Villagers living near one of the UK's main airports have told of their stress as late-night flights 'disturb their sleep and affect their health'.

The holding pattern for flights into Gatwick Airport means many planes fly over villages and towns in West Sussex, including Billingshurst, Horsham and Haywards Heath.

A woman, who wishes to remain anonymous and lives in Billingshurst, has shared her torment as she says noise can begin at midnight and last until 2am. She claims this disturbs her sleep completely.

The Argus: A map of flight pathsA map of flight paths (Image: Gatwick Airport)

The woman lives near the edge of where planes turn, which she believes is why she is so disturbed by the flights as it “projects the noise”.

A recent study found that people living near an airport may be more susceptible to symptoms linked to heart problems.

The research, by Imperial College London, looked at hospital admissions for cardiovascular diseases among residents whose homes are under Heathrow Airport’s flight paths.


Researchers found that there was a "small increase of risk" of being admitted to hospital for people who had experienced louder noise during the previous night, and the woman has said that this concerns her.

She has hypertension and is on medication, so she says she desperately needs to sleep well for her health.

The Argus: A map of flight paths. Billingshurst is near to the turning pointA map of flight paths. Billingshurst is near to the turning point (Image: Gatwick Airport)

“Research shows that night flights can worsen conditions like this and even trigger cardiac events,” the woman told The Argus.

“During the pandemic, I slept really well when there were no planes, but since flights have started up properly I am struggling once again.”

Her husband uses a hearing aid, which he can remove so he does not hear the planes, while his wife says she lies awake hearing the aircrafts soaring by.

A spokesman for Gatwick Airport said: “We recognise night-time flying is a concern for some local people. To limit noise we work with airlines to prevent delayed flights and incentivise airlines to use the quietest aircraft at night. 

“We will also continue to support new initiatives by our noise management board.

“It is important to note however that many thousands of individuals, families and businesses across the region benefit from the jobs and economic prosperity the airport provides. The Department for Transport’s aviation noise policy strikes a balance between these two aspects.”