Human rights and aircraft noise

In a surprise ruling, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights has reversed the decision of the Court two years ago that the UK had breached the human rights of residents near Heathrow in permitting night flights without adequate scientific or economic justification. The majority judgment accepts the environmental dimension of human rights, but emphasises that in dealing with policy issues national governments must be given a large measure of discretion in determining when breach of such rights is justified by the public interest. Five judges, however, including the vice-president of the Court, gave a strong dissenting judgment.

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