pass over Ealing in the first arrival hour, likely to start at 05:50 – still night time for most of us – but this is not mentioned.

We strongly believe that the night period of 6½ hours from 23:00 to 05:30 is far too short – and a previous Heathrow consultation has acknowledged this concern. The American CDC recommends 7 hours sleep for an adult, rising to 9-11 hours for school-age children. Our own NHS identifies seven ways in which good sleep can help your health, including boosting mental wellbeing, and preventing diabetes and heart disease.

The consultation also describes a Recovery Period in which departures are allowed until midnight, further reducing the period available for sleep to 5½ hours. The consultation also states that aircraft movements would not be permitted during the night other than in exceptional circumstances – but fails to say what these are.

Lastly, this section of the consultation states that early arrivals have important economic benefits for the UK – but doesn’t quantify these. Remember that 30% of passengers passing through Heathrow are transit passengers – financially important to Heathrow, but not to the UK.


So, if you value your family’s sleep, we suggest making the following points, in your own words:

  • that the night quota period is too short for a recommended night’s sleep, especially for school-age children, and that you state your own acceptable minimum
  • that proper sleep is essential to human health and mental well-being, and therefore should be considered a fundamental human right
  • that there should be no departures whatsoever during the night period
  • that any arrivals during the night period should be genuine emergency only

Click here to comment on Heathrow’s plans for Night Flights