Court quashes market approach to airport noise control

Transport Secretary John MacGregor exceeded his legal powers in attempting to introduce a market-based approach to controlling noise from night flights at London's three airports, the High Court has ruled.

Under section 78 of the Civil Aviation Act 1982, the Secretary of State is empowered to make schemes prohibiting or limiting landing and take-offs to aircraft at certain designated airports under his control. The existing 1988 scheme at Heathrow and Gatwick was due for expiry this year, and the Secretary of State had proposed a new scheme covering Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted to come into effect from 24 October.

The existing scheme was

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