New consultation on TAG Farnborough proposals for airspace change called a blight on the countryside
In 2014 Farnborough did a consultation on changing its airspace. There were more than 13,000 comments, the vast majority overwhelmingly negative. Now “some aspects of the proposal” to the CAA have changed over many areas including parts of the South Downs National Park. More proposals from TAG Farnborough (which is a business only airport) to introduce a new area of “controlled” airspace are again open for consultation. The plans were described by East Hampshire District Council (EHDC) as “a blight on East Hampshire’s countryside, residents and businesses”. During the ongoing consultations, some of the fiercest resistance has come from Lasham Gliding Society – the UK’s largest gliding club – whose existence hangs in the balance if their airspace was reduced. TAG Farnborough currently uses class G airspace (uncontrolled airspace), which is shared with other airports and general aviation users. The proposed change would essentially mean it would have its own airspace in which to operate, and other users would be excluded. The consultation document is almost impossible for non-experts, or district or parish councils, to understand without help. The consultation is the minimum length – just 8 weeks – ending on 5th October. TAG’s proposals have been described by opponents as the equivalent of a big limousine company “buying two lanes of the M25 exclusively for the use of the rich and famous”.
PROPOSALS from TAG Farnborough Airport to introduce a new area of “controlled” airspace are again open for consultation.
But with this latest round of stakeholder input comes further criticism, including from East Hampshire District Council (EHDC) which this week described the plans as “a blight on East Hampshire’s countryside, residents and businesses”.
During the ongoing consultations, some of the fiercest resistance has come from Lasham Gliding Society – the UK’s largest gliding club – whose existence hangs in the balance.
TAG Farnborough Airport currently uses class G airspace (uncontrolled airspace), which is shared with other airports and general aviation users. The proposed change would essentially mean it would have its own airspace in which to operate.
Locally, this has proved contentious, with objections coming from East Hampshire MP Damian Hinds, EHDC, the South Downs National Park Authority and general airspace users, such as Lasham Gliding Society, whose operations would be rendered impossible by the changes.
After initial consultations in 2014, which received more than 13,000 comments, the airport submitted a formal airspace change proposal to the Civil Aviation Authority.
But now “some aspects of the proposal” have changed, including proposed flight paths in the north of Hampshire, West Sussex, and parts of the South Downs National Park.
This modification alters the “spread” of one of the proposed arrival paths, and would, TAG said, reduce the total amount of new controlled airspace they need.
It would also “simplify the crossing point with another route, improving the overall efficiency of the proposed design, and enhancing safety even further”.
But pilot and gliding society spokesman Peter Reading said the society remain “deeply concerned” about these “threatening” plans and described the new proposal as “worse” than that already detailed.
“The time for the consultation is very short, only eight weeks, which is the minimum period, despite Cabinet office guidelines which state that the consultation period should be extended over holiday period and when consulting voluntary organisations such as parish councils,” Mr Reading said.
“Of course, this consultation is outside of the skill set of parish councils and they require extra time to get advice on, in particular, the noise on the ground.”
He also explained that some of the amendments aren’t clear.
“How can any resident have any hope of assessing the noise if they don’t know the altitude of the aircraft?”
Furthermore, he highlighted that some areas with newly-lowered airspace have been left out of this latest consultation.
A spokesman from the South Downs National Park Authority added: “More flights directed on a more concentrated path and at lower altitudes over the South Downs will have an impact on the tranquillity of the national park. We are also concerned that the proposals will enable increased air traffic above the South Downs for flights approaching Gatwick.”
The area covered by the new consultation includes the majority of Liphook village centre as well as Milland, Midhurst, West Dean and other parishes just over the border in West Sussex.
EHDC leader Ferris Cowper said that flights could pass over some parts of the district at between 5,000ft and 4,000ft on their way to final approach into the airport. At this altitude, the noise could be up to 61 decibels or “the equivalent of conversational speech from one metre away”.
“Imagine sitting for a quiet lunch with friends in the garden of one of East Hampshire’s beautiful rural pubs and having to stop mid-conversation while a flight goes overhead,” Mr Cowper said. “That’s not what I would want, and it’s not what I think local residents want.
