Letter to Bo Redeborn – re. Gatwick flight path review: “Don’t let us down”

People living in areas around Penshurst, Crowborough, Tunbridge Wells, Bidborough etc began to suffer from far worse Gatwick noise from early 2014. Changes had been made to Gatwick arrivals flight paths, without consultation. There is now an independent review being undertaken, of the changes. It is being done by Bo Redeborn and Graham Lake, and will be published on 28th January. It is hoped that this will not be a whitewash. A resident from a village in West Kent has written to Bo Redeborn, expressing very clearly the necessity of the review being genuinely independent, and avoiding the ambiguities, evasions and half-truths that have plagued the whole flight path change situation from its start. The writer says: “Until or unless you are able to tell us precisely what changed, why it changed, who proposed it and who authorised it then to all intents and purposes this really is ‘vectoring choices’. If this is not PBN, if this is not SESAR, if this is not government directed policy, then this really is caused by a bunch of ATCs [Air Traffic Controllers] making arbitrary decisions to send planes down pig trails. So it can, and should, be restored ‘overnight’ as confirmed by Charles Kirwan-Taylor.” He concludes: “Mr Redeborn, an awful lot of people are depending upon you to repair their shattered lives; don’t let us down.”  See the whole letter ….
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Gatwick say (and have said many times)
“… the impression may be that something has changed, although I can assure you nothing has …”    Stewart Wingate, Chief Executive, Gatwick     18.07.14 to Charles Hendry MP

Are you sure?

2010 2014
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30.12.2015

Letter to Bo Redeborn and Graham Lake

from a resident in West Kent, living for over a year and a half under a new intensified flight path for Gatwick arrivals

 

(extracts only ….)

 

…This once beautiful location (‘one of Kent’s oldest and most beautiful villages’ – National Trust) is now a living hell and I hope that you are fully aware of the expectation that we have of a satisfactory outcome to your review.  [Review link]

What is being perpetrated in the skies above West Kent is unnecessary, is unjustifiable and is totally intolerable.

One hint of a fudge from the review and those that have had their lives destroyed would be totally justified in kicking some doors in, figuratively,…..of those that still, unbelievably, continue to lie about what has gone on and …..of those that are paid handsomely to protect us, yet for some reason choose to pass by on the other side.

…. you know what’s gone on, and you know why it’s gone on; we had to work it out for ourselves, but we know what has gone on and we know why it has gone on.

Tom Denton certainly knew what was going on – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-25741337 – and so did Stewart Wingate. Mr McNulty knew what was going on and so did the company that Mr Major advises – they stood to be the prime beneficiaries and only initiated a review under duress in order to protect its share price.

The problem is that when planes started screaming in down concentrated flight paths …. people noticed, which was something of an inconvenience as GAL [Gatwick Airport Ltd] had everything mapped out; clearly it believed that the best way to deal with the 975% increase in complaints was to ignore them.

We knew that trials to increase capacity had taken place, but Stewart Wingate lied about it; the GAL website was subsequently doctored.

GAL’s ‘consultation’ to create an aviation superhighway was botched and had to be spiked, so Gatwick imposed it anyway and this is the misery we have been left with.

Mr Redeborn, notwithstanding the vested interest of your paymasters, the results of your review will be the very essence of the people vs profit wrangle; this has become a head to head between some of the most important amenity space and heritage sites in the south east and an amoral, voracious foreign hedge fund.  It is a straight fight between the health, wealth and happiness of my family and thousands like it and the Pension fund of Korea and it is within your gift to influence the outcome.

I have read the runes and I just want to be sure that no little wrinkles or loop holes exist in your final judgement that could impact its conclusions, recommendations or adoption.

Firstly, I understand that Mr Lake said at the public meeting in Crowborough that ‘flight paths haven’t changed’; if that appears in your conclusions, I suspect it would be wise to strike that through – a 975% increase in complaints is not a result of mass hysteria it is a result of massive disrespect.

If aviation guidelines allow an amoral operator to behave in such a fashion, and an aviation expert to make such a risible pronouncement, they are not fit for purpose.

Secondly, you stated in Tunbridge Wells that ‘reverting to the situation before 2013 is not feasible’; I totally refute that statement.

Until or unless you are able to tell us precisely what changed, why it changed, who proposed it and who authorised it then to all intents and purposes this really is ‘vectoring choices’.

If this is not PBN, if this is not SESAR, if this is not government directed policy, then this really is caused by a bunch of ATCs [Air Traffic Controllers] making arbitrary decisions to send planes down pig trails. So it can, and should, be restored ‘overnight’ as confirmed by Charles Kirwan-Taylor.

If you are tempted to include the NATS statistic that 90% of approaches are CDA [continuous descent approach] that will undermine any other conclusion; planes are levelling out fully 25 miles from the runway, before joining the magic roundabout out over the High Weald and then screaming to join the ILS from below. Planes have never been this low, planes do not need to be this low. Planes cannot be this low in the future.

