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Waterloo councillor calls for action on helicopter noise nuisance

Bishop's ward Liberal Democract councillor Peter Truesdale has asked Lambeth's Labour-run council what it intends to do about complaints from Waterloo residents about noise nuisance from low-flying helicopters.

Cllr Truesdale asked Cllr Imogen Walker, the cabinet member for environment and sustainability, to explain "what action will be taken to mitigate the nuisance and potential danger of helicopters in the north of the borough".

In a written response published this week, Cllr Walker said: "We are of course acutely aware of the concerns held by some citizens within the Waterloo area about the noise nuisance attributed to helicopters, and this particular issue has added significance in the wake of the serious helicopter crash earlier this year."

She added that the issue falls within the remit of the Civil Aviation Authority and the Department for Transport.

"The role played by local authorities has historically been relatively limited in this regard; it is important to note that it is not legally possible for the authority to apply the standard noise nuisance regulations to helicopter related noise, due to the legal framework which exempts aircraft noise from the provisions governing the enforcement of statutory noise nuisance."

"It is the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and local air traffic control centres' responsibility to ensure safe helicopter flights across London.

"The CAA has designated helicopter routes in London to ensure safe separation from Heathrow traffic, and that helicopters fly either over water or open space so that it would be possible for a stricken aircraft to land safely away from built up areas.

"Single-engined helicopters must stay on the designated routes, while twin-engined helicopters are given some leeway as they can stay airborne if one engine fails."

This autumn Mayor of London Boris Johnson wrote: "I recognise that the noise generated by helicopters can be a particular problem for some Londoners.

"In my response to the Government''s draft aviation policy framework last year, I called upon the Government to work with the CAA to reassess the current regime of regulating helicopter noise in London.

"A proper monitoring regime and formal complaints system needs to be established and monitored, and greater consideration needs to be given to more widespread use of incentives to encourage the development and use of quieter helicopters."

The Mayor was responding to a question tabled by Liberal Democrat London Assembly member Caroline Pidgeon.

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