Gatwick Airport’s consultation on new flight paths ends on Thursday, 14th August. GACC (the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign, the well regarded main environmental body concerned with Gatwick, with nearly 100 Borough, District and Parish Councils and environmental groups in the area as members) has submitted a powerful response (GACC AIRSPACE RESPONSE). The consultation has been highly inadequate, giving no flight path detail, and GACC is therefore asking the CAA to declare it void. GACC is demanding that all the new routes should be scrapped. They are asking that Gatwick and NATS should issue a new joint consultation, with detailed maps, showing all proposed flight paths at Gatwick for arrivals and departures up to 10,000 feet. GACC is also asking that the CAA should refuse permission for any new route outside existing NPRs until Gatwick agree to a scheme for compensation. Where flight paths are now concentrated on a single narrow line GACC is calling for compensation to be given to people whose houses are devalued. According to Brendon Sewill: “The law says that, when a new motorway is built, people with houses nearby must receive fair compensation. The same should apply to new motorways in the sky.”
Scrap new flight paths, says GACC
12th August 2014 (GACC – Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign)
Gatwick Airport’s consultation on new flight paths ends on Thursday, 14 August. Link to consultation.
New flight paths introduced during the past year are causing a wave of protest across East and West Sussex, Kent and Surrey. Support for GACC (the environmental group covering the whole area around Gatwick) is growing rapidly.
Five new local anti-noise groups, linked to GACC, have been formed in recent months. These are CAGNE (Horsham), CAGNE East (Tunbridge Wells), HWPAAG (the High Weald Parishes Aircraft Action Group – eight parish councils), WAGAN (Sevenoaks Weald), and ESSCAN (Crowborough).
All these groups have several hundred members. Public meetings with several hundred angry people have been held as far afield as Penshurst near Tunbridge Wells, Crowborough in East Sussex, and Warnham near Horsham.
GACC is demanding that all the new routes should be scrapped. Brendon Sewill, GACC chairman, said: ‘There is no urgent need for these new flight paths, and it makes no sense to introduce them now before a decision is taken whether or not there is to be a new runway.’
Where flight paths are concentrated on a single narrow line (as a result of aircraft now using satellite navigation, called P-RNAV, which is like Satnavs in cars), GACC is calling for
compensation to be given to people whose houses are devalued.
According to Brendon Sewill: ‘The law says that, when a new motorway is built, people with
houses nearby must receive fair compensation. The same should apply to new motorways in the sky.’
GACC is the main environmental body concerned with Gatwick. Founded in 1968, we have as members nearly 100 Borough, District and Parish Councils and environmental groups covering about a twenty miles radius from the airport. Our committee, elected annually, represents all areas. Because we rely on rational argument and put forward constructive solutions we have had strong support in Parliament and at every level of government
The GACC response to the Gatwick airspace consultation:
Gatwick Airspace consultation
1. GACC is the main environmental group concerned with Gatwick. Founded in 1968,
we have as members nearly 100 councils and local environmental groups. Our
membership covers the whole area from Tunbridge Wells to Cranleigh, from
Reigate to Haywards Heath. The number of local anti-noise groups affiliated to
GACC, and the number of our individual members and supporters, are increasing
rapidly as a result of the severe disturbance caused by new flight paths.
2. We have shown this response in draft to all our members, and have received
universal support. So far as possible consistent with keeping this response concise,
the comments made by our members have been incorporated.The consultation
3. We request that this consultation should be withdrawn, and that the new flight paths proposed in it should be cancelled.
4. Our reasons for making this robust demand are that:
the consultation is incomprehensible to many members of the public and is
therefore not fit for purpose;
there is no urgent need for many of the proposed routes;
new concentrated flight paths should not be introduced without the promise of compensation for those most affected;
the consultation gives only half the picture because it excludes the new
proposed point-merge system for arriving aircraft, and is therefore misleading; and
there is no evidence that concentrated routes have any environmental
advantage compared to dispersed routes: research is needed so that policy
can be evidence based.
5. Many, many members of the public have complained to us that the consultation
document is excessively difficult to understand. We asked the Chief Executive of
Gatwick Airport Ltd to produce a simplified version: he refused. Little attempt has
been made to explain the issues to the public: when Gatwick Airport wished to
attract public support for their runway proposal they organised 17 exhibitions but
no such exhibitions or road-shows have been held to explain the flight path
changes. We have taken this up with the Chair of the Civil Aviation Authority,
Dame Deirdre Hutton.
6. She has told us that ‘Once the proposal has been formally submitted, the CAA will
assess it for regulatory compliance in respect of safety, consultation,
environmental impact and operational justification. As part of the assessment, we will consider the issues that were raised during the consultation and the way in which the sponsor has responded to them.’ (Email from Dame Deirdre Hutton to GACC 6 June 2014)
7. She also drew our attention to the CAA guidelines for consultations which, inter alia, state that:
Accessibility of consultation exercises
Consultation exercises should be designed to be accessible to, and clearly targeted at, those people the exercise is intended to reach.
The burden of consultation
Keeping the burden of consultation to a minimum is essential if consultations are to be effective and if consultees’ buy-in to the process is to be obtained.
8. We do not believe that the consultation by Gatwick Airport Ltd measures up to these guidelines. We are therefore sending a copy of this response to the CAA and asking them to declare the consultation void.
The Warnham trial
9. The trial of a new route over Warnham and neighbouring villages has caused intense anger.
10. The previous peace of these attractive and historic villages was suddenly shattered
without warning. We have seen many agonised letters from people who are woken
early in the morning and find an incessant stream of aircraft overhead throughout
the day. Their houses are seriously devalued, with the result that they feel
imprisoned and unable to move away. This situation has resulted in a powerful
protest and the creation of a dynamic new local group CAGNE (Communities
Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions).
11. It has brought home to all that the traditional measures of noise annoyance – Leq,
Lden etc – are meaningless in situations where noise is imposed on a previously
12. The trial should be buried and not resurrected. In this we have the support of
Rt Hon Francis Maude MP.
13. The consultation, however, suggests that it might be permanently replaced by one of three routes, A, B or C. We do not intend to comment on the rival merits and demerits of these routes. They would merely transfer the misery from one set of villages to another.
14. None of these changes are necessary or urgent. They are only being proposed in
order to enable Gatwick Airport Ltd to get a few more aircraft off the runway. But
if Gatwick is full, and if demand continues to grow, then the surplus demand will
inevitably be transferred to Stansted or other under-used airports. There is no
reason why that process should not start now.
15. Whatever the trial may have proved in terms of the technical ability of aircraft to
fly the new route, it has proved one thing above all else – that any of these three
new routes would be environmentally unacceptable. We conclude that the case
for making any change in the existing flight paths to the west has not been
made. None of the proposed new routes should be adopted, and all flights
should remain on the existing NPR.
New concentrated routes
16. New concentrated (PBN) flight paths have been introduced for departures – with no
public consultation. They are causing great distress and annoyance to the people
who are unfortunate enough to find themselves under, or in the vicinity of, a new
17.In most cases the concentrated routes are confined within the previous Noise
Preferential Routes (NPRs) and therefore do not require approval by the CAA. In
one instance, however, the new route (over Holmwood, south of Dorking) is outside
the NPR. This has been provisionally approved by the CAA but is subject to review.
