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
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing