Campaigners in Tunbridge Wells area gear up for legal action over flawed Gatwick consultation

Campaigners against the noise from Gatwick flight paths say that legal action will be taken against the airport’s inadequate airspace consultation. Fundraising has already begun to raise some £70,000 estimated to be needed to challenge the case in court, and residents of the areas beneath a proposed narrow corridor, including the High Weald Area of Natural Beauty, Edenbridge and Tunbridge Wells, are preparing to take the airport to task. The proposal affects Gatwick flight paths below 4,000ft and suggests a narrow flight path rather than the current one, which is spread out, although the exact location has not been revealed. There will be one corridor for daytime flights and another for night flights. Adding to a growing list of concerns raised by the consultation, which Tunbridge Wells MP Greg Clark described as “flawed,” critics are also criticising the decision to remove information about the ownership of Gatwick from the airport’s website. People have been greatly angered by the way Gatwick has conducted its consultation, and communities are working together. The airport is not succeeding in “divide and rule” between communities, to pass the buck of noise misery elsewhere.

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Campaigners gear up for legal action over “flawed” Gatwick consultation

By Kent and Sussex Courier

August 13, 2014

By sarah.ward@courier.co.uk

cagne

Campaign group CAGNE have united villages across the High Weald in opposition to the plans

 

LEGAL action will be taken against Gatwick Airport Ltd over the controversial consultation on aircraft noise which closes tomorrow, campaigners from Tunbridge Wells have said.

Fundraising has already begun to raise some £70,000 estimated to be needed to challenge the case in court, and residents of the areas beneath a proposed narrow corridor, including the High Weald Area of Natural Beauty, Edenbridge and Tunbridge Wells, are preparing to take the airport to task.

The proposal affects Gatwick routes below 4000ft and suggests a narrow flight path rather than the current one, which is spread out, although the exact location has not been revealed. There will be one corridor for daytime flights and another for night flights, which campaigners are concerned will bring more aircraft over the area beneath.  Map showing Gatwick proposal

Gatwick flight path Tunbridge Wells concentrated arrivals

 

Text says:

Notes:
• Flights on the main route would usually be between the white lines, with the concentration towards the centre as shown by the white arrow. Likewise flight paths on the potential respite route would be usually be between the blue lines and with the concentration towards the centre of the respite option swathe as shown by the blue arrow.
• Occasional flights would still be seen outside of the white/blue lines, across the whole region where flights are seen today, including Royal Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge, however the regularity of flights over these areas would be less than today.
• ‘Straight in Approaches’ on the alignment between Hildenborough and Tonbridge would also continue at night.

 

 

Adding to a growing list of concerns raised by the consultation, which Tunbridge Wells MP Greg Clark described as “flawed,” critics are also hitting back at the decision to take down information about the ownership of Gatwick from the airport’s website. [Its website at  http://www.gatwickairport.com/business-community/about-gatwick/at-a-glance/  just says: “Gatwick Airport is owned by group of international investment funds, of which Global Infrastructure Partners is the majority shareholder..”  see more detail below]

Steve Haysom said: “I think there is a likelihood there will be a legal challenge after the consultation process, which ended on Thursday. We have kicked off a fundraising programme but we expect it to be in the region of £70,000.

“They think they can just crush us – I think in a way, Gatwick expected that community would be pitched against community, but the parishes have been getting together to say the way it has been conducted has got people’s backs up.”

At a meeting in Penshurst last week where 275 people met to voice their concerns at the consultation, also attended by Tonbridge MP Sir John Stanley, discussions began about how to fund the challenge and on what grounds it could be made.

Mr Haysom said: “There won’t be sufficient public awareness to get the decision revoked now and any challenge will have to be made retrospectively. It will depend on us having the funds.”

He expressed concerns about an increase in aircraft noise in recent weeks, which some campaigners believe is the trial of a ‘superhighway’, an accusation denied by Gatwick chief executive Stewart Winsgate.

“Mr Wingate says there have been no changes to the route, but we have no reason to believe him,” Mr Haysom said. “They are making all these plans, but what they are going to do is do everything they can to make more money.