The new route takes aircraft over the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural
Beauty. Many people cannot understand why it is stated in the consultation that
modern technically advanced aircraft are less capable of flying a designated route
than previous types of aircraft. We will be asking the CAA to insist that the route
be redesigned to remain within the NPR. If this is not accepted, then Gatwick
Airport Ltd (GAL) should provide compensation, as suggested below.
18. Because aircraft previously took dispersed tracks (within the NPR) people were
disturbed by comparatively few aircraft an hour. Many were prepared to accept
that. But now satellite navigation has created an entirely new situation. People
under the concentrated route suffer an almost continuous stream of aircraft. As in
the case of the Warnham trial, their peace is destroyed, they suffer a fall in the
value of their houses, and feel helpless to escape the misery inflicted on them.
19. These changes come on top of a gradual extension over the past decade or so of
the glide path for arriving aircraft which brought arriving aircraft over new areas of
west Kent, and has caused, and is causing, great anger among residents, especially
in the area from Lingfield to Tunbridge Wells, and in the High Weald Area of
Outstanding Natural Beauty.
20. We realise that the new satellite navigation system for aircraft makes it almost
inevitable that aircraft will accurately follow a single track. We recognise also
that concentrated flight paths are said to be in line with the Aviation Policy
Framework White Paper which stated that: Our overall objective on noise is to
limit and where possible reduce the number of people in the UK significantly
affected by aircraft noise.
21. That objective is commendable if it means reducing aircraft noise. There has,
however, been no research to establish whether continuous annoyance of the few
is better or worse than occasional annoyance for many. The intense anger caused
by the introduction of the concentrated routes around Gatwick suggests that in this
respect the policy may have been misconceived. (It also depends on the definition of the word ‘significantly’: it is possible that dispersal may actually mean fewer people significantly affected.)
22. We have requested local MPs to seek an amendment to the Land Compensation Act 1973. That Act provides full compensation for people whose houses are devalued by the building of a new motorway or other new road. It is necessary for the householder to prove, with a surveyor’s report, that their house has lost value compared to other similar, but unaffected, properties. The Act is well tried and has worked well. It applies to the building of new runways but does not apply to new flight paths based on existing runways.
23. The Land Compensation Act should now be amended to apply to ‘new super-highways in the sky’. Any amendment should be retrospective to an appropriate date.
24. Under the Act, compensation is paid by the body responsible for the development: in the case of new roads by the Highways Agency. If the Act were amended to include new flight paths, as implemented by GAL, the compensation would be paid by the airport. That would be in line with standard economic theory that where many benefit (in the case of Gatwick some 36 million air passengers a year) but a few suffer, the many should compensate the few.
25. It would also be in line with the Aviation Policy Framework White Paper which states (paragraph 3.39): Where airport operators are considering developments which result in an increase in noise, they should review their compensation schemes to ensure that they offer appropriate compensation to those potentially affected.
26. In their massive publicity campaign to seek permission to build a new runway, Gatwick airport have been quick to offer financial compensation to some of those likely to be affected. Indeed they have claimed that this shows that they are more public spirited, and care more about the local community, than other airports. The same should apply to new flight paths.
27. We call on Gatwick Airport Ltd to introduce on a voluntary basis a scheme to provide compensation on the same basis as the Land Compensation Act for all those whose houses are devalued as a result of concentrated flight paths.
28. We consider the benefits of respite over-rated. The procedure of using alternate routes may be welcome to some people but not to others. Too often it appears to be promoted by the aviation industry as a cure-all for the extra noise cause by airport expansion plans. In the current consultation the only respite routes offered are on arrival routes and would see one route being used every day and another every night. We feel that those who would suffer every night flight would regard that as a funny sort of respite.
29. Because of the disproportionate annoyance and anger caused by new flight paths over areas at present peaceful, most of our committee feel that in no cases should the new respite routes be introduced over such areas; some, however, feel that it would be fair to share the disturbance between more areas.
The point-merge system
30. The previous consultation, which ended in January 2014, was conducted jointly by GAL and NATS, and outlined in general terms a new ‘point-merge’ procedure for arriving aircraft. We protested strongly that this consultation was almost meaningless without maps showing where the new arrival flight paths would be, and asked that a further consultation, with maps, should be carried out when provisional plans had been made.
31. The current consultation by GAL does not cover the point-merge procedure – on the grounds that flight paths above 4,000 feet are the responsibility of NATS. It therefore covers only half the picture and is seriously misleading.
32. We understand that NATS are not intending any further consultation on the new point-merge system. That is disgraceful. People living under the merge point where all arriving aircraft will congregate will suddenly find themselves suffering intense annoyance. So will those living under the new ‘arc’ and under the new concentrated route or routes from the merge-point to the glidepath. NATS is now a private company owned by the airlines. It is not acceptable for it to behave in such a dictatorial fashion.
33. The excuse that aircraft will be above 4,000 feet and therefore the disturbance small is not valid. These new routes are likely to be above peaceful rural areas of Sussex where the aircraft will be extremely annoying. Indeed many routes will be over high ground in the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty where peace and tranquillity should have a high priority.
34. We are therefore asking the CAA to require GAL and NATS to issue a new joint consultation, with maps, showing ALL proposed flight paths at Gatwick for arrivals and departures up to 10,000 feet.
Premature before runway decision
35. The plans for a second runway currently being promoted vigorously by Gatwick Airport Ltd would, if implemented, require a complete recasting of the flight paths around Gatwick. Since it is proposed that both runways would be used in mixed mode, there would need to be parallel approach paths one kilometre apart. There would also obviously need to be parallel departure routes, with the new routes one kilometre south of the existing routes. That would immediately rule out any of the new flight paths to the west of Gatwick as outlined in this consultation.
36. Since there is no urgency (see paragraph 16 above), it is obvious common sense to wait to see whether Gatwick is recommended for a new runway before implementing any flight path changes.
37. Recently the Secretary of State for Transport decided that there should be no changes to the night flight regime for three years, until a decision had been reached on the recommendations of the Airports Commission. Exactly the same logic surely applies to changes in flight paths.
38. All flight paths changes outside existing NPRs need approval from the Secretary of State for Transport. Government guidance to the CAA also states that where an airspace change is likely to have a net significant detrimental impact on the environment, his approval is required.
39. We will therefore be sending this response to the Secretary of State, asking him to veto any changes to existing flight paths. We will also ask him to consider making a Direction under the Civil Aviation Act 1982 section 78 (6) requiring Gatwick Airport Ltd to introduce a scheme on the same basis as the Land Compensation Act to compensate any person whose house is devalued by the creation of a new concentrated flight path.
We ask Gatwick Airport Ltd to
Not implement any of the proposed new take-off routes to the west.
Introduce a voluntary scheme to provide compensation on the same basis as the
Land Compensation Act for all those whose houses are devalued as a result of
concentrated flight paths.
. We ask the CAA to
Declare this consultation void.
Require GAL (Gatwick Airport Ltd) and NATS to issue a new joint consultation, with maps, showing all proposed flight paths at Gatwick for arrivals and departures up to 10,000 feet.
Refuse permission for any new route outside existing NPRs until Gatwick Airport Ltd
agree to a scheme for compensation.
. We ask the Government to
Refuse permission for any new flight paths outside existing NPRs.
Commission research into the factors that cause annoyance so as to enable airspace design to be done intelligently and with an evidence base.
