Protest groups form to fight noise nuisance caused by parachute jump aircraft

Residents ask charity skydivers to switch to something less noisy

The growing popularity of skydiving as a leisure activity has given rise to new protest movement – among residents enraged by the sound of circling planes.

Anger is building across the UK at so-called “nuisance sky-diving” – in particular the noise made by circling aircraft as they prepare to release their adrenalin-junkie passengers.

The number of people skydiving at the UK’s 26 specialist clubs is higher than ever, according to the British Parachute Association, rising from 188,000 in 1998 to 250,000 in 2012.

An estimated half of all skydivers throw themselves out of planes in the name of charity, but noise campaigners are now asking them to find less noisy ways of raising money for good causes. Resident groups in Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and Cumbria are among those campaigning about the noise caused by skydiving.

Members of the Residents Against Redlands campaign claim that skydivers taking off from the Redlands Airfield in Wanborough, East Swindon, generate more than 12 hours of noise disturbance every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Kay Lacey, who moved to the area before skydiving from light aircraft began in 2000, said: “They are breaking maximum UK noise levels. Eighty decibels is at the top end of what’s considered loud enough to cause distress, but the skydiving planes reach 100. It’s a hellish droning sound which causes vibrations inside houses as well. When the Civil Aviation Authority grants licences they don’t test aircraft noise at full throttle, which is what planes fly at.”

The residents have collected almost 1,000 signatures on a petition calling for the noisiest plane model – the Gippsland G8 – to be grounded, but the airfield has so far declined to act.

Ms Lacey added: “The Gippsland G8 is the noisiest light aircraft in the UK. The skydivers were told by the council to vary the route to spread the noise nuisance, so now they fly over areas of natural beauty where they would never be allowed to build an airfield.”

Sarah Smith, a co-founder of Redlands Airfield, said: “We understand there are a group of people who object to the flying activities at Redlands, and these people have been campaigning for some years to close Redlands Airfield. However, we also enjoy tremendous local support and many people enjoy watching the aircraft and the skydiving. Our airfield is an integral part of our organic farm and we are sensitive to the needs and expectations of local residents.”

Protest groups are also trying to stop skydiving from the Duke of Gloucester Barracks in South Cerney, Gloucestershire; Cark Airfield in Cumbria and Lewknor in Oxfordshire.

Richard Buxton, a lawyer specialising in environment issues, said the protesters were more than just Nimbies. He told The Independent: “There are human rights considerations here. It’s problematic because the planes have to noisily spiral up and up and up at full throttle to reach the required height for the jumps. Skydiving aircraft aren’t considered ‘normal’ flights so they may not be exempt from legal recourse. It’s an interesting new legal area.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Ashdown Group: HR Business Partner - Essex - £39,000

£34000 - £39000 per annum + benefits + bonus: Ashdown Group: Generalist HR Bus...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager - eCommerce - OTE £100k

£50000 - £100000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award-winning digital age...

Recruitment Genius: Training and Development Consultant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This software development organisation are loo...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable