Those choppers over Bath!

Bath’s MP, Wera Hobhouse has now entered the row about the disruption people say has been caused by recent days of helicopter rides over the city.

The helicopters have been taking off from Bath Racecourse and were particularly frequent over the bank holiday weekend.

The rides seem to be flying lower than normal and residents have raised concerns to Ms Hobhouse, their ward councillors and to the Civil Aviation Authority.

There are also concerns over the pollution caused just as Bath and North East Somerset Council’s Clean Air Zone has been shown to have reduced air pollution levels in a number of areas across the city. 

The company offering the rides advertise an extended tour of Bath for £169.00 for 25 minute flights which flies across to Bristol. The shorter tour boasts that guests can view the Royal crescent, the Circus, Pulteney Bridge, the Roman Baths, Bath Abbey and the Thermae Spa.

Residents have been left furious as they’ve experienced the disruption caused by the low flying machines. 

Commenting on the issue, Bath MP Wera Hobhouse has vowed to stand up for Bath residents:  

“Not only is this disruptive to residents in Bath but it is hugely damaging to the environment. I will stand up for residents to demand that these joy rides stop polluting our city and repeatedly disrupting our residents.

Wera Hobhouse MP

Bath is a beautiful city and can easily be discovered on foot. It does not fit with the city’s World Heritage status to have noisy, sight-seeing helicopters polluting the air above our city, especially whilst we are tackling a climate crisis. 

“I will be speaking to the racecourse manager on his return from holiday, to get to the bottom of the issue. It is simply not acceptable.”

Interesting, as when l contacted the race course on August 31st and asked if they were currently hosting helicopter tours over Bath l was told they were not.

There is a website which allows you to watch aircraft movement over the country and l certainly saw a helicopter over this city and with a flight path including Bristol when l looked.

Also, if you look at the Civil Aviation Authority’s website it says: “Aircraft noise is not currently a statutory nuisance in the UK. It is not covered by the Environmental Protection Act 1990 or the Noise Act 1996.

This means that local authorities do not have the legal power to take action on matters of aircraft noise, and nor does the CAA have the legal power to prevent aircraft flying over a particular location or at a particular time for environmental reasons.”

So such flights don’t need local authority permission to operate and would, therefore, be a civil matter between those affected by the disturbance and the organisers of the alleged source of the disturbance.

It’s also my understanding that at least five more flight days are booked in between now and the end of the year and – as this activity seems to be exempted from the legislation normally used for noise nuisance – it remains to be seen if Bath Racecourse will (or even legally can) consider acting to pacify local people and cancel the remaining trips.