Make a Direction under the Civil Aviation Act requiring Gatwick Airport Ltd (and other Designated Airports) to compensate any person whose house is devalued by the creation of a new concentrated flight path.
Amend the Land Compensation Act to apply to new ‘super-high
The plan by Gatwick to lobby “gold, silver and bronze” opinion formers against expansion at Heathrow rival has embarrassingly backfired after a dossier setting out the airport’s campaign strategy was left on a train. It was passed to the Sunday Times, which has revealed details of the plans. Gatwick has a “target” lists of opinion formers – politicians, civil servants, business leaders (and allegedly ?? environmentalists) – whom it hopes will put pressure on the Airports Commission and its members. There is a list of around 100 “gold tier” individuals, best able to exercise influence. Gatwick not only wants their target subjects to promote their runway, but also “neutralise the prevailing default bias that we perceive exists in favour of Heathrow”. Gatwick has commissioned a noise study by the CAA undermining Heathrow’s implausible claim that fewer people would suffer aircraft noise if it got a 3rd runway and increased flights by some 50%. Unsurprisingly the Gatwick study indicates far more people would be affected by Heathrow noise, with a 3rd runway at full capacity. Heathrow criticised Gatwick for not publishing all the technical documents related to its expansion plans, saying: “It is a shame that the only way anyone can scrutinise Gatwick’s plans is when their executives leave documents on a train.”
A SECRET Gatwick dossier detailing how to win over decision makers for expansion plans was left on a train.
The document, which was sent to a Sunday newspaper, includes plans to draw up “target lists” of key politicians and decision makers who could sway the decision in their favour.
The plans seek to influence the Airports Commission, which will submit its recommendations to government next year as to how the UK can maintain its global airport hub status.
The three leading proposals are a second runway at Gatwick, a third runway at Heathrow or the creation of a new airport in the Thames Estuary.
The secret dossier says Gatwick should target around 100 “gold tier” people with the most influence on the commission.
The plans reveal how Gatwick executives will try to win over gold targets as well as getting onside their close advisors, known as the “silver tier”.
The dossier states that one so-called target, former CIA analyst Dame DeAnne Julius, is backing Gatwick’s case.
The dossier also states the intention to “neutralise the prevailing default bias in favour of Heathrow”.
It mentions a secret noise study aimed at undermining Heathrow’s claim that fewer people would suffer from aircraft noise if a third runway was built there.
Heathrow states the number of people “significantly annoyed” by aircraft noise would drop from 237,350 to between 187,000 and 202,900 due to quieter aircraft and steeper landing approaches.
In the dossier, Gatwick describes the figures as “disingenuous”. It also reveals bosses commissioned the Civil Aviation Authority to model the noise impact of their rival’s potential third runway.
Gatwick’s campaign is overseen by Godric Smith, a former spin doctor to Tony Blair. A Gatwick spokeswoman said: “We want as many people as possible to understand our case. We are playing catch up with Heathrow’s decades of lobbying for a third runway.”
Gatwick employs high profile PR man Godric Smith (ex Tony Blair, Olympics, BBC) to boost runway campaign
Gatwick airport is spending a lot of money (the figure of £10 million for their PR budget has been mentioned, but this may be an under-estimate) on their lobbying to win over key hearts and minds to their runway plan. Their new campaign, with glossy adverts on the underground, large numbers of public presentations etc “Gatwick Obviously” is spending lavishly. Now Gatwick has announced that they are employing a high profile PR consultant, Godric Smith, to help them in their political battle against Heathrow, for the runway. Godric used to work as spokesman for Tony Blair. He then worked on communications for the Olympics. He was also brought in to the BBC (part time, at £150,000 per year) to sort out their bad publicity issues. Godric Smith has his own consultancy called Incorporated London. Gatwick already has existing relationships for public relations with Fishburn and London Communications Agency. Godric Smith is said to have extensive Whitehall experience and “first-class contacts across the spectrum and a very good understanding of how government works”. The airport is also reviewing its digital and consumer agencies.
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.
GREG CLARK, MP for Tunbridge Wells, has called on Gatwick Airport Ltd to reconsider the “flawed” consultation on aircraft noise and emissions, which closes next week, urging them to “go back to the drawing board.”
In a letter seen exclusively by the Courier, Greg Clark ( the Minister for Universities, Science and Cities) slams the controversial consultation, which has caused outrage among his constituents, not just for what it proposes but for how the consultation has been managed.
Concerns that Gatwick may be trialling a ‘superhighway’ have been raised by campaigners, although repeatedly denied by the airport, who say that an increase in noise recently is due to a seasonal trend, with more families jetting off on holiday in the summer months. [Note – no mention of vital business connections for the UK economy – just cheap holiday flights, mainly taking money out of the UK].
In the letter, sent yesterday to Stewart Wingate, the chief executive of Gatwick Airport Ltd, Mr Clark wrote: “Many of my constituents are affected by flights at Gatwick. While we benefit from the proximity of an international airport in terms of convenience and employment, the impact in terms of noise and disturbance is very significant.
“This disturbance has considerably worsened recently. You have provided me with written assurance that this is not because of any change to routes or landing patterns, but because of increased activity which is partly seasonal and partly to do with a reviving economy, but nevertheless many of my constituents have been disturbed and dismayed by much higher levels of aircraft noise this summer.”
Mr Clark has met with representatives of Gatwick in recent months and held a meeting at the House of Commons on July 14 with Tom Denton, head of corporate responsibility at the airport, and National Air Traffic Services (NATS) manager of air traffic control at Gatwick, Andy Taylor, to raise concerns.
In the letter, he reiterated the points made in the meeting, echoing campaigners’ fears that the consultation has been too vague.
“However, I am afraid to say that the consultation has been unfit for its purpose,” Mr Clark wrote. “The 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.
“I know from discussion with constituents and their councils that they regard the proposals being put forward as too ill defined to comment properly.”
He wrote: “It seems most likely that the proposal is for the centre of the main route to overfly Langton Green, Speldhurst, Rusthall and Bidborough in my constituency. If that is indeed the case, it is totally unacceptable.
“This is an area of substantial residential settlements, which is home to many thousands of people. All of them would have significantly increased levels of noise compared to the current, more dispersed pattern of flight arrivals.”
Referring to Government policy, which states that aircraft routes should cause as little disturbance to residential areas as possible – something disputed by campaigners in the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), who say they will suffer disproportionately if that goes ahead, Mr Clark called for a rethink.
“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.”
He concluded: “A successful Gatwick airport is of great benefit to us all but to ensure that it can be successful in the future, it is crucial that Gatwick treats its neighbours with respect including acting transparently with full disclosure and a concern to minimise the impact on people affected.
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.
Gatwick admits to sacrificing the lives of those in countryside to satisfy its expansion plans
July 11, 2014
The Gatwick flight path trial, and other intensified flight paths associated with Gatwick, continue to cause not only annoyance but real distress to perhaps thousands in the area. In an article reported in part of the aviation media, some of the anger and frustration comes across, as well as the callous manner in which Gatwick airport appears to view people who live in the countryside, and whose quality of life has been attacked by plane noise. Stewart Wingate is reported as saying “Why would you choose to fly a quarter of a million more planes every year over one of the world’s most densely populated cities (London) when instead you can fly them mostly over fields.” His ignorant comment about the area over-flown by Gatwick planes as just fields has enraged people. The article says Mr Wingate “appears to suggest sacrificing the lifestyle, peace and quiet of those who have chosen to live outside cities for the profit of a few – the foreign owners of Gatwick Airport.” The airport has already started the process of ‘Air Grab’ over a number of Sussex towns and villages. That is a frightening prospect when Mr Wingate has said his ambition is to make Gatwick larger than Heathrow is today.
