London City Airport accused of creating a “noise ghetto” with proposed concentrated flight paths

London City Airport have started a consultation on airspace changes (4th September to 27th November) as it wishes to alter flight paths. The change will be because instead of less accurate navigation by aircraft, they now can fly using a very accurate form of satnav for planes. This is referred to as RNAV, meaning precision navigation,  by which aircraft can all fly a course accurate to within a few hundred metres. The effect is concentration of flight paths, so most fly the exact same route, and anyone living under that route gets all the planes, and all the noise.  Campaign group HACAN East has accused London City Airport of failing to spell out to tens of thousands of residents in East London that they are in line to get many more planes overhead if proposed flight path changes go ahead. The consultation does not make this clear. Areas directly under the favored flight path – and the concentration -will be Bow, Hackney Wick, Leyton Midland Road, Leytonstone, Barkingside and Colliers Row.  The effect will be to create a noise ghetto. Air traffic controllers like concentration of flight paths. However, it is often better – less unfair – to share out the noise burden, so many people get some flights, rather than a few getting them all.

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London City Airport creating a “noise ghetto” with proposed flight path changes

7.9.2014

CAMPAIGNERS ACCUSE LONDON CITY AIRPORT OF CREATING A NOISE GHETTO WITH PROPOSED FLIGHT PATH CHANGES

Campaign group HACAN East has accused London City Airport of failing to spell out to tens of thousands of residents in East London that they are in line to get many more planes overhead if proposed flight path changes go ahead. 

London City is proposing to concentrate the flights taking off from the airport in a narrow corridor.  Areas directly under the favored flight path will be Bow, Hackney Wick, Leyton Midland Road, Leytonstone, Barkingside and Colliers Row.  

City Airport is currently consulting on the proposed changes but is not leafleting the areas that will be worst affected (1).

The main consultation document is at  London City Airport RNAV Replications 

The changes are part of a wider reorganization of the airspace across London and the South East which is been overseen by the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority).  LAMP – London Airspace Management Programme. 

New computer technology can now guide aircraft much more accurately when they are landing and taking off.  [Like satnav for planes]. It gives airports the option of varying the routes the planes use in order to give all residents some respite from the noise or of concentrating all the planes on one route. 

London City has chosen to concentrate the aircraft. 

HACAN East chair John Stewart said, “Quite simply, London City is creating a noise ghetto.  No wonder they are afraid to spell out to the residents what is in store for them.  The contrast with Heathrow couldn’t be more marked.  Heathrow are planning to consult widely on the changes and to use the new technology to share out the noise burden.”

Stewart added, “We will be officially reporting London City to the CAA because of the poor quality of their consultation.  They simply have not made clear to people what is in store for them.”

ENDS

Notes for Editors:

(1). The consultation documents can be found at http://www.londoncityairport.com/londonairspacemanagement.  

 It started on 4th September and runs until 27th November 2014.  Responses to the consultation should be emailed to lamp@londoncityairport.com

http://stopcityairportmasterplan.tumblr.com/post/96861365085/press-release-london-city-airport-creating-a-noise

The London City Airport website says of their consultation:

From 4 September to 27 November 2014 London City Airport (LCY) is consulting on proposals to modernise its flight paths, to allow the introduction of Area Navigation (RNAV**), superseding the ground-based navigational systems used today.  The consultation is a statutory requirement according to Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) regulations.

The London City Airport proposal seeks to replicate the existing conventional flight paths with equivalent RNAV routes.  The concept is not optional – a legal mandate is being introduced by the Civil Aviation Authority which will require all aircraft to be equipped to navigate using RNAV by November 2017, and a mandate for the airspace to provide RNAV routes is expected to be effective by winter 2019. 

The proposed changes are key to achieving network efficiency and reducing delays in the south and are an important part of the London Airspace Management Programme (LAMP), NATS’ wider programme to modernise the air route system over London and the south east.


Right arrow London City Airport says:

http://www.londoncityairport.com/londonairspacemanagement

What do these proposals mean to people living, and businesses located, near to the airport?

Aircraft departing from, and arriving at, London City Airport will continue to fly along the same routes as they do today. However, because these will become RNAV routes, the aircraft will fly them more accurately, meaning they will be consistently closer to the centreline of said route.

This has the effect of reducing the overall area overflown, but it will increase the concentration of over-flights in some areas beneath the centreline of the given route.

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Is London City Airport alone in this concept?

London City Airport is not alone in changing over to RNAV routes. The proposed changes are an important part of the London Airspace Management Programme (LAMP), a  wider programme to modernise the air route system over London and the south east that is being led by NATS, the UK’s leading provider of air traffic services. This is essential for the delivery of the Future Airspace Strategy (FAS), the Civil Aviation Authority’s blueprint for modernising airspace by 2020.The undertaking of LAMP and the introduction of RNAV routes at airports is not optional – a legal mandate is being introduced by the Civil Aviation Authority, which will require all aircraft to be equipped to navigate using RNAV by November 2017, and a mandate for the airspace to provide RNAV routes is expected to be effective by winter 2019.

Right arrow 

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Why is the consultation required?

While the London City Airport proposal is for replication of existing flight paths to make them RNAV compliant, the CAA’s Airspace Change Process and the CAA Policy on RNAV replication of conventional procedures state that formal consultation is required to ensure that the London City Airport Consultative Committee has the opportunity to provide feedback.

Right arrow 

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What is this consultation not about?

This consultation only concerns aircraft arriving to/departing from London City Airport. It is not related to air traffic growth in general nor changes to the ground-based infrastructure at London City Airport.

This consultation is specifically not about the permission that London City Airport has to increase its flight movements to 120,000 per annum, nor is it about the City Airport Development Programme planning application which is with Newham Council for determination.

This consultation is also not concerned with RNAV as a future tool, any other or future development, any aspect of Government airport or airspace policy or the establishment of controlled airspace.

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Who are the stakeholders in the consultation?

This is a public consultation, however the key stakeholders are:

  • The London City Airport Consultative Committee (ACC) which includes representatives of Local Authorities, community representatives and other organisations that have expressed an interest in the activities of the airport
  • Members of the National Air Traffic Management Committee (NATMAC) which includes representatives of all types of airspace users.
  • Airlines that operate from London City Airport.
  • [Note - this does not mention local residents and those to be overflown, with a concentration of flights overhead, and therefore substantially more noise].
  • —–

Right arrow 

What happens to the responses to the consultation?

Responses to the Consultation are used to prepare a formal submission to the CAA Safety and Airspace Regulation Group (SARG) regarding proposed routes.

Right arrow —

When does the CAA SARG decide on the outcome of the consultation?

