Following a two week hearing, HHJ Sephton QC (sitting as a judge of the High Court) has handed down judgment in Jones v Ministry of Defence  EWHC 2276 (QB) a nuisance claim brought by the Claimants in respect of aircraft noise arising from the training of pilots of fast jets at RAF Mona in Anglesey, Wales.
Since 1951, Mona Airfield has been used by the Royal Air Force as a relief landing ground for the nearby base at RAF Valley, and as a runway where trainee pilots undertake circuit drills using fast jets and turbo-propelled aircraft. In 2003, having lived for some years in the nearby village of Boddford, the Claimants purchased land about a mile away from RAF Mona and began to develop the land to create a holiday and leisure park.
By their claim, the Claimants argued that there was a change in flight patterns and frequency in 2007 and that, as a result of that change, they had suffered a nuisance or violation of their human rights under Article 8 of and Article 1 Protocol 1 to the ECHR. The Claimants relied on the earlier judgment of Buckley J in Dennis v MOD  Env. L.R. 34.
The judge dismissed both the nuisance claim and the human rights claim, finding contrary to the Claimants’ evidence that no change had occurred in 2007 and that the evidence indicated that the noise of aircraft flying circuits, which went back several decades, was an established pattern of use that fell to be considered as part of the locality. Further, relying on the judgment of Lord Neuberger in Lawrence v Fen Tigers  UKSC 13, the judge held that, in any event, the Claimants could not argue nuisance in circumstances where the nuisance only arose as a result of their subsequent change of use of the land.