Tunbridge Wells & Bidborough residents, and High Weald parishes unite against Gatwick runway plans
June 21, 2014
The threat of a 2nd Gatwick runway is a very real one for people living under existing flight paths, and in areas where new flight paths are likely. Now villages 20 miles out to the east from Gatwick have formed an action group to campaign against Gatwick’s expansion plans. The Parish Councils of Chiddingstone, Hever, Leigh and Penshurst have formed the High Weald Parish Councils Aviation Action Group. There is also a new, and highly active, group at Bidborough, BEAG. At a meeting on 17th June in Tunbridge Wells the noise problem of existing an new flights paths was discussed. Local people fear a new Gatwick ‘Superhighway’ route across their area, with some 350 planes per day – all the aircraft arriving at Gatwick from the south – in a concentrated stream above West Kent most of the year from 06:30-11:30 hours without respite. There is real opposition to the noise nuisance, and reduction in the quality of life, of thousands from the flight paths. There is also real concern about the noise’s negative impact on the tourism industries of West Kent – such as the unique and historically valuable Hever Castle and Penshurst Place.
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 happening, 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.
Crispin Blunt investigates recent increase in aircraft noise
7.8.2014 (Redhill Councillors)
by Councillor Julian Ellacott
Following a recent increase in complaints of increased aircraft noise over Redhill and Earlswood, Crispin Blunt today visited Gatwick Airport for an explanation, and also met with Heathrow and the MP for Mole Valley, Sir Paul Beresford, to identify the cause of the increase in overflight noise, and investigate potential remedies and future trends in aircraft noise patterns.
Following today’s meetings, Crispin Blunt said:
“What follows is necessarily complex and I will be doing further work on this with Sir Paul Beresford MP. I understand the situation to be as follows:
Since 1st April 2014, aircraft taking off from Gatwick Airport have been guided by new technology called Precision Area Navigation (PR-NAV) system. This change is consistent with Department for Transport policy to make routes more tightly controlled and is a precursor to the implementation of the UK’s Future Airspace Strategy which, in turn, is a requirement of the European Aviation Authority’s Single European Skies programme, required to be delivered by 2019.
The next stage of this process is being consulted on now by Gatwick Airport Limited and National Air Traffic Control and I have already registered my concern about the potential implications of this for constituents in the south of the Redhill/Reigate area, but this is at least 18 months away from implementation and will be subject to further decisions, not least approval by the Secretary of State for Transport.
It is the new navigation system which has meant that flights take off in a similar pattern as before, but follow a much narrower air corridor over Redhill and Earlswood which has reduced the area over which people are overflown, but concentrated the amount of noise that a smaller number of residents who remain on the narrower flight path have to suffer. However, it appears that ascending aircraft are being held low by the National Air Traffic Services over Redhill, so that they don’t fly near to aircraft stacking prior to landing at Heathrow, but are tracking north closer to Redhill than before. However, as the Future Airspace Strategy progresses, aircraft associated with Heathrow may be held in a different area, (part of the wider de-confliction associated with the complete overhaul of European airspace management), allowing Gatwick-associated aircraft to climb faster and therefore higher before they cross into our more densely populated Borough. But this process will not take place in the next two years or so and will only be completed by 2019.
Gatwick’s control tower only guides planes to an altitude of 4,000 ft, when NATS takes over, and planes reach this point before they cross into the Borough and over Redhill and Earlswood. Therefore, I intend to approach the Civil Aviation Authority and NATS and ask them to investigate whether planes can be held on the narrower path for longer, perhaps until they cross the M23, so that they don’t diffuse over the wider community until they are at a much higher altitude, and away from the main local population centre. This addresses the 75% of flights when leaving Gatwick into the prevailing westerly wind and turning to fly to northern European destinations. I hope this may address the noise nuisance increase identified in the last few months.
Overall, although airspace patterns and aircraft technology might eventually mitigate or lessen noise disturbances for those under aircraft leaving Gatwick today, no one should be in any doubt that a second runway at Gatwick Airport, and potentially a trebling in air movements, could make this problem a lot worse. But for those under approach paths, including those living in Dormansland, Smallfield, Lingfield and Newchapel, the prospect of second runway is horrendous in noise nuisance terms. The rest of us would have to bear the burden of a massive increase in local housing to accommodate 122,000 new jobs generated, and all the associated infrastructure or the collapse of our existing local services under the strain.
Quite a good time to join the local action group, GACC (Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign – www.gacc.org.uk), I suggest!”
The process of “vectoring” aircraft away from the SIDs (Standard Instrument Departure routes) causes pain at any airport one cares to mention.
People affected by Luton are in the same position as “departures are held low to avoid a Heathrow arrivals stack” – in the Luton case the Bovingdon stack. It is likely that stack will be moved, but it is not a win-win. Some other poor community not currently afflicted by aircraft noise will have the arrivals wished upon them whether “point merge” works or not.
Stop Stansted Expansion has been campaigning to raise the vectoring height at Stansted for similar reasons. On stacks, we’ve said that it’s quite practical now to sequence flights from gate to gate so that the need for holding is much reduced. And the UK is at last developing “real time departure information sharing” at UK airports and linking to Europe to reduce delays – something the Davies Commission recommended as a tool for Collaborative Decision Making. It’s a type of facility already operating in Germany,
Boris Johnson has announced plans to contest a seat in the summer 2015 election and is understood to be in talks to stand in Uxbridge and South Ruislip. He has been included on the official Conservative candidates list, allowing him to stand in Uxbridge. However, the constituency in west London contains thousands of voters who work at Heathrow who would fiercely oppose Mr Johnson’s candidacy. Boris has described a Heathrow 3rd runway as “bollocks”, and also said he will continue to campaign against high-speed rail. Boris believes, along with his completely unworkable and impossibly environmentally damaging Thames estuary airport scheme, that Heathrow should be close down and turned into a “tech city” with housing areas, a university etc. The Labour candidate running in the Uxbridge constituency opposes closing Heathrow and will try and turn any contest with Boris into a debate about Heathrow. A body of opinion believes Boris will have difficulty in winning in Uxbridge unless he reverses his call for Heathrow to be closed. Boris has described Heathrow as “a dead duck” and said he will “fight to my dying breath” to halt a 3rd runway.
Boris Johnson’s opposition to Heathrow could derail MP bid
Boris Johnson’s bid to become an MP could be in doubt because of his desire to see Heathrow closed and a four-runway estuary airport built in the Thames
Boris Johnson’s return to Parliament could be derailed because of his plans to close Heathrow and open an airport in the Thames Estuary.
The Mayor of London, who on announced plans to contest a seat in next year’s election and is understood to be in talks to stand in Uxbridge and South Ruislip.
However, the constituency in west London contains thousands of voters who work at Heathrow who would fiercely oppose Mr Johnson’s candidacy.
