NATS Consultation regarding changes to London Luton airport arrivals

The consultation into the proposed changes to the arrivals routes at London Luton airport closes on Friday 5th February. Hilton Parish Council urges all parishioners to respond to this consultation.

Further details can be found at:

This is the response that the Parish Council have sent to this consultation:

Hilton Parish Council objects to the proposals put forward by NATS to create a new flight hold pattern above the area to the west of Huntingdon.

The Parish Council’s objection refers to the proposed re-routing of air traffic approaching from the south and east along a new corridor that appears to follow the route of the A14 from Cambridge to Huntingdon.

Having raised a query with NATS concerning noise pollution we are aware that no consideration is made for the increased noise pollution the village is already suffering following the opening of the new A14 southern bypass which is within 800m of the village. The proposed new flight path in air space which is mostly clear of traffic will only serve to compound noise levels and no consideration is made to this.

There appears to be no information in the consultation regarding the effect of increased flight distances for aircraft using the new approach routes (either option 1 or 2).

For traffic arriving from the south, it would add approximately 30 track miles to each arrival thus increasing fuel burn and CO2 emissions on each sector. For arrivals from the east, only around 15 track miles are added but again it is an increase in fuel burn for each flight. Increased fuel burn would be on average around 90 litres per flight and when using the figure suggested by NATS of 100 – 130 flights a day using the corridor this equates to an additional 9000 to 13000 litres of fuel a day or 3,285,000 to 4,745,000 per annum.

If the application to expand Luton airport were to be successful  the potential number of flights along this corridor would increase, using NATS basis of calculation, to up to 200 flights per day or 18,000 litres per day or 6,570,000 litres per year. There does not appear to be any consideration for this non environmentally friendly increase in the consultation document.

In addition there is no consideration for any of the communities affected by these proposals. The creation of the new hold in what is presently unused air space benefits only Luton airport,  it ignores the blight that will be brought on settlements.  From the airspace structure proposed, aircraft could be expected over the villages along the A14 corridor at 8000′ heading towards the hold. Data from NATS shows that noise levels would be expected around 50-60dBA, equivalent to a “busy general office” to a “quiet office”. Most movements into Luton are currently Airbus A319/320 series from easyJet and A320/321 from Wizzair. The same NATS source ( has examples of noise including an Airbus A319 at 13,000ft (higher than expected in the proposal) at 59.0dBA. This would be a new a “busy general office” noise pollution at quiet evening hours when residents are typically attempting to sleep. August 2019 had roughly 220 movements per day, most of which would be using this new arrival with the peak traffic flow in the run up to the 2300 night restriction.

Notwithstanding noise, the increase of many hundreds of aircraft transiting overhead the villages would increase exhaust particulates here. Although the DfT prioritises noise and pollution from aircraft below 4000ft, it is still a significant increase for the area.

Finally, Hilton Parish Council would like to make reference to the poor consultation which appears to be presented as a ‘fait accompli’ with no alternative options.