Noise pollution fear in Shropshire Hills over increase in air traffic
Residents in south Shropshire have complained to their MP about noise pollution in scenic areas of the hills, as they fear for a loss of 'tranquility' if a Bill to deregulate flight paths is passed.
A group of campaigners, led by Minsterley resident Peter Phillips, have contacted Ludlow MP Phillip Dunne to put forward their concerns about flight paths over the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) if the Air Traffic Management and Unmanned Aircraft Bill was passed without restrictions.
Peter said there has been an "explosion" in air traffic since last spring, and they fear it will become worse if AONBs are not protected.
"We do not know what the impact of the Bill will be on the area," he said.
"We want to have something in place that says you do not fly over AONBs at a certain height.
"In peak periods, I can hear the noise from overhead traffic every five minutes."
The restructure of flight paths would allow aircraft to fly more direct courses and therefore create an increase in noise for many residents who were previously unaffected by air traffic, campaigners claim.
Hilary Wendt, south Shropshire Green Party coordinator, said: "We are very worried that there appears to be no protection in law for the increasingly rare and precious qualities like 'tranquillity' that give AONBs their status.
"We are also concerned that agencies that one might assume were charged with the protection of AONBs, like Natural England, are yet to step up to this new threat."
Chirbury Liberal Democrats Councillor Heather Kidd said that Mr Dunne has offered his support to the cause and said he will attempt to scrutinise the Bill as it is passed through the House of Lords.
"I am very pleased that Philip Dunne is rising to the issue, and intends to seek to put defence of our AONBs into the Bill," she said.
"I hope he will also extract an explanation as to how the surge in air traffic has already come about. At stake is the integrity of AONBs, as well as national nature reserves, like the Stiperstones and National Parks.
"We seem to be prioritising tourism by air over rural tourism,which is vital for the rural economy."