Mr Johnson believes Heathrow should be turned into a “tech city” so that the capital’s main airport can be moved out of the city and on to a floating island in the estuary.
The Labour candidate running in the constituency, Chris Summers, opposes closing Heathrow and will try and turn any contest against Mr Johnson into a debate about the future of the airport.
A series of voters and business leaders told LBC Radio that Mr Johnson would not win in the constituency unless he reverses his call for Heathrow to be shut down.
Mr Johnson described Heathrow as “a dead duck” and said he will “fight to my dying breath” to halt a third runway.
Some Conservatives feel that Mr Johnson’s return to Parliament will destabilise David Cameron because it will lead to intense speculation about Mr Johnson’s leadership ambitions.
Mr Johnson yesterday appeared to challenge Mr Cameron’s position on the European Union by insisting that reforming Britain’s relationship with Brussels would be “easy”.
The Mayor this week said that Britain has “nothing to fear” by voting to leave the EU in an in-out referendum if Mr Cameron is unable to change the UK’s relationship with Brussels.
In an interview with the Evening Standard, he rejected claims that the reforms he is demanding will be impossible to achieve in time for the referendum Mr Cameron has promised to hold in 2017.
Mr Johnson said: “I’m not so pessimistic. I think you could easily.”
In the interview, Mr Johnson disclosed that he has been included on the official Conservative candidates list, allowing him to stand in Uxbridge.
One London Tory MP said Mr Johnson would have to “temper” his views on closing Heathrow and building a new airport hub to the east of London.
Another Conservative said: “This could be a real problem. The seat has a majority of 11,000 but thousands of people who work in Heathrow live in the constituency and many thousands more are reliant on the airport for their incomes. He may have chosen the wrong place to stand.”
Chris Summers, the Labour candidate standing in the constituency, said: “So many people in Uxbridge and South Ruislip either work at Heathrow or have businesses which rely very much on it.
“They will be distraught that somebody who is [standing is] so hostile to Heathrow and actually wants it to close down.”
Bill Gritts, who runs Wings coach service, said: “In the surrounding areas it would have a major, major effect.”
He added: “If this is his manifesto for him to become the MP for Uxbridge, then I don’t think he is going to end up as an MP for Uxbridge.”
Other seats Mr Johnson is thought to be considering include Hertsmere and Hornchurch and Upminster.
To be party leader Mr Johnson has to win over backbench MPs and he has been courting the 2010 intake, which accounts for more than half of the Conservative Parliamentary party.
However, there is less support among him among older MPs from the 2005 intake and earlier who remember his unsuccessful stint as an Opposition education spokesman.
One senior member of the backbench 1922 committee is known to be particularly disparaging about Mr Johnson’s chances of advancement once he is an MP.
Boris Johnson is the favoured candidate to be the next Conservative leader among both the party’s supporters and the general public, according to an opinion poll released on Sunday.
A YouGov survey for the Sun on Sunday found 34% of people wanted the mayor of London, who is planning to stand for parliament next year, to take over when David Cameron stands down, with that figure rising to 50% among Tory backers.
The findings will increase the Westminster frenzy that has followed last week’s announcement by Johnson that he hopes to become an MP at next year’s general election while staying on as mayor.
In an interview with the Sunday Times that may make uncomfortable reading for Cameron, Johnson discusses his own “ruthless energy” and says he took the job of mayor to gain administrative experience.
Johnson’s friends said that he is in touch with Tory party officials in the Uxbridge and South Ruislip constituency in west London where the sitting MP, Sir John Randall, is stepping down. Three candidates will be chosen by 28 August before the final selection is made by 12 September.
They played down the possibility of Johnson seeking to become leader of the Conservative party, saying he has no plans to challenge Cameron.
But one MP said Johnson has no ambitions to serve under Cameron, and was moving into the perfect position to make a challenge if next year’s election does not bring an overall Tory majority.
“He doesn’t want to serve under Cameron. It is not his style. But he wants to show what he can do on the biggest stage of all, of course he does,” he said.
In the Sunday Times, Johnson appears to criticise a number of policies that are supported by one of his rivals for leadership, George Osborne.
Johnson described support for a third runway at Heathrow as “bollocks”, saying he will continue to campaign against high-speed rail, and appears to express support for green targets – all positions thought to be contrary to Osborne’s.
The Mail on Sunday reported that dozens of Tory MPs are prepared to vote against the first Queen’s speech of the new government in a bid to replace Cameron with Johnson, if the Tory leader enters into another coalition with the Liberal Democrats.
This would happen if the Tories failed to win an overall majority and were forced into a coalition with other political parties, the paper claims.
Nearly all polls have predicted the Tories will fall short of an overall majority in 2015.
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.”
Tomorrow, Gatwick’s ADNID trial will end just one week before its scheduled date, after almost six months of intense misery for many of my constituents.
It began on 17th February without prior warning, and although it may be a plausible argument that advance notice might have coloured people’s perception of it, there was no doubt that by 8am on that Monday morning many residents – in Warnham particularly – were shocked beyond belief by the new intensity of the flights.
Since then I have been back and forth to the airport, the CAA, NATS and the Secretary of State for Transport who has written to me again following our recent meeting. The full text of the letter appears on my website, [AirportWatch is still trying to track this letter down …. so far without success …..] but the main points are these:
•London airspace is hugely busy and complex, and needs more capacity
•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 fight paths, allowed by better on-board navigation systems
•As part of this goal, it is claimed that a new Noise Preferential Route must be adopted, and the current consultation (which ends on 14thAugust) aims to collect data on which of three routes is most preferred by local residents
.•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 to be taken into account, and this is our best hope of seeing off this threat. I continue to argue that within a few miles of an airport most people expect to be aware of planes, but as long as the nuisance is equitably shared, it is bearable and a trade-off against the convenience of having an airport nearby (for businesses as well as travellers). What is intolerable is when fewer people are very intensively overflown, to the extreme detriment of their lives
.•I also argue that as heights are counted above mean sea level, which does make sense as the only realistic datum, communities in elevated positions should have that elevation taken into account
.•As there seem to be many complaints about the airspace consultation itself, I have sought reassurance that the consultation being run by IpsosMori will be independently scrutinised by the CAA, using the raw data if necessary.
The CAA have also published their April Board Meeting Minutes and these include a section on the ADNID trial in the Chief Executive’s Report :
“6. As part of the Performance Based Navigation (PBN) initiatives, Gatwick airport and NATS are trialling new departure routes. The ADNID Standard Instrument Departure trial has attracted many complaints from residents in Warnham, which is an area of a “high level of tranquillity” within 2 Km of the trial route. CAA is encouraging NATS and Gatwick to proactively manage communications with those affected and is also challenging NATS and Gatwick to ensure that the trial is ended as soon as sufficient data is available. It was confirmed that the CAA had handled the initiation of the trial in accordance with the Air Navigation Guidance issued by the Secretary of State. Should NATS or Gatwick wish to propose an airspace change that included the ADNID route it would be subject to full consultation requirements. The Board acknowledged the levels of local interest and the fact that an absolute level of noise is not a measure of public irritation and that different groups of people have different expectations of acceptable levels of ambient noise.”
A member of AirportWatch comments that it is not clear that the “initiation of the trial” was in accordance with the DfT Guidance. The CAA are supposed to determine the extent of the necessary consultation before the trial on the basis of the impact assessment provided by the trial sponsors. I don’t believe there was one.
