Having had a few days of helicopter noise over Marylebone from the US President visit, l decided to make a complaint about the negative impact on the quality of life for many people via the Council who told me its not there responsibility. They instead referred me to Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). l immediately submitted a complaint on the relevant forms. By the end of the week, l got a very unsatisfactory response.
I was informed that they appreciated the disturbance caused by these aircraft/helicopters but we regret to inform you that aircraft noise is not actually classed as a statutory nuisance as it is not covered by the Environmental Protection Act nor the Noise Act, therefore preventing any local authority from being able to act on aircraft noise issues. Nor does the CAA, as the UK’s independent aviation regulator, have the legal power to prevent aircraft flying over a particular location or at a particular time for environmental reasons (except when considering proposals to establish new, or amend existing Controlled Airspace). Responsibility for aviation policy and aircraft noise matters lies with the Department for Transport (DfT) and the CAA works closely with this governmental department in the development of aviation regulation and policy to limit the environmental effects of aircraft operations where possible. Further, DfT is directly involved in measures to ameliorate noise at the main airports; all other civil aerodrome and aircraft operators are expected to achieve a reasonable balance between their legitimate needs and the impact their operations may have upon the local environment.
So in conclusion neither the Council nor CAA have any responsibility but would you believe it the Department of Transport does have it, which to me certainly appears to be in the wrong place altogether. And l am not sure why l was not directed to the Department in the first place.
So when the President comes back through London again at the end of the year, l will get ready to make any complaints to the Department of Transport. In the meantime l will start lobbying my local MP for aircraft and in particular helicopter noise to be classed as a statutory nuisance so as local authorities can act on the matters rather than the distant offices of the Department of Transport.
In the meantime, the London Assembly could also do with updating their report on Helicopter Noise London in a spin which now over 10 years old and making it a priority before the President next passes through London.