Following consultation, London City Airport will submit an Airspace Change Proposal (ACP) to the CAA. The CAA will make a decision within 16 weeks of the submission of the ACP. This is expected to be during the summer 2015

Right arrow —

Where can I go if I have concerns regarding how the consultation is being carried out?

This consultation is being conducted by London City Airport. The CAA SARG will oversee the consultation, to ensure that it adheres to CAA process and government guidelines. If there are any complaints about how this consultation has been conducted, these should be referred to:

Airspace Business Coordinator
Airspace, ATM and Aerodromes
Safety & Airspace Regulation Group
CAA House
45 – 59 Kingsway
London
WC2B 6TE

E-mail: airspace.policy@caa.co.uk

Please note that this address is for concerns and complaints regarding non-adherence to the defined consultation process. The SARG will not engage with consultees on details of this consultation. Response to the nature of this specific consultation should be addressed to London City Airport. The SARG will receive details of your response as part of the formal ACP submission for this proposal.

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** RNAV is explained by NATS to mean:

Precision RNAV, otherwise known as RNAV1 is a capability that uses the aircraft’s Flight Management System (FMS) to fly routes with an accuracy of 1 mile or better. In practice this is a minimum standard and the aircraft actually fly very much more accurately than that. The advantage over conventional procedures is that routes can be designed to optimise trajectory for fuel burn, noise, air traffic control capacity and safety without being constrained by the position of traditional ground based navigation aids.

With aircraft being able to follow a defined route much more accurately, it is possible to concentrate them over a smaller area, radically reducing the number of people exposed to aircraft noise. The problem of course is that those under the new departure route could potentially experience more noise.

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It is explained by London City Airport as

RNAV is an advanced, highly accurate method of aircraft navigation.  RNAV (Area Navigation) is the ability of an aircraft’s Flight Management System (FMS) to navigate by means of waypoints defined by latitude and longitude, rather than by conventional ground based navigational aids. Basic Area Navigation (B-RNAV ) has navigational accuracy ± 5 nautical miles either side of a routes centreline and its capability is mandated in UK controlled airspace currently.

The RNAV (technically known as RNAV1) has an accuracy of + 1 nautical mile either side of the centreline which allows better track keeping and as such the replicated route’s proposed for London City Airport are all designed to this specification.


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An AirportWatch member commented:

My recollection of the Southend & Gatwick airspace change proposals had to take account of London City, in quite a complicated way, and interweave etc., accordingly.
Hence my limited perception would be that closing LCA would enable flights for other airports to fly higher and cause less disturbance to those on the ground.
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HACAN to distribute 50,000 copies of newspaper “Third Runway News” setting out reasons against it

HACAN has proudly launched a new local newspaper, called “Third Runway News,” a new publication which provides residents of west London, east Berkshire and north Surrey with the facts about what an expanded Heathrow Airport would mean for them. It is 4 pages in full colour, illustrated – link at Third Runway News.  HACAN is a residents-led campaign, and by contrast with the millions of ££s that Heathrow airport has for its publicity, benefits from the work of local volunteers. The new newspaper has been designed by a local HACAN member, not by a hugely expensive professional design company.  The paper asks people to get in touch to say which of the many impacts of a 3rd runway they are most concerned about. These include noise pollution, air pollution, increased car traffic, loss of their home – or loss of the value of their home, or impacts on children and schools from aircraft noise. Meanwhile Heathrow airport have massive adverts, containing extravagant claims for “benefits” of a 3rd runway, (with no supporting evidence), such as “120,000 more jobs” and “£100 billion of economic benefits (not time-scale indicated)” and “loss of £125 billion per month in last trade” for every month without the new runway.  Really??
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HACAN to distribute 50,000 newspapers outlining reasons why a 3rd Heathrow runway should not be built

5.9.2014  (HACAN)

HACAN has proudly launched Third Runway News, a new publication providing residents of west London, east Berkshire and north Surrey with the facts about what an expanded Heathrow Airport would mean for them.

Read the illustrated 4 page newspaper: ThirdRunwayNews-digitalversion (temporarily hosted on the site of S.H.E Stop Heathrow Expansion,our sister organisation).

Third runway news

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Page one (of four) of Third Runway News.

HACAN is a residents-led campaign and indeed this newspaper was designed by one of our local members, not by a hugely expensive professional design company.  HACAN relies on donations and membership fees to fund our activities.

Unlike some other campaign organisations, we are not bankrolled by Heathrow Airport!

Whether it is noise pollution, air pollution or increased traffic, there are plenty of reasons why a third runway should never be allowed to take off. This newspaper explains why.

Find your village or town in the yellow banner running across the top of each page and spread the word around your neighbourhood today!

Will it affect you

 

For much more information on our campaign and activities, email us on info@hacan.org.uk

[HACAN = Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise]

http://hacan.org.uk/hacan-to-distribute-50000-newspapers-outlining-reasons-why-a-3rd-runway-shouldnt-be-built/

 

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Heathrow airport adverts

By contrast, Heathrow (with millions of ££s to spend on its PR campaign) has recently put out a new set of adverts.

Below is one of them. Judge for yourself the accuracy of these claims (for which no backing evidence is given).

Heathrow advert Sept 2014

Heathrow advert text

 

 

 

http://your.heathrow.com/new-adverts-release-taking-britain/

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Prime Economics: “Out of thin air – the economic case for a 3rd Heathrow runway” – takes apart the claims made by Heathrow

Prime Economics, a group of independent economic thinkers, has taken a look at Heathrow’s claims about the economic case for a 3rd runway. They are not impressed. While Heathrow (see its latest advert) says: “If we want Britain’s economy to keep growing, we need to grow Heathrow”, the reality is very different. Among Heathrow’s dodgy 3rd runway economic claims, they say: “• It will bring economic benefits of £100bn • It will bring 120,000 new jobs • Every month the problem goes unresolved is costing the British economy £1.25bn through lost trade”. Prime Economics says “the evidence for each of these is very thin and hypothetical …. The link between trade and airport capacity is at best indirect, and certainly opaque. At a macroeconomic level, the impact is simply invisible.” They say “Economies depend on many factors, and hub capacity is one of the least significant, at least once you reach a decent threshold of scale.” They pick to pieces the £1.25 billion figure; the idea that the UK needs flights to every destination in every country; and the hub competition between EU countries. “The current debate assumes exponential growth both of our economies and of our travel into the indefinite future. This will not happen … Airports …are not the main drivers of economic success nor of national well-being.” Well worth reading.