The ADNID trial ends on Friday, just one week early. I regret that we have not been able to bring about its earlier demise.
Many of you have expressed your exasperation at the way in which it was inflicted, and I know that most of you on this address list have also registered your views with the CAA, Gatwick Airport, NATS, the Department for Transport, Horsham District Council and West Sussex County Council.
I have continued throughout the trial period to focus on two things:
– Promoting the essential fairness of dispersing flights rather than concentrating them, even if the latter is apparently justified by claiming fewer numbers of people being overflown
– 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.
I recently met with Patrick McLoughlin, Secretary of State at the Department for Transport, and attach a copy of his letter to me following the meeting. I also attach a copy of my County Times article which appears this week.
I would urge you to respond to the flightpath consultation before it closes on 14th August if you have not done so already. If it is your view that no new NPRs should be adopted, you may offer that view, although it is not immediately apparent.
Many of you already know that after the recent roadshow by Gatwick Airport to determine which of three options was the favourite plan for their second runway site, very many more people opted for no second runway at all than the total of those who expressed a preference for one of the second runway options. Depending on the way in which the figures are interpreted, this ranges from twice as many to 5.6 times as many.
Many of you have also reported that you find the consultation too long, and far too technical for a layman to complete. I understand that Gatwick claim to have tried to achieve a balance between giving too much technical information and not giving enough, but if you still have serious concerns about the methodology and design of the consultation, the Secretary of State offers a route for you to express those concerns.
This debate is by no means over yet. I cannot express a preference for one scheme above another, in public or private, as it would be invidious for me to support an option that advantages one group of constituents at the expense of others. I am able to ensure that the voices of all my constituents are being heard loud and clear, so that the ultimate decision-makers are in no doubt at all about the effects of their decisions.
The Horsham Parliamentary constituency benefits enormously from its close proximity to Gatwick Airport. Many people work at Gatwick and commute from it – it’s a key part of the regional and local economy.
A regular visitor to Gatwick, Francis is keen for it to flourish – but only as a single runway airport.
A legal agreement preventing a second runway is due to expire in 2019 and Francis has long campaigned against future plans being developed. He is a supporter of the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign and chairs a group of local authorities and MPs who are all against a second runway.
Adding another runway would increase Gatwick’s capacity from 45m to 80m passengers a year and would require a new town the size of Crawley to be built in the area. There would be many environmental implications, already struggling local infrastructure would be further challenged and many more local residents would suffer from noise pollution.
When, in December 2009, BAA sold Gatwick to Global Infrastructure Partners, Francis was quick to point out to the new Board that the local community did not want an additional runway and that the airport could expand without one.
The Board later ruled out a second runway and Francis spoke out about how pleased he was that the campaign had met with early success.
In Dec 2013 The news from the Airports Commission led by Sir Howard Davies announcing that Gatwick has been short-listed by the Government as a potential 2nd runway option is disappointing for those of us concerned about a second runway at Gatwick.
Building a second runway would have huge environmental impacts with noise pollution the greatest, and this is seen to be the biggest single concern about its feasibility although the commission report does describe significant improvements in aircraft fuel efficiency and noise footprint. The second concern is the need for much improved local infrastructure and for many more houses to be built in an area where local councils are already struggling to meet the targets, the paradox being that the provision of these houses would ensure that many more families would be subject to the noise pollution. The Commission report suggests that Gatwick, London City and Luton are all forecast to become full by 2030 across a range of scenarios regardless of whether or not there is an additional runway, and by 2050 the carbon capped forecast is predicted to have risen still further to more than 95% of available capacity. The good news is that work of the Commission is not yet done, and has so far only confirmed this need for increased runway capacity somewhere in the south. It has shortlisted two options for new runways at Heathrow and one at Gatwick, and more work is to be done on the option of creating an entirely new hub airport in the Thames estuary. It is inevitable that when the decision is made there will be as many people frustrated and disappointed as will be excited at the prospect of growth in the local economy. I will continue with other West Sussex MPS to ensure that the voice of local people is heard throughout the decision making process
Birmingham airport’s is encouraged by a decision by Air India to increase the number of flights between Birmingham, Delhi and Amritsa from 4 per week to 7 per week. This will start from November, when its 18th Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft is inducted into service. Birmingham has now had direct flights to India for one year, after having none for 5 years. Though some passengers are on business, the majority are tourists and people visiting friends and relatives in India. Having three more flights per week will mean an extra 1,500 seats a week, as the Air India Dreamliners have 256 seats (256 x 3 x 2 = 1,5360. Paul Kehoe, Birmingham Airport’s Chief Executive, said “The West Midlands receives more foreign direct investment from India than any other region outside of London and Birmingham’s VFR (visiting friends and family) market grew by 71% in 2013, now attracting more visitors from India than any English city other than London.” The runway extension, that opened in April, is enabling more flights to longer haul destinations. The flight path trials, due to the runway extension, are causing real concern and distress to those south of the airport, now finding themselves seriously overflown.
Birmingham Airport’s global aspirations boosted as Air India extends services
6.8.2014 (The Business Desk)
By Duncan Tift – Deputy Editor, West Midlands
BIRMINGHAM Airport’s aspirations to be a global hub have been boosted with a decision by Air India to boost its services from the facility.
Air India has committed to increase its Birmingham-Delhi-Amritsar operation from four flights per week to daily services from November, when its 18th Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft is inducted into service.
The decision coincides with the first anniversary of the renewal of flights by Air India between Birmingham and the sub-continent following a five year absence.
Announcing the growth plans, the airline’s Commercial Director, Pankaj Srivastava, said: “Since starting our four times weekly Dreamliner programme from Birmingham Airport last year, we have handled more than 80,000 passengers on board 210 flights, serving business passengers, tourists and people visiting friends and relatives.
“Air India is committed to develop and grow in this market and once we have taken the delivery of our 18th Dreamliner aircraft in November, we hope to launch the daily operation from Birmingham Airport.
“This will provide an extra 1,500 seats a week and give passengers greater choice, flexibility and opportunity to travel from the convenience of Birmingham Airport to Amritsar and Delhi, and onwards on Air India’s extensive global network.”
Air India’s current schedule operates from Birmingham each Saturday, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday on its 256-seat B787 Dreamliner aircraft.
Paul Kehoe, Birmingham Airport’s Chief Executive, said: “We are extremely thankful to Air India for recognising the demand from travellers needing the flexibility of daily services from Birmingham.
“The West Midlands receives more foreign direct investment from India than any other region outside of London and Birmingham’s VFR market grew by 71% in 2013, now attracting more visitors from India than any English city other than London.
“It’s therefore not surprising that the route has been such a success in its first year and I am certain that a daily service would make the Birmingham route even more appealing to Midlands’ travellers.”
Heathrow knows it cannot get a 3rd runway unless it can somehow persuade people that there will be less noise from 50% more aircraft than there is today. In order to try and achieve this miraculous result, some massaging of figures is needed, and some clever use of statistics. In reality, it is likely that with three runways, tens of thousands of people in west London would lose half of their daily “noise-free” period (from runway alternation – switching runway at 3pm). HACAN, the group campaigning against the noise impacts of Heathrow, and thus against Heathrow’s expansion, say some areas would have planes passing overhead every 90 seconds for a “nightmarish” 13 hours a day. HACAN discovered the noise data “buried” in an appendix to one of Heathrow’s reports sent to the Airports Commission and “slipped out” before the holidays. It appears likely that residents under the southern flight path, including areas such as Richmond, would lose almost 4 hours of their 8 hour quiet period. People living under the current northern flight path would continue to get about 8 hours of respite but HACAN claim this would be spoiled for many because they would hear aircraft from one of the two other runways on either side of them.
