11:14AM, Friday 15 March 2013
Theresa May has expressed her concern about a proposal to increase the proportion of night flights over Maidenhead.
The proposal, contained in a consultation document published by the Department for Transport, could see the percentage of night flights arriving from the west of Heathrow more than double.
An 'easterly preference' scheme would result in 60 per cent of early morning arrivals arriving from the west, travelling over the Thames Valley.
The Home Secretary said: "I have campaigned against any increase in night flights, so I am concerned about this proposal.
"This would represent a major shift and would result in an increase in aircraft arriving at night from the west, over the Maidenhead area.
"This would constitute a dramatic break from the system that has operated since the 1960s, which sees more flights towards the east of Heathrow.
"I am concerned about the effect this will have on local residents, who could not have anticipated this change when they bought their houses."
Under the current system, just 28 per cent of night flights approach the airport travelling in an easterly direction.
There are no scheduled departures from Heathrow at night, so the noise is predominantly from arriving aircraft.
The existing night flights regime lasts until October 2014.
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