Nick Herbert, MP for Arundel & South Downs, joins others in speaking out against noise nuisance from ADNID trial
Date added: August 29, 2014
Nick Herber, the MP for Arundel and South Downs, has received numerous complaints from constituents in Kirdford, Wisborough Green, West Grinstead and other villages about noise from low flying aircraft from Gatwick. This has been due to the ADNID flight path trial, that lasted 6 months and ended on 8th August. He did not get aircraft noise complaints before ADNID. Though it has now ended, Mr Herbert says some constituents say the aircraft noise still continues. He has taken up the issue with Stewart Wingate, and has also been working with Francis Maude, the MP for Horsham, whose constituents are also affected. They have raised the matter with the Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin. The MPs are challenging the assertion that there needs to be any new Noise Preferential Route (NPR) in order for Gatwick to achieve a modest potential increase in hourly movements as a single runway airport. They have also complained about the consultation, which was badly done. Mr Herbert is aware of the extent of local concern not only about the new flight paths becoming permanent, but the even worse prospect of the increased traffic from a 2nd runway. Other MPs in the area have also complained about the situation, and the poor consultation. See below.
Nick Herbert: Flight path trial provokes complaints
Arundel and South Downs MP Nick Herbert
29th August 2014
I’ve received numerous complaints from constituents in Kirdford, Wisborough Green, West Grinstead and other villages about noise from low flying aircraft from Gatwick.
The cause was a six-month trial of new flight paths, partly as a result of a consultation about London airspace formulated by the Civil Aviation Authority.
The trial came to an end earlier this month, although some constituents tell me that aircraft noise continues.
I’ve met with constituents about this issue and continue to take it up with the Chief Executive of Gatwick Airport.
I’ve also been working closely with Francis Maude, the MP for Horsham, whose constituents are also affected. We’ve raised the issues with the Transport Secretary, and are now asking for a meeting with the Chief Executive of Gatwick so that we can re-emphasise our concerns.
We’re challenging the assertion that there needs to be any new Noise Preferential Route in order for Gatwick to achieve a modest potential increase in hourly movements as a single runway airport.
We’re also very unhappy about the consultation itself. The document was long and technical, and it was not known about. The Chief Executive has confirmed to me that residents were not advised about the trial routes.
He assures me that ‘no firm decision’ will be taken on permanent new routings until feedback has been evaluated. Any decision to implement airspace change will be taken by the Civil Aviation Authority.
The Government’s preference is to concentrate flightpaths rather than disperse them, so as to minimise disruption to communities. However, the trial route has clearly hugely increased disruption. I received no complaints about aircraft noise before.
Clearly local residents will be concerned that the trial route will become permanent, and I will argue strongly against it.
I think this issue foreshadows a longer-term concern, which is that further expansion at Gatwick could result in greater noise from flights over this part of West Sussex, as well as increasing development pressures on the County which are already a real problem.
Gatwick is running a high profile publicity campaign to promote a second runway. These issues are being considered by a Airports Commission led by Sir Howard Davies which will report next year.
I think that airport expansion is needed, and that it should be at Heathrow or, if the economics justify it, possibly ‘Boris island’, as the Thames estuary option has become known.
If you would like to get in touch with me, please write to me at the House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA, or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Other MPs who have spoken out against Gatwick’s flight path trial, and against a second runway at Gatwick:
Nick Herbert – see above.
Mole Valley MP Sir Paul Beresford joins the battle over Gatwick aircraft noise
August 18, 2014
Sir Paul Beresfor, the MP for Mole Valley, has joined the battle against aircraft noise due to Gatwick airport, over the south of the district. Documents for the recent airspace consultation by Gatwick (closed on 15th August) show that one of Gatwick’s departure routes was changed in November 2013. This flight path had too tight a turn for modern aircraft (though they can climb faster than older planes) and planes were increasingly straying further north. As a result, the official route, the NPR (noise preferential route) was changed at the end of last year to allow for a wider turn, meaning 7,200 people who were previously unaffected are now under the flight path – including communities in Leigh, the Holmwoods, Brockham, Capel, Betchworth and Beare Green. Sir Paul said: “It’s quite a disaster. People who bought houses under the previous flight path knew what they were buying. People who have bought under the new flight path did not know. ….. the whole thing is totally unacceptable.” He is deeply opposed to a 2nd runway, partly due to the thousands of houses that would have to be built, on green field land, to accommodate workers. “They are actually bussing people in from the South Coast to do jobs” already.