‘One plane every 90 seconds for 13 hours if Heathrow third runway is built’
Noise pollution: a jumbo jet comes in to land at Heathrow
Tens of thousands of people in west London will lose half of their daily “noise-free” moments if a third runway goes ahead, campaigners said today.
Some areas would have planes passing overhead every ninety seconds for a “nightmarish” 13 hours a day, anti-expansion group Hacan claimed.
The warning comes after Airports Commission chief Sir Howard Davies signalled that his report, due next summer, will recommend at least one new runway for the South-East, with Heathrow and Gatwick shortlisted for expansion.
Residents under the southern flight path, including areas such as Richmond, would lose almost four hours of peace, it claimed. They currently enjoy an eight-hour break when the planes switch runways at 3pm, but this would drop to just over four hours.
People living under what is now the northern flight path would continue to get about eight hours of respite but Hacan claimed this would be spoiled for many because they would hear aircraft from one of the two other runways on either side of them.
John Stewart, chairman of the pressure group, said: “The prospect of 13-hour flying is nightmarish. Quite simply, many communities are going to be hammered if a third runway is built.
“Heathrow Airport hasn’t hidden the information but the fact that it is buried in an appendix shows how reluctant they are to spell out the implications of a new runway.”
A Heathrow spokesperson responded: “We have sought to maintain the principle of runway alternation and have submitted several flight path options to the Airports Commission.
“This includes a scenario that optimises periods of predictable respite, which local communities have told us is more important than exposing new communities to noise. If a third runway is recommended, we plan to consult with local communities on how respite could be delivered.”
The Conservatives are likely to drop their 2010 pledge to rule out a third runway when they publish their 2015 manifesto. The Liberal Democrats are expected to continue opposing Heathrow expansion but are debating whether to drop their opposition to Gatwick having a second runway.
Heathrow airport today published official figures to hit back at claims from London Mayor Boris Johnson that it had underestimated the noise of a proposed third runway.
It claimed that 28 to 45% fewer people would be affected by aircraft noise when the three-runway airport reached full capacity by 2040.
This would be the equivalent of 200,000 to 325,000 fewer people suffering under the flight path, according the figures based on the EU’s 55 decibel “Lden” measure and verified by the Civil Aviation Authority.
Using the same measure, the Mayor claimed in May that Heathrow had understated third runway noise using 2030 forecasts when the expanded airport would not be at full capacity.
Mr Johnson, who wants to shut the west London airport and replace it with an Estuary hub, said Heathrow had not taken population rises into account and was too optimistic about technological advances making planes quieter.
The new noise figures come as the Government is tomorrow due to publish its plans for a short-term fix to the aviation capacity crisis short of a new runway. Heathrow also published indi- cative flight paths which it says proves its case that an airport can be expanded in tandem with noise reduction.
Matt Gorman, Heathrow sustainability director, said: “The CAA’s modelling shows we can cut aircraft noise while delivering the long-haul flights Britain needs to prosper. The flight paths we are publishing are indicative only and will be subject to debate and consultation if a third runway is approved.”
John Stewart, of anti-expansion group HACAN, said: “I remain very sceptical about these claims that as many as 45 per cent fewer people will be affected by noise, despite flight numbers increasing by 280,000 a year.
“My feeling is these numbers have been rushed out to counter Boris Johnson’s potential damaging recent revelations that Heathrow’s previous noise claims were based on the third runway being just a third full.
“I suspect the only way they can cut the numbers affected by 45 per cent is to concentrate planes over particular communities so as to free others from noise. It’s the noise ghetto solution.”
Many residents living near Reigate have recently reported increased aircraft noise. This may have been due to planes arriving at, or departing from, Heathrow. That is the claim from Gatwick Airport’s chief executive Stewart Wingate, who has assured residents the offending noise is not due to flight path changes at his airport. The Heathrow “WebTrak” website shows (approximately – not 100% accurate) the positions and tracks of aircraft arriving at, or departing from, Heathrow. The Gatwick “Casper” website also shows the tracks of planes arriving at, or departing from, Gatwick. Both these websites show aircraft in the vicinity of Reigate. The WebTrak record suggests planes stacking, waiting to land at Heathrow, at about 9,000 to 9,600 feet. Planes taking off from Heathrow, flying near Reigate, would be a bit higher than 6,000 feet. Planes taking off from Gatwick are also shown in the area close to Gatwick, at 5,500 to 6,000 feet. So it appears people in the area south of Reigate may be subjected to planes using both airports.
Section of screenshot of some Heathrow flights on 3.8.2014 fromWebTrakshowing a plane (red) arrival, waiting to land at Heathrow. These planes are at an altitude of around 9,000 to 9,600 feet
Section of screenshot of some Heathrow flights on 2.8.2014 fromWebTrakshowing a plane (green) departing, having taken off from Heathrow. These planes are at an altitude of around 6,200 feet.
Section of screen shot from Gatwick’s”Casper” website, on part of 3.8.2014 showing tracks of planes departing from Gatwick, flying south of Reigate. Planes taking off and flying over Reigate would be at an altitude of approximately 5,500 to 6,000 feet. http://flighttracking.casper.aero/lgw/
Comment from a local resident:
GAL (Gatwick Airport) are reported to have said it is all Heathrow traffic´which is rubbish. I quite often check overflights over Redhill and there is as much Gatwick traffic as Heathrow traffuc – and it is usually lower. An Emirates A380 at 3,000ft climbing isn´t peaceful !
Gatwick CEO: ‘Planes over Reigate could be from Heathrow’
4.8.2014 (Surrey Mirror) By Chris Madden email@example.com
Aircraft disturbing residents in Reigate could be coming from Heathrow. That is the claim from Gatwick Airport’s chief executive Stewart Wingate, who has assured residents the offending noise is not due to flight path changes at his airport.
This week, the Mirror has received a number of letters from residents of Reigate complaining about aeroplanes waking them at around 5am. Gatwick is currently trialling a new flight path which allows aircraft to take off in a straight line – but airport bosses say they are climbing to the south west of the airport, over Warnham in Sussex. Mr Wingate said any appearance of more planes over Reigate was nothing to do with the test.
Though some Gatwick routes do currently pass close to the town, they are not new flight paths. “They are probably from Heathrow,” he said. “We, at Gatwick, haven’t got a [flight path] over the countryside at Reigate.”
The six-month flight path trial, which involves planes heading south away from the airport, began in February. It is being used to test new tracking technology which should make it easier for planes to fly directly along tighter, designated paths rather than in broad swathes as they do currently. No consultation was held for this trial because it is not a permanent change and is being used only to test new technology.
However, this route is one of those being considered in a separate airspace consultation being carried out by Gatwick.
The airport is currently consulting on new approach and departure flight paths – or noise preferential routes (NPR). The new proposed routes are narrower than the current corridors used by planes flying around Gatwick and could see more aircraft passing over a narrower area.