“If these proposals are approved, they could affect tourism in the South Downs National Park and damage the economy of East Hampshire and neighbouring authorities. They could also have a devastating effect on general aviation and gliding locally.
“EHDC will respond to this consultation in the strongest terms, as we did for the original consultation, and I will continue to fight for the interests of local residents and businesses.”
Currently, TAG Farnborough radar controllers have to observe and take account of non-airport traffic, which can “result in longer, less direct routings, less predictable climb or descent profiles for aircraft flying out of or into the airport”.
They said that “creating a known air traffic control environment would assist the airport in catering for an increasing number of air transport movements and do so in a way which benefits efficiency and safety for many airspace users, and the environment”.
Contrary to objectors’ fears, TAG insists this precision will lead to “fewer flights at low altitudes as arriving aircraft will remain higher for longer and departing aircraft will climb higher more quickly” – in turn resulting in a “net reduction in people overflown”.
TAG Farnborough is only for business aviation. The proposals have been described by opponents as the equivalent of a big limousine company “buying two lanes of the M25 exclusively for the use of the rich and famous”.
To comment on the consultation, which runs until October 5, visit consultation.tagfarnborough.com.
https://www.consultation.tagfarnborough.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/TAG-Farnborough-Airport-Additional-Consultation.pdf (it is pretty unintelligible to any non-expert !)
Feedback from Farnborough Airport consultation released – 98% said change unjustified
TAG Farnborough Airport has released a feedback report following its 3 month consultation (ended 12th May) on controversial plans to chance its airspace. Farnborough wants the changes to be approved by the CAA, so it can have a “more predictable flow of traffic around the airport” which it claims could mean fewer flights at low altitude and aircraft flying fewer miles. TAG has now published a feedback document on the responses. This shows there were 13,000 comments, including around 2,500 from stakeholders. They are overwhelmingly negative, with 99% of responses from general aviation negative; 98% of responses to the justification of the changes negative; and 99% negative on the alleged environmental benefits. There was a high level of concern about the proposals, and the results they would have on non-Farnborough air traffic, having to re-route. There were also concerns about the environmental impact and safety. Many also fear the plans will facilitate an increase in number of flights. A 2nd feedback report is due to be published in early 2015, before an application is submitted to the CAA, after TAG has considered whether the objections and suggested alternatives can be incorporated into a refined airspace design.
Thousands of responses against Farnborough’s airspace change proposals – especially from gliding clubs
12 MPs, South Downs National Park Authority, Goodwood Airfield and more than 3,000 people have responded to Farnborough airport’s proposal to control a vast amount of airspace across the South Downs. The airspace consultation period is coming to an end, and there has been a high level of opposition. The proposal plans to lower and narrow the airspace spanning West Sussex, South Downs National Park and Hampshire, would allow private aircraft to make uninterrupted journeys across the designated area. Gliding clubs are very unhappy about the plans as the areas of sky available for them would change. They say the changes could ‘kill’ the activities of the club. They also claimed that this move will force other aircraft to fly lower increasing aircraft noise for residents living in the South Downs. Also that the proposals could significantly increase the risks of mid-air collisions by forcing general aviation aircraft to fly in much smaller ‘corridors’ of free airspace. “These proposals are just like a limousine company buying up two lanes of the M25 exclusively for the benefit of the wealthy and famous.”
Farnborough airport consultation on hugely expanding its airspace, for questionable reasons
April 13, 2014
Farnborough airport is consulting on its plans to hugely increase the amount of airspace it controls. This will have considerable impacts on general aviation fliers and helicopters in the area, as they would not be able to fly in the new Farnborough airspace, as at present, but would have to make large detours and fly lower, causing more noise to those living nearby. The aim of the airspace grab by Farnborough is thought to be to speed up the arrival of departure of the private jets and business jets which are the users of Farnborough, so the very few passengers per plane (about 2.7 on average, on planes designed to take hugely more) are spared any small delay. The airport has had declining numbers of flights in recent years, and is nowhere near to its target number. It is therefore surprising that the airport feels the need for such a large increase in its controlled airspace.There are real fears that this is in preparation for Farnborough attempting to expand into commercial aviation. ‘Sky grabbing’ for future use for a much bigger operation? TAG could make a nice profit if it sells an airport with attached airspace!