New U.K. flight restrictions aim to reduce noise pollution

Concerns over loud noise from planes have prompted the United Kingdom to impose a new set of restrictions on flights from Western European countries over its airspace.

The Noise Restrictions (Limited Services at Misdated Airspace) due to take effect at midnight Sunday have been designed to reduce the noise pollution caused by flights over air space that is previously subjected to no restrictions. That means that more than 1,000 flights between Europe and the U.K. could be affected by the new arrangements, including hundreds of flight paths over the UK every hour.

The new restrictions have come into force following discussions with British Civil Aviation Authority officials and have been designed to reduce noise for the population near airports which include Bournemouth, Belfast, Cork, Birmingham, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Manchester, Liverpool, London City, and Gatwick, as well as Ireland.

What do the new noise restrictions mean for travelers?

A number of changes will be made to the route information for flights taken into and out of the UK. Chief amongst them will be a reduction in aircraft flying times over the Great Southern Plain in Wales. A number of aircraft overshoot the Great Southern Plain over Northern Ireland, causing severe noise disruption for Irish-national residents. At the same time, the flight times over the Great Southern Plain of Scotland will be reduced by several hours. In addition, for the period commencing in the middle of September and continuing until mid-November, aircraft flying into and out of Manchester Airport will spend less time over the North Pennines than they do now. Also, flights of all aircraft types will now have to fly through a minimum period of 15 minutes of sound-free air before leaving UK airspace.

“Lowering the temperature, air speed and speed of wind means higher airspace pressures which can reduce the efficiency of aircraft operations over UK airspace,” the U.K. government says.

Will the new flight restrictions affect flights into the United States?

Although no restrictions will be in place over the Arctic Ocean, the U.K. government says any flights into the Great Western, Channel, northern Humber, and eastern Midland regions will be reduced in flight times by at least eight minutes. “Some restrictions will have to be imposed on flights into the U.S. carrying 1,000 passengers or more,” the government said. As well as protecting the “British domestic and overseas community,” these flight restrictions are also part of the plan to protect the environment.

How will the new restrictions affect Brits traveling on holiday?

The restrictions will be most severe over the UK and Ireland, where hundreds of flights will be affected each hour, with 1,226 flights flying into and out of the U.K. every hour. For example, flights originating in Ireland and making use of Ireland’s east-west air corridor, will have their flight times reduced by at least eight minutes. In Ireland, the route information will change to show flights avoiding the Isles of Scilly or two points in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean between Ireland and the UK.

Do you have more information about the Flight Restrictions?

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