Click here to view full story…

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Woodland Trust asking Gatwick respondents to send a photo of themselves, to prove to Gatwick they are real people

Gatwick carried out a consultation, that ended on 16th May) about its 2nd runway plans. There were some 7,700 responses (the vast majority against a new runway) and of those, 4,092 came through a campaign by the Woodland Trust. However, in its analysis of the consultation responses, Ipsos Mori decided to discount these responses, as they had been generated by a campaign and were sent in electronically. It is too convenient for the airport to discount over half the responses in this way. The Woodland Trust is now asking everyone who backs their campaign against Gatwick destroying areas of ancient woodland for its runway, to send in photos and details of themselves, in order to prove to the powers-that-be that they are real people, their opinions are real, and there is no reason for their consultation responses to be invalidated.You can add your photo, and a brief comment, on the Woodland Trust website here. The Trust is rightly appalled at suggestions by Gatwick that they can justify destroying ancient woodland by just offsetting it, through planting 3 new saplings to replace each ancient tree – or translocating woodland soil to new locations for new saplings. Neither even partly replace the richness, quality and diversity of true ancient woods.
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Click here to upload your photo, on the Woodland Trust site.

Say NO to ancient woodland loss at Gatwick

Map of land at Gatwick airport

Gatwick’s owners need to see the real people behind genuine concerns for ancient woodland.

The Woodland Trust says:
Thank you for all your responses to the consultation into a new runway at Gatwick Airport. Over 50% of all responses received were generated by our campaign. As a result, the impact on ancient woodland and the existing wildlife corridors from each of the three new runway options has been pushed to the forefront of the debate.

However, a post-consultation report suggests the views we helped submit to the official consultation were collected as part of an ‘organised campaign’. We need to make sure they are counted as individual submissions.

New plans also continue to include fundamental misunderstandings about the ecological impact a new runway will have, as well as worrying ideas like ‘offsetting’ irreplaceable ancient woodland.

Better understanding of this precious woodland is crucial to its future, so we’ve invited Gatwick’s Airports Commission Director to visit nearby Edolph’s Copse with our conservation experts to see ancient woodland close up.

We also want to make sure your views are taken into account, so we’ll personally hand him a hard copy of the 1,058 additional comments our campaign generated.

You’re a real person; help us prove it to Gatwick’s owners

To further emphasise that the submissions our campaign generated came from real people, with unique views about the impact of a new runway, we are asking you to send us a selfie with a special message to Gatwick’s owners. We’ll take these photos along to our meeting to make sure your views are heard.

Show your face for ancient woodland – add your photo to our website.

http://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/campaigning/campaigns/gatwick-expansion/

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4092 responses were facilitated by the Woodland Trust’s campaign – more than half of the total number Gatwick received – and all expressed concern about three areas of ancient woodland that will be lost or severely damaged by the plans. Respondents included customers of Gatwick and local residents.

Concern has been raised locally about whether these responses have been properly considered by Gatwick’s owners, Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP).

The Woodland Trust is satisfied that respondents’ calls for the airport to think carefully about ancient woodland protection have been heard, but is alarmed that in an apparent attempt to alter its plans, GIP has made inaccurate, and in some instances completely inappropriate, proposals that neither avoid, nor fully compensate for the loss and damage that would be caused to ancient woodland – an irreplaceable habitat.

Woodland Trust Campaigner, Katharine Rist, said: “Thanks to thousands of people raising the issue, ancient woodland is mentioned extensively within Gatwick Airport’s report. But Gatwick’s new proposals to deal with loss and damage to wildlife corridors and precious habitats are misguided at best. We hope to speak directly to the owners of Gatwick and help them understand the complex nature of ancient woodland and why best practice would actually be to avoid any loss of this irreplaceable habitat in line with the mitigation hierarchy.”

Gatwick’s report cites the need to ‘offset’ (1) the loss of ancient woodland and proposes to do this by planting three new trees to every one lost in an ancient wood, which it describes as ‘meeting best practice’.

Katharine continued: “Ancient woodland is not solely about trees. It is a habitat of national significance – a unique ecosystem containing complex soil structures that have lain undisturbed for hundreds, potentially thousands, of years. It is crucial GIP fully understand what it is putting at risk. Both the Woodland Trust and DEFRA agree it can not be ‘offset’. Planting new woodland at three times the amount of ancient woodland lost will never result in a habitat of the same biodiversity value.”

‘Translocation’ is also cited by Gatwick as a possible solution to ancient woodland loss. This method requires a woodland habitat first to be felled, and then the top layer of soil dug up and relocated by lorry to another site to use as the basis for new planting. The Woodland Trust has seen no evidence of successful translocation despite several Freedom of Information requests to Government departments (2) and considers it a salvage operation at best.

A suggestion was even made in the report that the Woodland Trust might take on ownership and management of land that had been used for offsetting the loss of ancient woodland, which goes completely against the charity’s stated aims.

The Woodland Trust will continue to oppose any airport expansion that results in the loss of ancient woodland and to lobby for the protection of ancient woodland around Gatwick Airport. To this end, it will be attending the GATCOM meeting in October and hopes to see Gatwick’s plans improve significantly before they form part of any further consultation.

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(1) Biodiversity Offsetting

There is currently no best practice when it comes to biodiversity offsetting for other habitats since Government is yet to publish its response to the consultation it held last year, or publish the results of the pilot studies that ended in April.

The maximum metric currently advocated by Defra for biodiversity offsetting is 30:1. Defra agree that ancient woodland can not be offset because it is irreplaceable and suggest that where loss is deemed unavoidable a ‘bespoke’ scheme should be used. Therefore, the Trust believes that any bespoke scheme should take 30:1 as its starting point and planting should be sensitively sited, taking full account of the principles set out in the Lawton review and endorsed by the Natural Environment White Paper of “bigger, better, and more joined up landscapes”.

(2) Translocation – FOI requests

The Woodland Trust has asked for monitoring records from a site translocated as part of HS1 (the Channel Tunnel rail link) but, despite being referred to by ministers as a ‘success’, no monitoring records can be traced.

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Earlier:

Woodland Trust highlights loss of 3 areas of ancient woodland for Gatwick runway

6.5.2014

Though much of the area that would be flattened and covered in concrete and tarmac for a 2nd Gatwick runway – and associated building – would be fields and grassland, there are also three areas of ancient woodland.  The Woodland Trust has assessed the woods that are threatened and found that they  are significant and have important local biodiversity value. The current Gatwick consultation on its runway options (there is only one of the options that the airport wants, and the consultation has no proper way for respondents to say they oppose any new runway) barely recognises the impact a new runway will have on this irreplaceable habitat. The fact it will also wipe out the last remaining ecological network for wildlife around the whole of the south side of the airport is ignored.  The Woodland Trust is urging people to respond to the consultation, either by just saying NO to any of the options, or giving more detail in the response boxes to reflect the proposed destruction of these valuable bits of high quality woodland.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=21208

 

with more detail of how the Woodland Trust encouraged their supporters to respond to the Gatwick consultation, to help protect woodland (and other habitats) at threat.