If you are tempted to include the following to fob us off regarding the extended joining point to the ILS –  “based on well intentioned safety improvements to reduce unstable approach risks” –  I reckon you’d be well advised to keep that one in your quiver.

GAL lobbied CAA to extend the joining point after it botched its consultation.  FOI requests proved that its justification on safety grounds were entirely bogus –  go-arounds actually increased as a proportion and the primary reason was ‘runway not clear’ – a result of trying to squeeze a quart into a pint pot.

Andrew Haines was subsequently found to be massaging and misrepresenting figures to cover GAL’s lies.  The CAA is meant to be the regulator?

There is no justification to extend the joining point on safety grounds and however ‘well intentioned’ it was, rather than restoring an 8 nm joining point I think technology would allow you to recommend something closer than the previous 7 nm – particularly as Gatwick is still touting 6.95 nm for its second runway.

The other thing that I feel has no place in your review is the Airbus ‘whine’; this is something that has been known about for a decade and only came to the fore when concentrated flight paths were created without consultation or permission and the altitude of approaches was slashed.

It is an issue that needs to be addressed but I don’t think that claiming to have ‘mitigated’ the effect of an airframe defect should be included in your review; you should identify the reason the nuisance was exacerbated in the first place and then propose how its impact can be lessened in lieu of modifications being made to the offending planes.

We have been suffering from two years of frustration, anger and aural assault – quite wilfully imposed upon an arbitrarily created minority; we have been fed lie after lie and I hope that you will take the opportunity to deliver a genuine blueprint for a return to the equitable situation that existed in the past.  I suspect that if it looks as though the future can even resemble the present – things will escalate.

We don’t have ages to wait for improvements either; unless you want to tell me otherwise, months and years of airspace planning did not go into creating this torture, so neither must there be any of the dragging of the feet that is being seen elsewhere. It was turned on overnight, it can be turned off overnight.

And if you are even tempted to suggest that things could have been just so much better if GAL’s communication and community engagement was improved, just take one look at the toe-curlingly embarassing pamphlets that were sent out recently trumpeting the arrival of Brer Dormouse in Gatwick’s green and pleasant land; in fact so fantastic are Gatwick’s green credentials that I don’t imagine it will be long until Bottlenose Dolphins are spotted pushing up the River Mole just to get a snout full of its Alpine-fresh air.

Just one thing, a slightly less glossy paper stock would make any future editions more absorbent and therefore suggest at least one useful purpose for it.

Mr Redeborn, an awful lot of people are depending upon you to repair their shattered lives; don’t let us down.

Sincerely

 

[Name supplied]


Public meeting in Crowborough hears from Bo Redeborn about his review of Gatwick flight paths

The MP for Wealden, Nus Ghani, organised a meeting on 23rd October for people in the Crowborough area who are being disturbed by flights over them, arriving at Gatwick. In August, in response to the high degree of opposition to changes to fight paths, Gatwick set up an “independent review” of air traffic, which will focus on Westerly Arrivals. This is being led by Bo Redeborn, who is being “assisted by a small independent review team which has been tasked with ensuring the involvement of local communities most affected.” The review is to look at whether everything that can reasonably be done to alleviate the problems which local communities are raising is in fact being done, (by Gatwick, NATS, CAA, DfT or the airlines); and the approaches which Gatwick has adopted for providing information to the local community and for handling complaints are fully adequate for the task. Bo Redeborn was present at the Crowborough meeting, and also Graham Lake, the Technical Adviser to the review team. They answered questions from concerned residents, who are not persuaded that Gatwick has either done enough or responded appropriately to concerns. To submit your views about Gatwick Airport to Nus Ghani MP download a copy of the consultation form: Gatwick Feedback Form.

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Gatwick announces “independent review” of Westerly Arrivals due to the extent of opposition to changed flight paths

Due to the level of disturbance, upset and anger for miles around Gatwick, from increased aircraft noise, narrowed and altered flight paths, Gatwick’s Chairman, Sir Roy McNulty, has commissioned an “independent review” of air traffic, which will focus on Westerly Arrivals (ie. planes arriving from the east, to the airport, when there are westerly winds). The review will be led by Bo Redeborn, who for many years was Principal Director of ATM for EUROCONTROL. Gatwick airport says Mr Redeborn “will be assisted by a small independent review team which has been tasked with ensuring the involvement of local communities most affected.” The review is to look at whether, for westerly arrivals: “Everything that can reasonably be done to alleviate the problems which local communities are raising is in fact being done, whether this involves action by the airport or by other parties most closely involved – NATS, CAA, DfT or the airlines.” And if Gatwick’s approach to providing “information to the local community and for handling complaints are fully adequate for the task.” Thousands of people do not believe Gatwick is succeeding on either. The review is to begin on 1st September 2015. It may end in November, but may be extended if more consultation is needed. There will be a review of Easterly Arrivals later on.

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