CAMPAIGNERS are toasting an “unprecedented victory” as night cargo flights from Southend Airport have been cut.

The airport’s cargo flights with a global logistics firm – believed to be Amazon – had been operating three times every night between 1am and 5.30am.

However, the final night flight will now depart at 12.20am, with no other flights until after 6am.

The changes came into effect from this morning.

Daniel Cowan, Labour councillor for St Laurence ward near the airport, along with other councillors, met with bosses at the airport earlier this year to ask for the night flights to be reduced.

The group called for at least six hours of silence to allow residents near the airport to be able to sleep uninterrupted.

Mr Cowan hailed the decision by the airport as an “unprecedented victory” for Southend residents.

He said: “This is a real victory for all concerned.

“We have always wished the airport every success, but not at the expense of people’s sleep.

“That is why this is such a significant step forward and I thank the airport for being so open to our suggestions.

“I want to thank the community for supporting us as we took the time to negotiate with the airport and especially my colleagues on the council who joined together to demand action as one voice.

“This will make a huge difference to the lives of my residents and many more across the borough. Whilst this doesn’t change the terms of the Section 106 [planning] agreement it does prove what can be achieved when we work together to balance the economic benefits of the airport with the social and environmental impacts.

“We have been making sure there has been a clear message between councillors and residents about what we want to achieve.

“It shows residents are being listened to, by the council and airport.”

Sir David Amess, Tory MP for Southend West, said: “At long last after sustained pressure from residents, with whom I totally agree, as from tonight there is a change to the schedule of cargo flights.”

The agreement has been voluntary, with official planning regulations remaining unchanged.

Southend resident Adrian Mills called for all night flights to be stopped.

He wrote on Facebook: “I think all night fights should be stopped. I stayed at a friend’s house at the weekend and got woken up by a plane taking off.

“What a joke that people have to put up with this noise even at night time.

“I will never live by a airport in my lifetime.”

Jon Fuller, spokesman for South East Essex Friends of the Earth, welcomed the news but is calling for the planning agreement to be altered to allow for more respite for residents.

He said: “This is really excellent news for the community who have been suffering terribly from extreme noise from heavy cargo planes. But it’s important to remember people need seven hours of sleep and a bit more respite at weekends.

“We are really pleased that the airport have offered this, but we do need the section 106 agreement to be changed so they get seven hours’ sleep.

Southend Airport were contacted, but declined to comment.