UK ministry spooked by night flights ruling

Estimate of up to UK£2bn compensation claims boosts support for appeal against court judgement

The UK finance ministry fears that last year's landmark ruling by the European court of human rights on aircraft noise could lead to compensation claims of up to UK£2bn (euros 3.24bn), the Financial Times newspaper reported yesterday. The court backed a complaint brought by residents living near London's Heathrow airport, who argued that noise from night-time flights infringed their human rights (EED 02/10/01).

According to the newspaper, the government thinks that between 100,000 and 500,000 compensation cases could flow from the judgement. This could result in individual pay-outs of UK£4,000 each or UK£400m to UK£2bn in total. The financial hit could be even worse if residents living near London's other airports were to undertake and win similar court challenges, advisors have told the government.

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