The war in Afghanistan has had some unexpected casualties – residents of Solihull, Birmingham, a suburb close to the city’s airport.
A recent council meeting revealed that “house-shaking” military planes are keeping householders awake at night, dampening efforts to reduce aircraft noise, and ruining customer relations.
The ancient planes, many of which are made by aviation giants, Boeing and Lockheed, are employed to transport injured troops to the university hospital – a route that has grown ever busy since the advent of Operation Panther’s Claw.
Officials claim to have ‘no control’ over the conduct of military aircraft, even if sound levels breach established guidelines.
Aircraft noise dropped to an all-time low this year, with just twenty-five thousand people forced to shout over low-flying aircraft, down from ninety thousand in 1993.
The figures emerged as the airport’s Noise Action Plan entered consultation phase in the towns of Hampton-in-Arden and Balsall Common, among others.
Officials have cited better sound insulation and quieter planes for the reduction in noise pollution.
Kirstin Kane, an officer at the airport, commended Birmingham’s efforts to limit the environmental impact of resident aircraft.
Mrs. Kane emphasised the need for action on an individual basis, liaising with airlines and captains as they enter the airport.
Birmingham’s commitment to noise reduction has come at a price, however – all carriers who want to fly at night have abandoned Solihull for East Midlands Airport.
Passenger numbers have dropped 6% over the past year, bringing the facility in line with Robin Hood, Glasgow, and Heathrow airports, all of which have struggled beneath the recession’s boot since late last year.