CAMPAIGNERS against expansion at Leeds Bradford Airport have added their voices to national calls for an end to night-time flying.

In a letter sent to the aviation minister, a coalition of 17 environmental and community groups said there should be a ban on commercial flights between 11pm and 7am. The letter, signed by the Aviation Environment Association and the Aviation Communities Forum, says research shows a clear link between night flight noise, sleep deprivation, heart disease and strokes. Campaigners say only emergency flights should be allowed at night.

The government is expected to start consulting soon on a national policy for night-time flying.The Group for Action on Leeds Bradford Airport (GALBA), is supporting the call for a ban.

Chairman Chris Foren said: “Aircraft noise is a serious problem and the World Health Organisation is recommending far lower noise thresholds to avoid damaging people’s health.”

He added: “Studies of European Airports have shown the links between even a small increase in noise at night and higher blood pressure, strokes and heart conditions. Safeguarding the health of the community must be a priority Leeds City Council.”

Mr Foren said: “LBA’s own planning application states that 123,000 more people will suffer more night time noise if the airport is allowed to expand. And it’s not just areas close to the airport that will be affected. Communities who are under the flightpath, will have their sleep disturbed too, including Armley, Bramley, Guiseley, Rawdon, Richmond Hill, the city centre, Holbeck, Belle Isle, Middleton, Rothwell and Robin Hood as well as Otley, Hyde Park, Headingley and north west Leeds.”

A Leeds Bradford Airport spokesman said: “We have been very clear in our proposals about how we will reduce the impact of noise. Not only are aircraft already much quieter with technology and new innovations, but we have also performed a detailed and robust assessment on noise, compiled by leading experts and verified by third party specialists on behalf of Leeds City Council, which illustrates how the noise impact will be minimal.

“We encourage the public to review this evidence-based analysis and its sources via Leeds City Council’s portal and make a decision on its merits rather than relying on uncorroborated and misleading third party analysis.

“We remain committed to ensuring that noise from the airport’s development does not severely impact our neighbours.”

LBA says it is not seeking to remove flight controls. It says as part of the development it is planning on doing more to mitigate noise through changes to operations and the implementation of new noise insulation measures.