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Prime Economics: “Out of thin air – the economic case for a 3rd Heathrow runway”

Prime Economics, a group of independent economic thinkers, has taken a look at Heathrow’s claims about the economic case for a 3rd runway. They are not impressed. While Heathrow (see its latest advert) says: “If we want Britain’s economy to keep growing, we need to grow Heathrow”, the reality is very different. Among Heathrow’s dodgy 3rd runway economic claims, they say:  “• It will bring economic benefits of £100bn • It will bring 120,000 new jobs • Every month the problem goes unresolved is costing the British economy £1.25bn through lost trade”. Prime Economics says “the evidence for each of these is very thin and hypothetical …. The link between trade and airport capacity is at best indirect, and certainly opaque. At a macroeconomic level, the impact is simply invisible.” They say “Economies depend on many factors, and hub capacity is one of the least significant, at least once you reach a decent threshold of scale.” They pick to pieces the £1.25 billion figure; the idea that the UK needs flights to every destination in every country; and the hub competition between EU countries. “The current debate assumes exponential growth both of our economies and of our travel into the indefinite future.  This will not happen … Airports …are not the main drivers of economic success nor of national well-being.” Well worth reading.
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Out of thin air – the economic case for a 3rd Heathrow runway

By Jeremy Smith,

3rd September 2014  (Prime Economics)

When I last twice travelled directly to Guangzhou, by China Southern Airline out of Heathrow, the flight was nearly full. But not – by visual impression at least – full of thrusting British entrepreneurs keen to visit the most vibrant economic region of China, thanks to this direct link from Britain’s hub airport. More like ordinary Chinese workers and some visitors. No – increasing trade is a more complex issue by far.

Which is one of many reasons why I was truly jaundiced reading Heathrow Airport’s advertisement yesterday, which compiled a list of highly dubious claims as to the benefits to all of us in the UK of a 3rd runway at Heathrow. I have no doubt that a 3rd runway there would be of benefit to the shareholders of Heathrow Airport, and might conceivably be nicer for passengers, but the specifically economic case for choosing Heathrow over say Gatwick – or indeed Boris Island – is still as thin as ever.

Yet we are being bombarded with phony or super-fragile statistics trying to bludgeon us into thinking that the UK will collapse economically overnight if those 3,500 metres of tarmac are not built tomorrow morning on Heathrow’s green and pleasant land.

Two years ago to the day we produced a short paper “Why the economic case for a 3rd runway at Heathrow still won’t fly”, and 2 years on, it still doesn’t. 

Heathrow’s dodgy claims

Among the dodgy economic claims by Heathrow Airport for the 3rd runway:

• It will bring economic benefits of £100bn
• It will bring 120,000 new jobs
• Every month the problem goes unresolved is costing the British economy £1.25bn through lost trade

The evidence for each of these is very thin and hypothetical – like money, created out of thin air. The link between trade and airport capacity is at best indirect, and certainly opaque. At a macroeconomic level, the impact is simply invisible.

Let us look at the overall national GDP figures in recent years for the main European countries with major hubs – the UK (Heathrow), France (Charles de Gaulle), Germany (Frankfurt), Netherlands (Schiphol), Madrid…

From Eurostat, here in the first column is the average % change per country in GDP between 2003 and 2013, the period when Heathrow’s competitors have been swiftly expanding their hub capacity while Heathrow has been, we are told, capacity constrained. And in the second column, the average % change in GDP from 2008 to 2013

2003-13 2008-13
UK 1.4 0.03
Netherlands 0.9 -0.25
France 1.0 0.11
Germany 1.2 0.73
Spain 1.1 -0.97

See a clear pattern? See how a rapid rise in hub capacity grows your economy faster?  Er, no. There is simply no pattern to be discerned.

Economies depend on many factors, and hub capacity is one of the least significant, at least once you reach a decent threshold of scale. Over the whole 11 year period, the UK has “grown” on average faster than its “competitors”. Since the great crash of 2008, Germany has grown on average faster, and France a teensy weensy bit faster, than the UK, while the Netherlands – with rapid growth in capacity and destinations at Schiphol – has slumped and Spain has spiralled downwards. (If we look further afield at at JFK New York, its passenger numbers are tiny in comparison with Heathrow.  Yet New York’s economy still seems to be standing.)

You may have noticed that the hub-constrained UK seems to be increasing GDP more than the Eurozone-constrained but hub-growing rivals in 2014, with the UK almost certain to leap ahead of France, for example, if one averages GDP changes from 2008 to 2014.

Heathrow Airport’s favoured consultant economists, Frontier Economics, contend that with a full unconstrained hub in Heathrow, UK GDP would grow by around 1% per year – hence the silly statistic above that claims we are losing £1.25 billion per month because the “problem” is not “resolved”. But they do not back this up with any firm evidence. It is pure – and implausible – hypothesis.

The other statistic – economic benefits of £100 billion (over what period, the ad does not say) is around 6% of UK GDP – a big change if ever achieved over a single year (the chance of which is zero).  But since there is no evidence of overall economic national economic gain from new hubs, please maintain due scepticism.

Heathrow still Europe’s No.1 passenger hub

The truth is that Heathrow remains Europe’s largest hub airport, in terms of passenger numbers passing through, and its “competitors” are only slowly catching up – if at all.  Combine with Gatwick, the London capacity and throughput is hugely greater than any other European capital. Here are the latest figures from the Airports Council International for the 12 months to end of May 2014 :

airport passenger numbers 2013-4

For all the scare tactics, Heathrow is still way ahead of other EU hubs, with 10 million more passengers than Charles de Gaulle, 14 million more than Frankfurt, and 19 million more than Schiphol.  And what is not explained is why it would matter if another European country’s hub caught up with London, since “big hub” does not equal “better economy”.

CBI joins in the propaganda

Alas, the CBI have also leapt in (in what looks like an engineered lobbying exercise) using the same flawed logic as Heathrow Airport:

“With the UK’s hub capacity at Heathrow already full, the UK is falling behind on direct flights to emerging markets. … [T]he UK’s EU competitors with their own unconstrained capacity are creating connections to new destinations within the BRICS such as Xiamen in China and Recife in Brazil, as well as links to the major markets of the future, like Peru, Indonesia, Taipei and Chile.

Katja Hall, CBI Deputy Director-General, said:

“The Chancellor has set businesses ambitious targets for increasing the UK’s exports, and there is simply no way of achieving these goals without upping our game in emerging markets. Our analysis last year demonstrated that connectivity is the lifeblood of trade, but it also highlighted that the UK is already falling behind, so every day we delay making a decision, makes matters worse.”