“There has never been anything like this before in the UK and so there is no evidence of what to expect but we are anticipating house prices falling between ten per cent and 25 per cent if the flight path goes ahead.”

In a letter to Mr Wingate, Tunbridge Wells MP Greg Clark wrote: “It concerns me that to even have put forward a main route that appears to overfly such known residential areas departs from this principle. I believe it is imperative that this misguided proposal should be sent back to the drawing board.”  Link to Greg Clark input.

Pressure is mounting on Gatwick from all sides, and Bidborough resident Clare Pitcher, who made a formal complaint about the consultation to the Civil Aviation Authority, said: “The fact we do not understand why they are putting it forward makes a lot of people suspicious.

“We do not know why they want to make these changes – no business, safety or environmental reasons have been given so the conclusion people have come to is they will try and put more planes through.

“If it was a road, we would have had open meetings in the High Weald – there have been meetings in Tunbridge Wells but none in the small villages affected.”

To respond to the consultation, visit: www.gatwickairport.com/gatwickairspaceconsultation

http://www.courier.co.uk/Campaigners-gear-legal-row-flawed-Gatwick/story-22715378-detail/story.html

 

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Gatwick ownership (information from Wikipedia)   link  :

Ownership

Since 2009, the airport has been owned and operated by Gatwick Airport Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Ivy Holdco Limited. Ivy Holdco is owned by a consortium of companies, with the following holdings:

January 2014

Owner Shares [126]
Global Infrastructure Partners 41.95%
Future Fund Board of Guardians 17.23%
Abu Dhabi Investment Authority 15.9%
The California Public Employees’ Retirement System 12.78%
National Pension Service of Korea 12.4%

In February 2010, GIP sold minority stakes of 12 and 15 percent to the South Korean National Pension Service and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) for £100 million and £125 million, respectively, in Gatwick’s (rather than GIP’s) name. The sales were part of GIP’s strategy to syndicate the equity portion of the original acquisition by issuing bonds torefinance bank debt. Although this entails bringing additional investors into the airport, GIP aims to retain management control.[127][128] The Californian state pension fundCalPERS acquired a 12.7-percent stake in Gatwick Airport for about $155 million (£104.8 million) in June 2010.[129]

On 21 December 2010, the A$69 billion (£44 billion) Future Fund, a sovereign wealth fund established by the Australian government in 2006, agreed to purchase a 17.2-percent stake in Gatwick Airport from GIP for £145 million. This transaction completed GIP’s syndication process for the airport, reducing its stake to 42 percent (although the firm’s extravoting rights mean it still controls the airport’s board).[130]

 

from

  1.  “Gatwick Airport Limited – Directors Report and Financial Statements for the year ending 31 March 2013 (Notes to the Financial Statements, p. 71)”.   Page 2
  2. www.gatwickairport.com. 28 January 2014
  3. .

  4. .

  5. Global Infrastructure Partners  ( from Wikipedia  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_Infrastructure_Partners)
  6. Global Infrastructure Partners was established in May 2006. Two of GIP’s founding investors in its first fund, GIP1, were Credit Suisseand General Electric. Each of these investors committed approximately 9% of the US$5.64 billion of GIP1’s total committed capital.[3]The firm’s first investment was announced in October 2006, a 50:50 joint venture between GIP and American International Group(AIG), to acquire London City Airport from Irish businessman Dermot Desmond for an undisclosed sum.[4][5] GIP subsequently acquired AIG’s stake in the airport in September 2008.[6]

    Subsequently, GIP has made two additional airport investments, the October 2009 acquisition of Gatwick Airport, the second largest airport in the United Kingdom by passenger traffic, for £1.5 billion from BAA [7][8]and the 2012 acquisition of Edinburgh Airport for £807 million. [9][10] Additionally, GIP has made a cross section of investments in other areas of the transport sector as well as the natural resource and power generation areas of the energy sector. These assets include, sea ports, midstream natural resources and power generation businesses.

    Global Infrastructure Partners’ first fund, GIP1, completed its fund raising in May 2008. The fund became fully invested during 2012. In October 2012, GIP’s second fund, GIP2, completed fund raising with US$8.25 billion in investor capital commitments, making it the largest independent infrastructure fund in the world to date.[11]