During this Summer, the Parish Council has received several complaints from residents regarding planes flying low over their houses in South Milford and Lumby. The complaints centre around continual repeat circuits. At the recent South Milford School Fete the Parish Council sought residents’ views on what concerned them most about living in the village. Whilst dog fouling, litter and flytipping was the major concern Highways and speeding and Overflying also featured highly. Most accepted that living close to an airfield meant some aircraft noise, but they believed it was a real nuisance and a potential danger, when the planes fly continually over the houses spoiling their enjoyment of their gardens and peace and quiet.
The Parish Council have a representative on the Aeroclub Liaison group which meets twice a year to pass on and deal with any resident’s concerns. This coming year, after serving the group well, Kathryn Ward has handed this task over to me. This group assures us that the flight routes given to the pilots do not over fly the two villages but skirt around the perimeter. The information regarding noise consideration can be seen on the aeroclub website under airfield, community which includes their complaints procedure. All pilots are instructed not to overfly the villages. Despite this we have been plagued for most of the Summer, a time when we want to enjoy the peace and quiet of our gardens, with constant circuits overflying certain houses in both villages. The normal complaints procedure is to telephone the Flight Desk giving details of the plane concerned and flight times or to complain via the website or email. The problem with this method is that these complaints are not personally acknowledged by the aeroclub although they assure me they are logged. The flight desk cannot contact the pilot during the flight for safety reasons but also assure me they do talk to the pilot concerned. This however appears to have little impact as there was not much of a reduction evident in circuit overflying . The club have no sanctions against any pilot who disregard their advice.
I have written to both the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) and our MP Nigel Adams. To no real avail, although, both did respond. Apparently there are no legal restrictions other than to fly at certain heights, that they can enforce on private aeroclubs. My last resort is to write and complain to the Department for Transport, suggested by the CAA, which I have done, but as yet had no reply. There is unfortunately little else the Parish Council can do except to keep on complaining . I will continue to do this and attend the liaison meetings to ensure our complaints are logged. Meanwhile please keep on sending in your complaints via the telephone, webpage or email so these can be logged and will give the aeroclub an indication that pilots are ignoring the flight routes and advice and creating a noise pollution in a residential area. If more people write to the MP asking for some Government action to protect rural villages from this level of overflying and noise then we may get a better response.