Again the meme, “every day we delay makes matters worse..” as if repetition makes it true.

What is never explained by the propagandists is that each country’s hub serves a set of destinations that has in part a historic logic.  Thus Paris serves the French ex-colonies, Heathrow the British ex-colonies and the Anglosphere, while Frankfurt has more flights into Russia.  Of course it is a good idea to have more flights to China and fast-growing economies, and Heathrow is indeed weak in China direct flights.  But it is stronger than the other hubs in its India links.  Each hub has relative strengths and weaknesses, and they can’t all fly everywhere.

Cooperation not competition for the EU hubs

What is wrong, indeed dangerous, is the whole notion of a competitive race between EU hubs. The Heathrow ad says

“While Britain wrings its hands over the site of a new runway, our competitors in France, Germany and the Netherlands are rubbing theirs.  They have the hub capacity.  They have the will to grow it. And they have the wholehearted support to take what could be Britian’s.”

Twaddle.  It is physically impossible for all countries to have a spoke and hub system that links to every big city in every country.  It is even more undesirable to do so, in terms of the global environment and climate change. At the margins, there will be some competition for routes.  But in essence, the EU hubs need to cooperate.

From the perspective of a British resident wanting to travel to another continent (say, Asia), unless you live in a big city and are able to travel to another big city directly, you are likely to need to travel through a hub.  But whether it is in the UK or elsewhere is of frankly little importance.  So whether you change at Heathrow, Schiphol or Singapore is neither here nor there – it depends on timing, convenience and quality of experience. And this is so whether you are a tourist or businessperson.

You can succeed even without a hub!

Many countries are successful economically without having a major hub airport.  Take Sweden and Austria for example.  As Europeans, we need to use cooperation and common sense when it comes to transport infrastructure.  Not simply pretend that we can forever scavenge for finite, minuscule economic benefits that we try to steal from each other.

It is for government and the aviation industry, at UK and EU levels, to agree a strategy for which destinations across the world are deemed strategically important – whether for trade or other purposes.  The use of our airports should reflect this national and European interest, not just “market forces”.

The current debate assumes exponential growth both of our economies and of our travel into the indefinite future.  This will not happen as there are natural limits imposed by the earth’s resources.  Airports are important and need to be pleasant and reachable places for business and leisure.  But they are not the main drivers of economic success nor of national well-being.  Resist the self-interested lobbyists!

Appendix

Among the many dubious economics-related points made by Frontier Economics, the following chart has puzzled me in particular.  It comes from their September 2011 “Connecting for growth: the role of Britain’s hub airport in economic recovery” report which was “prepared for  Heathrow”.

London and Paris economies

This gives London’s population as 13.3 million, taken from OECD figures, I presume for metropolitan regions.  This includes Greater London (Boris’s bailiwick) plus significant parts of south-east England.  Its regional GDP is given as Euro 390 billion.  Paris, by comaprison, has a population of 11.7 million, which presumably is that of the Ile-de-France region (though the source year is not given), and the regional GDP is a mere Euro 190 billion, or just half that of London (but with 5/6ths of the population).  The source is said to be Eurostat for the whole set of information.

On 21st March 2013 Eurostat published a short release on “Regional GDP per capita in the EU in 2010″, in which it gives the Ile-de-France GDP as Euro 588 billion, with an average GDP per head of Euro 49,800.  London’s GDP is also given, as Euro 362 billion (of which inner London including the City is Euro 250 billion) but this is for the GLA area alone, which has a population of around 8 million not 13 million; the GDP per head is a little below Paris’s at Euro 46,300.  If you add the entire south-east (which goes well beyond London’s natural economic region) this would add a further Euro 244 billion of GDP, or a total of London and south-east of Euro 606 billion, a little more than Ile-de-France’s but with a larger population.

So if my reading of Eurostat’s figures on regional GDP are right, it must mean that Frontier Economics’ figures in this imporant chart are completely wrong.  Even though they provide no year for their figures, the difference is so extraordinary that it could not be accounted for by annual changes.  What is even more suspicious is that Madrid’s GDP is also given as Euro 190million (surely this is a misprint for billion?), though it has only just over half of Paris’s population.

Yet their chart is entitled “London’s population and economic clout position it to be Europe’s premier hub airport location” – an honour which, on my understanding of the true facts, should be shared with Paris and the Ile-de-France.

If as appears to me Frontier Economics have got their facts wrong on this chart, and given that there are clear accessible sources for the information as they present it, then it further enhances my doubts about their economic statistics and estimates in general – on which Heathrow Airport rely in their propaganda.  If (despite my doubts)  Frontier can demonstrate with sources that they are right on the numbers in this chart, I will of course acknowledge this fully and prominently.

 http://www.primeeconomics.org/?p=3209#more-3209

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Prime Economics say of themselves:

PRIME is an economic think-tank that promotes understanding of the nature of credit, and its role in determining macroeconomic outcomes. Fundamental to our approach is an implicit and explicit restoration of ethics in relation to money and credit.

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The Prime network is made up of a group of economists aware that conventional or ‘mainstream’ economic theory has proved of almost no relevance to the ongoing and chronic failure of the global economy. We note the outstanding failure of current economic policy to provide society at large with work; or with policies to deal with the gravest threat facing us all: climate change. We are angered by the failure of mainstream economics to challenge the finance sector and believe this can be explained in part by its blind spot for the role of credit in the economy, and by the fatal error of drawing macroeconomic conclusions from microeconomic reasoning. As a result, economists, commentators and policymakers are repeatedly embarrassed by economic outcomes.

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Call for all affected by Gatwick noise to ask their councillors if they back a 2nd runway. If “Yes” – don’t vote for them

In a letter published in the West Sussex County Times, Sally Pavey – who is the chair of the local residents’ group CAGNE writes about the need for elected representatives to do more for people suffering from Gatwick flight paths. People who have now found themselves at risk of being under a concentrated PR NAV flight path need their elected representatives to work on their behalf. CAGNE was formed due to the flight path trial, called in the jargon, “ADNID” that took place for 6 months, ending in early August. Sally questions the democratic process that permits this insult to the quality of life of thousands of inoffensive citizens, in order that the foreign big-business owners of Gatwick can make more profit. She asks how democratic the airport is, when the only consultation done on flight path trials is through the GATCOM and NATMAG committees, at neither of which the public can speak. Sally urges local residents to “ask those that seek to represent you, ie parish councils, district councillors, West Sussex county councillors and your MP, a simple question. Do you support a second runway at Gatwick Airport? Yes or No. And if the answer is Yes, do not vote for them.”
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LETTER: Second runway is election issue

5.9.2014 (West Sussex County Times)

With so many residents now complaining about the noise from aircraft taking off and landing at Gatwick Airport shouldn’t those that we voted into a position of power start listening to us?

