COUNCILS should have the power to act over noisy aircraft.

That is the message from the head of Swindon’s planning committee, who said it is time they get control over planes flying through the town’s airspace.

At the moment, much of the decision-making dealing with the aircraft is not the responsibility of the council, but the Civil Aviation Authority.

This means as soon as the aircraft leave the runway, councils are all but powerless to act.

But in the wake of the furore over the Redlands Airfield near Wanborough, planning chairman Dale Heenan has said now its time for change.

He has written to both the town’s MPs, demanding a change in the law, after his committee heard residents’ complaints in July. He said: “As a result of the Redlands debate, it was clear both councillors and residents were frustrated that the council had no responsibility or no way to patrol this.”

His letter to the MPs reads, in part: “When residents complain to their council there is little which can be done, and complaints have to be referred to the CAA for investigating and replying. A blanket one-size-fits-all-approach to airfields and airports is clearly inappropriate because an unlicensed airfield cannot be compared to an airport like Heathrow or Bristol.

“Many residents welcome the attempts by farms to diversify their activities, and do enjoy watching people descend in parachutes for charity, or their own fun, so this request is not a negative against airfields.

“Instead this is about addressing the balance about noise.”

Retired teacher Margaret Greenwood, of Yonder Way, Wanborough, said: “I think it’s a fantastic idea. If he can do it he’s got my full admiration.

“I’m so against this airfield it’s just not true. I’m affected, but not half as badly as people living down there in Covingham, Nythe and Liden. A lot of people are in distress about this.”

Robert Buckland, Tory MP for south Swindon, said residents were split over the subject of Redlands.

He said: “I have lots of emails and messages from probably over 100 people, some against, some in favour. In the end I think I had more in favour than against.

“There is a business there that’s operating, and a lot of people in the community are very supportive of it, but there are a lot of people that don’t like aircraft noise.”

Sarah Smith, 43-year-old owner of Redlands airfield, and living at Redlands farm, said: “There isn’t much to say really. This is a process for the government and CAA, not something we or any other airfield would be involved in.”