Tunbridge Wells MP Greg Clark urges Gatwick CEO to “go back to the drawing board” on flight paths
August 10, 2014
Greg Clark, MP for Tunbridge Wells, has written to Gatwick asking them to reconsider the “flawed” consultation on aircraft flight paths and noise, and urging them to “go back to the drawing board.” He recently (14th July) met Gatwick and NATS staff about the problem. He tells Gatwick that the consultation has not only caused outrage among his constituents for what it proposes but also for how the consultation has been managed. There are serious concerns among local in the area about the “superhighway” overhead, though Gatwick says the increase in noise is just that more Brits are flying abroad this summer, (on cheap flights for holidays). Greg says that the noise disturbance has considerably worsened recently and many have been “disturbed and dismayed by much higher levels of aircraft noise this summer.” He adds: “… the consultation has been unfit for its purpose…..(its) ..purpose was to have been to gauge reaction to particular precise routes. Yet the exact route has not been disclosed to the public. Instead, a wide swathe has been marked on maps which make it exceedingly difficult to work out what is the exact route proposed…..the proposals being put forward (are) too ill defined to comment properly.” He believes the misguided proposal to increase flights over Langton Green, Speldhurst, Rusthall and Bidborough should be rethought.
Francis Maude says it is intolerable for some people to be very intensively overflown, “to the extreme detriment of their lives”
August 8, 2014
Francis Maude, MP for Horsham, wrote that the ADNID trial has been almost six months of intense misery for many of his constituents. He has been liaising with the airport, the CAA, NATS and the Secretary of State for Transport on the trial and its impacts. Gatwick is aiming to increase potential take-offs at peak times from 55 to 58 per hour from its single runway, and to do this it claims to need more focused flight paths, allowed by better aircraft on-board navigation systems. Gatwick says it needs to use new NPR routes, rather than the established ones. Government policy is that the decision about new routes, which rests with the Secretary of State, will be based on reducing the numbers of people overflown, in a simple headcount exercise. But there are local circumstances which allow for other considerations – background noise, altitude above sea level – to be taken into account, and Francis says “this is our best hope of seeing off this threat.” Sharing of the noise misery burden may be tolerable but ” What is intolerable is when fewer people are very intensively overflown, to the extreme detriment of their lives.” He adds: “I have sought reassurance that the consultation being run by IpsosMori will be independently scrutinised by the CAA, using the raw data if necessary.”
Crispin Blunt MP investigates recent increase in aircraft noise in Redhill area due to changes to Gatwick flight paths
August 8, 2014
Following a recent increase in complaints of increased aircraft noise over Redhill and Earlswood, MP for Reigate, Crispin Blunt has visited Gatwick Airport for an explanation. He has also met Heathrow and the MP for Mole Valley, Sir Paul Beresford, to identify the cause of the increase in over-flight noise, and investigate potential remedies and future trends in aircraft noise patterns. Crispin has set out a clear explanation of what has been happenning, and why people in his constituency are now being affected. Gatwick is trying out new routing patterns, that might come into effect in 18 months time, by which flights take off in a similar pattern as before, but follow a much narrower air corridor over Redhill and Earlswood. This has reduced the area in which people are overflown, but concentrated the amount of noise that a smaller number of residents on the narrower flight path have to suffer. Some Gatwick departure aircraft are being held low by NATS over Redhill, to avoid aircraft stacking prior to landing at Heathrow. These are tracking north closer to Redhill than before. This is part of the FAS (Future Airspace Strategy) which is being worked on, and which will not be completed till 2019. By then, the conflict with the Heathrow routes may be resolved.
Surrey and Sussex MPs oppose Gatwick runway ‘disaster’
June 18, 2014
Five MPs have begun a campaign against the building of a 2nd Gatwick runway. The Conservative MPs, who represent Sussex, Surrey and Kent constituencies, said the scheme for the airport near Crawley would be “a disaster” for communities and the environment – and there was “serious local concern” at the plan. Reigate MP Crispin Blunt, one of the members of the newly-formed Gatwick Coordination Group, said: “If Gatwick expands in the way that’s planned, it will need many tens of thousands of new people working there, and they are all going to need somewhere to live. The airport at the moment are providing a preposterous suggestion that these people are largely going to come from existing communities in Croydon and Brighton. Well I’m afraid that’s just simply not the case.” Mr Blunt also said no new railway line had been proposed and the London to Brighton commuter line was already “the busiest commuter line in the country” and at capacity. The other 4 MPs behind the campaign are Sir Paul Beresford, Sir Nicholas Soames, Sir John Stanley, and Charles Hendry, MP for Wealden. Crawley Conservative MP Henry Smith said he declined to endorse the press release.
MPs initiate “Gatwick Coordination Group” – saying 2nd runway is not in the local or national interest
June 17, 2014
MPs Crispin Blunt, Sir Paul Beresford, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas Soames, Rt Hon Sir John Stanley, and Charles Hendry have formed the Gatwick Coordination Group. The Group is established to represent the serious local concern at the plan for a 2nd runway. The MPs’ group released a statement saying they believe a 2nd Gatwick runway would be a disaster for the surrounding communities and environment. They say the level of development, associated with an airport serving nearly three times as many passengers as it does now, would devastate the local environment and leave the UK with its major airport in the wrong place. Also that there is no adequate plan yet presented to provide the necessary infrastructure, of all types, to support this development. “The size of the Gatwick site only lends itself to a single runway airport, serving as a sensible, competitive alternate to London’s main hub airport. While they pursue that objective, Gatwick Airport Limited will have our support, but this proposal is not in the local interest, nor is it in the national interest, and this group will work to prove that case.”