CAGNE, (Communities Against Gatwick Noise Emissions) formed out of the Gatwick Airport ADNID trial route, oppose a second runway at Gatwick as it would mean even greater number of planes in the sky above our homes and invites residents of West Sussex to join with them in objecting.

The ADNID trial has not gone away, as it appeared in the flawed Gatwick Airport new flight path consultation that discriminated against those it actually seeks to consult, with 120 pages of aviation jargon and inaccuracies.

The consultation will now go to the CAA and it will be down to the CAA to decide if the consultation is valid. If they do then Gatwick can identify the route they would like to progress and the Secretary of State can sign it off without consulting us again!

Where’s democracy when it comes to big business wanting to gain greater profits to please off-shore owners? According to the CEO of Gatwick recently, we’re an ‘environmental cost it can afford’.

The ADNID trial masked the introduction of PBN (Performance Based Navigation) this is sat nav for planes, where planes follow a concentrated route and this Government introduces it with no research into the impact that it has on people’s lives. Evidence from the letters in this newspaper, its coverage and emails CAGNE receive,  PBN is having a devastating affect on people’s quality of life

In other countries PBN is used to benefit the population below as it is possible to fly planes with such precision but, no, Gatwick have been allowed to place it where they wish, with no prior consultation with residents.  No surprise there – we were not told about the ADNID trial as Gatwick use GATCOM to say they consult.

GATCOM is financed by Gatwick; the aviation adviser is paid by Gatwick and apart from a few councillors and GACC [Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign] the rest of the committee is made up of those that work for Gatwick, ie trade unions, customer services, airlines, baggage handlers, and Gatwick Diamond which seeks to benefit greatly from Gatwick expanding.

You can attend a GATCOM meeting and watch – but you are not allowed to speak. How is this consulting the residents?  Did your council ask for your opinion about PBN or ADNID?

And NATMAG, another group that Gatwick claim to consult through that deals with aircraft noise, is conducted behind closed doors. That means we, the people who have to suffer the noise, are not allowed to attend!

If the consultation document is anything to go by, how can we expect our councillors to understand the aviation jargon filled proposals placed in front of them by Gatwick?  [The consultation was very widely deemed to be almost impossible for non-experts to either comprehend, or correctly respond to].

Gatwick simply have to blind the councillors with aviation jargon, which they do not have background knowledge to fully understand, and then do a sales job. Then they have achieved their aim,  ie. more planes in the sky over us, the hard working taxpayers!

I urge residents to ask those that seek to represent you, ie parish councils, district councillors, West Sussex county councillors and your MP, a simple question. Do you support a second runway at Gatwick Airport? Yes or No.

And if the answer is Yes, do not vote for them.

It was not long ago that the West Sussex Liberal Democrats voted to support the second runway at the vote brought forward by the leader of WSCC with only three days’ notice and no chance for independent groups to make representations or for any councillors to consult residents. And if I remember rightly the LibDems also wrote in this newspaper of how they aimed to change national policy to support a second runway.

And UKIP, what is your aviation policy? You keep writing about the pressure that a second runway would put on our already struggling infrastructure but answer the question. Do you support a second runway at Gatwick? Yes or No.

CAGNE oppose a second runway at Gatwick because it will destroy this rural area forever and bring a huge number of additional flight paths over us all. And it will be us, the taxpayer, that will pay for the infrastructure to support an airport larger than Heathrow with 97 million passengers and 122,000 inward migrated workers all looking to use the roads, railway, hospital, GPs, schools, affordable housing, etc, etc.

Join CAGNE www.cagne.org and say NO to a second runway and, as Horsham District Council will vote in the autumn whether to support a second runway, ask your councillors now if they support a second runway at Gatwick?

SALLY PAVEY

Chair of CAGNE, Mayes Lane, Warnham

http://www.wscountytimes.co.uk/news/letters/letter-second-runway-is-election-issue-1-6274647

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For other recent news stories about Gatwick, see 

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Heathrow flight path changes / trial inflict more noise misery on Ascot area and 3 villages area

Heathrow airport and NATS are experimenting with flight path changes and new technology systems for Heathrow flights. The aim is to reduce ‘stacking’ of aircraft waiting to land, and to speed up departure times, getting more planes in the air per hour – in order make the airport more efficient (or more profitable). There is a series of trials, over a period of years from 2012 to 2017, advertised on Heathrow’s website. They are to inform the London Airspace Management Programme (LAMP) consultation. One trial, for departures to the west, started on 28th August and will last till January 2015. It will test how sharply aircraft are able to turn on take-off and how fast they can climb.  The results will be factored into Heathrow’s revision of flight paths that are required under the European ‘SESAR’ programme.  The reality for people being over-flown is that there are now more aircraft  passing over Ascot, Sunningdale and Sunninghill, and these planes are low (around 3,000 feet) and climbing. The gaps between planes are also shorter than before.  A petition has been set up by people in the Ascot area, to get the trial ended immediately. The new noise barrage has created new fears in those areas of the impact of a 3rd runway.

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FAMILIES in the Ascot area could be in for a loud shock over the next five months because changes to Heathrow flightpaths will mean more planes going overhead.

Airport bosses and air traffic controllers are experimenting with flight path changes and new technology systems in a bid to reduce ‘stacking’ in the air and speed up departure times, putting more planes in the air at a faster rate.

There will be different trial routes for planes taking off from Heathrow, with some aircraft passing over Ascot, Sunningdale and Sunninghill – scheduled to start some time in September.

This will impact on communities because passenger jets will be passing over their homes at 3,000ft.

Times between takeoffs have been shortened, and the increased number of passenger airline departures will last until January 26. There will be a public consultation in 2016 and Heathrow’s ‘noise team’ has been briefed to deal with complaints.

Details of the flight alterations have been unearthed by the Ascot, Sunninghill and Sunningdale Neighbourhood Plan Delivery Group and published online.

Royal Borough councillor David Hilton (Ascot and Cheapside) says he has already had complaints in advance of the ‘trials’ and has alerted Windsor MP Adam Afriyie.

Cllr Hilton said: “This could be Heathrow’s way of increasing their traffic capacity and we are obviously worried about what will happen. This is not like popping outside your front door to have a look at Concorde.

“Heathrow can undergo trials without consultation and appear to be concentrating more aircraft in narrower channels than they have done in the past.

“Obviously many people in this region depend on Heathrow but Heathrow has to be fair and reasonable and we are worried in case too many planes are channelled in narrow air corridors.

“There appears to have been increased activity since June and I have received five or six complaints. One Jumbo flew very low over Winkfield.”

The campaigners’ newsletter says: “There will be six new routes, three of which will track our area.

