Since I was elected - all those years ago in 2005 - the issue of noise from aircraft has been one that comes up on the doorsteps. Residents have always been keen to know what is being done to minimise disruption and disturbance.
I have lived under the flight path since 2003, so I know first hand just how disturbing the roar of planes overhead can be and how it can affects the quality of sleep, education and concentration amongst other things.
Over the last few years noise has become less of an issue as the number of aircraft dipped with the coronavirus travel restrictions, but now that we are embracing our freedoms once again, we are likely to see and hear gradual a return to the previous levels of flights. In many ways, this is something to celebrate, as more tourists arriving will benefit our local economy and provide custom to our businesses that have been hit so hard by the successive lockdowns. It will be noticeable, nevertheless, and I will continue to push for the introduction of ever quieter aircraft and an end to night flights as soon as possible.
Recently, there has also been the announcement of a no-fly zone over Windsor Castle, for reasons of security. This is perfectly understandable, but the flights will have to be redirected somewhere. I have written to the National Air Traffic Services (NATS) for further information on how this will affect residents as I know a few people have contacted me about this.
I have also submitted Parliamentary Questions to the Secretary of State for Transport asking how local communities can involve themselves in the Airspace Modernisation consultation. This is of vital importance as otherwise we risk a situation whereby the big players with financial clout and legal wherewithal are able to use bureaucratic sleights of hand to push through changes that will majorly impact communities and residents.
When it comes to our welcome but noisy neighbour, I will continue to fight the corner of my constituents and make sure that our voices are heard above the noise.