The Gatwick flight path trial ends on August 15 and the aim is that the new technology being trialled will help pilots fly along the newly defined narrower corridors. Maps showing the proposed routes – which were drawn up following an initial consultation in the spring – can be seen on Gatwick’s website.
Mr Wingate said: “The policy in the country is that airports are encouraged to take narrower flight paths over fewer people.” The first phase of the NPR consultation, earlier this year, allowed residents to outline areas which should be avoided. Now residents have two more weeks to have their say on proposed routes which could lead to more planes over Salfords and Sidlow, but a reduction over Redhill and Charlwood.
Heathrow had not responded to the Mirror’s request for a comment before we went to press.
On 21st July Heathrow published a consultation on how it hopes to persuade thousands of people, who would be badly affected by increased aircraft noise from its operations, to accept money as compensation. It is offering £550 million, if it is allowed to build a 3rd runway, in various schemes. The £550 million is a one-off, not an annual sum. The aim is to buy off opposition. The existence of the consultation aims to convey the impression that a 3rd runway is inevitable, and that Heathrow is being stunningly generous. Neither is true. The community group dealing in particular with noise due to Heathrow, HACAN, has had numerous complaints from residents who are furious about the assumptions being made in the Heathrow consultation. They do not like being steamrollered into discussions about compensation for something they deeply oppose. HACAN will not be taking any part in the consultation, and not encouraging its members to do so. They feel the compensation discussion “puts the cart before the horse”. Providing Heathrow with assistance in how best to win over residents, whose quality of life will be reduced by a new runway, is not in the interests of those overflown, now or in the future.
Consultation ends 12th October
Campaign group refuses to discuss airport’s £550m runway compensation
Consultation “puts cart before the horse”, says Heathrow campaign group leader
Heathrow has launched a 12-week consultation on how the airport should shape a proposed £0.5bn compensation package in the event a third runway gets built but opponents have slammed the scheme saying it “puts the cart before the horse”.
The consultation is part of Heathrow’s updated submission to the Airports Commission where it committed to spending more than £550m for new noise and property compensation schemes, if the third runway gets approved.
The campaign group Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise (HACAN) has come out against the entire debate and said it will play no part in the process.
The consultation, which began on July 21 and runs until October 12, will seek views on how that compensation fund should be used.
Heathrow’s chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: “We believe our proposal to expand is the right way to deliver the capacity Britain needs to connect to fast growing economies around the world.
“This must go hand in hand with treating those most affected by a third runway fairly.
“This consultation provides local people with an opportunity to let us know their views to develop the right compensation scheme.”
In all around 180,000 households and businesses will be contacted in the coming weeks with details of how to take part.
However, HACAN has hit out at the whole process after it said “furious” residents had complained to the group about the matter.
HACAN chairman John Stewart said that residents felt they are being steamrollered into accepting the fact that a third runway is inevitable before the government has even made a decision on the future of Heathrow.
He said: “We get a constant stream of emails from people throughout the year but rarely have we been deluged with so many angry emails as we have had this past week over this consultation.
“People are simply not prepared to discuss compensation arising from a third runway they simply don’t want.”
Mr Stewart added: “HACAN works with Heathrow Airport on issues like flight paths which can improve the quality of life for people affected by the existing Heathrow but we will not be responding to this consultation.
“We believe this consultation is putting the cart before the horse.”
Help shape Heathrow’s proposals for property and noise compensation
21st July – 12th October 2014
Heathrow has launched a new public consultation to help us shape the proposed compensation scheme as part of our updated proposals for a third runway at the Airport. The consultation provides an opportunity for local residents and businesses to give us their views on the principles behind our compensation proposals.
Our vision is for Heathrow to be a globally competitive world-class hub for the UK. Growth at Heathrow will provide the international connectivity that supports economic growth and maintains the UK’s position as a world economic power. The benefits will be local and national. A third runway will create thousands of new jobs, increase trade and tourism, and boost spending in the wider economy. But we understand that people living around Heathrow have concerns about airport expansion. In developing a third runway at Heathrow we must balance the wider benefits of a successful hub airport with the effects on our local communities.
A new runway, built on land beyond the current airport boundary, will have an impact on local homes and businesses. Flight paths for the new runway will expose new people to aircraft noise.
That’s why we’re committed to treating those most affected by our proposals fairly.
We’ve already said that we’ll spend £550m on new noise and property compensation schemes if the Government supports a third runway.
But we want to hear your views on the principles behind our compensation and mitigation schemes. We’re still at an early stage and we want to hear your views before we make those decisions.
The consultation survey and this consultation booklet contain information on our proposals that you might find helpful to read before you complete the survey. If you would like to be sent a copy of the consultation booklet and survey, please let us know by emailing us or calling the Heathrow Community Relations team on 0800 307 7996.
You can also learn more and let us know your views by visiting one of the public exhibitions we are hosting at venues across the local area during the consultation period. We’ll have copies of the consultation survey that you can complete at each exhibition.
You have until the 12th October 2014 to take part.
We really do want to hear your views on Heathrow’s future and hope you’ll take the time to tell us what you think.
We’re committed to treating those most affected by our third runway proposals fairly. That’s why, in our May submission to the Airports Commission, we promised to set aside £550m to cover the costs of property and noise compensation if the Government supports a third runway at Heathrow.
From this fund, £300m will go towards compensation for homes and small businesses bought to make way for the new runway. For anyone whose property is compulsorily purchased, we’re proposing to pay:
The ‘unblighted’ market value of the property;
Plus a 25% above-market value ‘home-loss’ payment;
All legal costs for moving;
Stamp duty towards a new property.
During this consultation we are seeking your views on a number of issues related to the operation of a property compensation scheme, including eligibility for a ‘home loss’ payment, compensation for those who rent their property and compensation for those who would be moved closer to the boundary of an expanded Heathrow.
(Based on their north west runway proposal).
On Noise Compensation, Heathrow says:
We’re committed to treating those most affected by our third runway proposals fairly. In addition to the £300m allocated for property compensation, our revised north-west runway plan also includes £250m to go towards noise compensation.We will use it to mitigate the effect of aircraft noise on homes in the highest noise areas and in areas exposed to significant new noise. ‘Noise compensation’ is a broad term covering three elements of mitigation:
An offer to buy people’s homes
Help with the costs of moving home
Noise insulation for people’s homes.
This consultation provides an opportunity for you to let us know your views on what would constitute a fair approach to noise compensation, how noise impact should be measured and how we balance compensation for those who are newly affected by noise with those who are already impacted.
We already have several schemes in place that meet or exceed Government guidelines. They provide noise compensation to over 40,000 homes around Heathrow (“Our schemes to help you“) . Compensation mostly takes the form of good-quality double glazing and loft insulation in people’s homes.
We accept that if a third runway is to be built, we’ll have to offer an even better noise-compensation scheme. This consultation will help us develop that scheme.
The big question is how the available compensation fund should be used. We want to hear what you think makes a fair compensation scheme.
The consultation document or summary sets out in detail the issues being considered by Heathrow as we shape our proposed compensation package and provides further information on our initial ideas for property and noise compensation. This consultation will be used to guide how the £550m Heathrow has promised for compensation, is spent.
If you would like to request a hard copy of the consultation document along with a Freepost consultation survey form, please contact our team using the details on the Contact Heathrow page.