“The purpose of these trials is to reduce the intervals between take-offs by using more departure routes which diverge more significantly from each other than current ones.”

The group’s map shows new routes passing at 3,000ft south west over Cheapside, another west of the Ascot Racecourse and a third south west over Sunningdale to Lightwater.

A Heathrow spokeswoman said its proposals have not been kept under wraps and are accessible online.

She said: “It is all part of the airspace modernisation strategy which has not been upgraded for 40 years.”

A Heathrow website article says: “This has the potential to reduce holding times on the ground to reduce delays on departure.”

A spokeswoman for NATS Holdings – formerly National Air Traffic Control Services – said: “Basically it is upgrading technology and streamlining old designs.”

http://www.bracknellnews.co.uk/news/bracknell/articles/2014/08/23/103090-flightpath-experiment-spells-more-noise-overhead/

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Ascot area residents’ petition to end new Heathrow flight path trial

1.9.2014

Residents in the area in and around Ascot (not far from Heathrow) have a Change.org petition asking that the new Heathrow flight path trial, which started in the last few days, should immediately be ended. It is causing considerable noise nuisance, and making life there unpleasant.
Residents can see the planes very clearly from their gardens, and the noise is so loud now it disturbs any conversation they have outside.

Petition to end the flight path trial

The noise has increased massively since early July and is especially loud since the 28th of August 2014.  Residents can see the planes very clearly from their gardens, and the noise is so loud now it disturbs any conversation they have outside.  Residents are now opposed to any more expansion at Heathrow and call for an IMMEDIATE end to the flight path trial!

What if the 3rd runway is given the go ahead – this noise will be a permanent feature unless we voice our concerns. We need over100,000 signatures and we all want the same result – the government to stop the trials affecting our area, whether it’s, Ascot, North Ascot, Windlesham, etc.

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Aircraft Noise petition from  Lightwater, Windlesham and Bagshot

Stop the Flight Path trials

In the 3 Villages area (Lightwater, Windlesham and Bagshot) residents have been impacted both by the latest trials – that started on 28th August 2014 – as well as those which ended on 15th June.

With local feelings running high, people in this began a campaign and now also have an online petition with links from their website at  www.aircraftnoiselightwater.co.uk

Following contact with John Holland-Kaye in early August, the campaign has secured a meeting with Cheryl Monk, (Head of Community Relations and Policy)  to which residents of all affected areas are invited (both 3 Villages and Ascot will attend) – to be held on 15th October (time and venue to be confirmed).

There is a  Change.org petition to the Heathrow complaints team, here   They say: 

“Flights are passing overhead, lower, louder and later than ever before disturbing all aspects of everyday life.   Flights continue as late as 11.30pm and as early as 6am – a period when a reasonable person expects the right to peace and quiet.

“Local residents are now opposed to any more expansion at Heathrow and call for an IMMEDIATE end to the flight path trial!”

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Indicative timeline for planned trials at Heathrow to inform the London 
Airspace Management Programme (LAMP) consultation.
2012 – 2017   includes flight path trials in 2014, 2015 and 2016

http://www.heathrowairport.com/static/Heathrow_Noise/Downloads/PDF/indicative_trial_timeline.pdf

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Open letter to Stewart Wingate, asking for explanation of the increased aircraft noise being experienced

An open letter to Stewart Wingate, the CEO of Gatwick airport, has been written by a member of one of the new opposition groups that has mushroomed in the past two months. These have emerged, as the noise from Gatwick arrivals over parts of Kent (especially around Tunbridge Wells, Hever, Penshurst and nearby areas) has increased. Due to subtle changes in concentration of flight paths, and apparently lower approaches, the lives of thousands of people have been badly affected by the noise. And these people are absolutely not prepared to lie down and accept this unwelcome, unpleasant intrusion into their lives. There is a steely determination, and unflinching resolve shared by thousands.  A letter to Mr Wingate is copied below.  AirportWatch does not endorse the sentiments in the letter, (at times expressed bluntly) nor do we make any claim that all the points made are accurate.  It is copied here, to indicate the problems of many people in Kent and West Sussex, as they perceive them. It shows eloquently their anger, and their refusal to believe they are not being fobbed off with half truths by the airport, which insists nothing has changed. A response from the airport is awaited, and will be published (if possible) on this website in due course.
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The letter:

“A Simple Question – A Simple Answer Please Mr Wingate”

Dear Mr Wingate

I appreciate you having taken the trouble to get someone to cut and paste me a reply to my mail of 10th August, [Stewart Wingate's email is copied below] I gather very many other correspondents have been less fortunate.

The information regarding take-offs undoubtedly added some useful context but as you may gather my main concern is the unacceptable increase in the number of flights along narrow corridors at a lower altitude than has ever been witnessed in our area before.

If I gave the impression that I felt I had only been misled then I should apologise on the grounds that my previous mail must have been uncharacteristically coy; I think you’ll find that a large majority of those copied to this mail and the thousands of people they represent would say that you display little evidence of an unwavering commitment to probity.

I think we are all sick to the molars of hearing that no trials have been taking place and that what we are enduring is ‘normal westerly’ operations with exceptional summer traffic levels buoyed by our recovering economy – I’m sure you are aware of the concept of mushroom management? By perpetuating the falsehood that nothing has changed and denying us access to information you are making an awful lot of people very angry.

Aside from trotting out a lot of acronyms and pointing the finger at all and sundry, when you say that I ‘can confirm again that there have been no changes to the way in which aircraft are directed or handled on final approach to the airport’ that is patently hogwash.

Hundreds of people are attending public meetings and thousands of people are finding our websites with a steely resolve to prevail over GAL’s breathtaking arrogance and disrespect – they know things have changed.

So, to save us all dancing around it, why don’t I have a stab at what’s going on?

In 2012 and 2013 you conducted two ACDM55 tests and were proud to have increased capacity on the single runway from 53 movements an hour to a world record 55, even achieving 60 on occasion. That is just about a movement every minute.

In order to achieve this you require absolute precision in approach and ground handling – it was likened to an F1 pit lane; unfortunately, it makes things just as noisy.

In order to get planes coming in like a camel train you extended the ILS – without permission as far as I can see, and certainly without consulting with or informing the public – thereby vastly increasing the nuisance to folk in a huge swathe of beautiful countryside and populous areas back from Lingfield to Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells.

What is causing so much misery at the moment is a further extension coupled with planes being brought in lower than ever before.

You state that ‘there is no proposal to change any existing controlled airspace boundaries’ yet in the same mail that there is a ‘move to narrower traffic lanes’ – the dispersal method has worked for many years because it is the fairest; the burden of air travel is shared and the only one that can enshrine the core tenets of a democracy – the only ‘loser’ is that GAL may not be able to get the extra two movements per hour and that has nothing to do with anything other than its naked greed.

