Heathrow councils challenge night flights

Night flights

If the Government thought the end of the consultation marked the end of hostilities, then they're in for a shock. Bolstered by growing militancy across West London and the UK, local councils are upping the ante. With talk of a judicial review of the consultation being banded about like cheap tickets at a Ryanair sale, Richmond, Wandsworth and Windsor and Maidenhead are taking on night flights.

The councils, backed by the Greater London Authority and a host of other West London boroughs, are seeking to challenge the government in the courts over the legality of the current night flight regime, which they say is noisier than allowed, and therefore illegal. It doesn't stop there though; according to Richmond council's leader, Serge Lourie, "This challenge is another important step along the road to our ultimate goal - a total ban on night flights."

Night flights are strictly limited - in theory - but in practice this leads to more and more airlines rushing to get in before the deadline, causing more noise in the process. With BAA under fire from all sides, and the DfT desperate to pretend it didn't collude with the Airports Authority over the consultation, pressure is growing on Ruth Kely to reign in the industry. Will she rise to the challenge? Doubtful, but perhaps the courts will do what Ministers are too afraid to do - just say no.