New aircraft flight path near Balsall Common

Residents of Balsall Common will have to deal with planes flying close to the village following a trial of new flight paths from Birmingham Airport.

Tuesday, 12th April 2016, 5:32 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th April 2016, 5:37 pm

However, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) could have settled on a louder flight path which would have seen planes flying directly over Balsall Common rather than to the west of it.

The CAA required the airport to change its flight paths after its runway was extended in 2009.

In the airport’s six-month trial which ended in May 2015, two flight paths close to Balsall Common were tested known as ‘Option 5’ and ‘Option 6’.

Option 5 saw planes fly right over the village while Option 6 saw planes turn right at the first safe opportunity, passing to the west.

Noise levels in Balsall Common were found to be reduced when Option 6 was used, and the nearby village of Barston saw little difference no matter what flight path was being used, meaning the CAA eventually chose Option 6 last week.

The CAA said: “There would be a discernible noise benefit to the communities of Balsall Common and Balsall Street East of utilising Option 6 instead of Option 5 for all southbound departures. There would be no discernible noise benefit to Barston from any aircraft flying any of the above options.”

The noise levels generated by the trial sparked a wave of complaints from Balsall Common residents, and a petition signed by 2,000 people against the noise was presented in Parliament by the MP for Meriden, Caroline Spelman.

Compromises were reached between the airport and campaigners, with the promise of a 4,000 ft ‘noise corridor.’ This means aircraft cannot divert from their bearing until they reach 4,000 ft in altitude, by which time they would have flown beyond Balsall Common.

A further trial testing the noise levels of non jet-powered planes using the Option 5 route is expected to start shortly.