You may say that by so doing you are helping FAS [Future Airspace Strategy] in its objective to reduce the number of people overflown, but what you are actually doing is destroying the lives of those that find themselves under an incessant, seething stream of wailing banshees from 6 am to 2 am and often an awful lot longer.

Cabinet minister Greg Clark bravely declared the impenetrable ‘consultation’ process that you sneaked through as ‘unfit for purpose’ and called for you to go back to the drawing board; however, the weasel words that pad out references to legislation beyond your control in your email confirms to me that regardless of the outcome of that process, it is job done from your perspective.

You have created a superhighway through the back door and invoke the broad principles of aviation policy and legislation to justify the fact that you are quite happy to jeopardise the heath and life chances of our children to make more profits for your owners – to give you credit, you did have the cajones to recently publicly declare that the destruction of the High Weald, AONBs and heritage sites was a ‘cost that it (the country) could afford’.

I hope they pay you very well Mr Wingate because not a single recipient of this email will concur that the destruction of the Garden of England and the quality of the lives of its inhabitants is in any way a price worth paying to plump up a foreign investment fund.

Up until you very recently changed your website, visitors could have seen that the lucky members of the National State Pension Fund of Korea were one of the key beneficiaries of the havoc you are creating, but I assume even you didn’t have the brass neck to leave that up there.

So, if we accept that I’m not a million miles out in my assessment, let’s explore why I believe that allows me to add hypocrisy to the list of your less attractive traits.

We know that modern technology allows planes to delay joining the ILS until they are within six miles of the strip and to remain higher for longer – dispersed approaches at a higher altitude equals less disruption.

However, the planes that once converged at Lingfield are now coming together over Crowborough, being routed out in a huge loop over Tunbridge Wells and then making exaggeratedly tight turns at ridiculously low altitudes.

Flying further to achieve more plane movements makes a bit of a mockery of your claims to be looking to save fuel and reduce C02 emissions – you are doing the complete opposite.

Then there is the altitude – please don’t insult us any further – planes have never before flown so consistently low over this area.

Its a fact and the whining over my head serves only to confirm that in the fifteen years I have lived here I have never experienced anything so disruptive and thoroughly debilitating – having moved to a once tranquil location, there are no respite periods here and damn whosoever has foisted this upon us.

Casper shows many planes overhead Langton Green at just over 2,500 ft – with fully 20 nm to the tarmac these planes will be powering on and off all the way in – that is hardly the role of a ‘glide path’ that allows planes to create less nuisance.

So why on earth would anyone employ a scheme that uses more fuel, creates more C02 and destroys more lives – ah, that’ll be cash again, and don’t forget once the airspace has been ‘cleared’ by creating a narrow approach further to the east, that nicely makes room for GIP to deliver GW2 and the coup de grace to its investors before it flogs off Gatwick and leaves us in a post-apocalyptic hell-hole.

However, under your tutelage Gatwick has been a disingenuous and disrespectful neighbour and I for one believe you are creating a toxic brand that will never achieve its ambitions regardless of the infrastructure bribes it dishes out.

On the 12th of August, presumably with your full knowledge and support, Tom Denton said on BBC South East that GAL would be employing new technology that would ‘provide those people on the ground with days, weeks or even months in some cases where they have no traffic at all’.

Mr Wingate, an awful lot of people reading this would be very interested to hear what your plans are in this regard.

We all know that the technology that allows the creation of these superhighways, allows the creation of multifarious iterations that can be used in rotation to deliver rolling respite. However, your reply alludes to the fact that fewer people should be overflown, ever – thereby effectively ruling out what Mr Denton appears to have promised; witness his bumbling statement two days later.

I would be extremely grateful if you could confirm that what Mr Denton described was GAL policy and kindly explain how that is to be achieved.

Mr Carter, {KCC – also addressed in the letter] you may be aware that Christopher Neal recently resigned as Tory district councillor for Cowden and Hever to join UKIP in protest against KCC’s betrayal of west Kent – you should take heed.

Mr Wingate, I would like you to come and visit this area to see for yourself what damage the recent changes have made – this is not about policy documents and national initiatives, this is about real people and real lives; quoting EU legislation is unlikely to add greatly to the strength of your argument given that having banned powerful vacuum cleaners it is now wrestling with the thorny issue of hairdryers whilst half of the rest of the globe is at each others’ throats.

Come and have a cup of tea, bring Mr Ogunlesi if he’s around and work out that there needs to be compromise and constructive communication if there is not to be an escalation of mistrust and vehement opposition.

A lot of letters, calls and emails regarding this subject go unanswered and so having engaged I hope that you will give this due consideration and I hope that you will answer the one simple question I alluded to I the subject line.

Members of the press, MPs, councillors and anyone concerned about the health and education of their children please join me in asking Mr Wingate the following:

Why are planes flying lower over Crowborough, Tunbridge Wells, Bidborough, Southborough, Rusthall, Langton Green, Fordcombe, Penshurst, Tonbridge, Leigh, Chiddingstone and Hever than they ever have before?

I genuinely don’t get it – what is happening is totally counterintuitive; I can think of not a single benefit of bringing planes in lower.

Even if you were to tell me that it too is motivated by the need to make money, however much I disagreed with it, at least I’d understand. But I really don’t.

Sir John, [Sir John Stanley, MP] your support has been stalwart and I know that you have written to Mssrs Wingate and Carter in the past; if you could get to the bottom of this one and we can get the answer published and broadcast around the region I think at least one of the biggest questions around GAL’s recent operations will have been addressed – why?

Sincerely

(name given)

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The author commented some days after writing this letter:

“I am amazed by the number of mails of support I have received – the anger and frustration out there is palpable.” 


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The email (much copying and pasting) from Stewart Wingate, to which the above letter refers, is copied below:

From: Stewart Wingate <stewart.wingate@gatwickairport.com>
Sent: 28 August 2014 11:15
To: xxxx

Dear XXXXX

Thank you for your email of the 10th of August regarding noise from aircraft overflight in your area.  I am sorry to hear that you feel you have been in some way mislead by me and my team recently.

I would like to reaffirm to you that there has been no attempt by myself or anyone else at Gatwick Airport to provide you with misleading or inaccurate information.  I have discussed the issues you have raised with our air traffic service provider NATS and can confirm again that there have been no changes to the way in which aircraft are directed or handled on final approach to the airport.  There has not been any trial of a ‘Superhighway’ on our westerly approaches and we are not planning any trials.

The airspace change consultation you refer to is part of a UK Future Airspace Strategy (FAS), a wide programme looking at modernising airspace routes and improving UK airspace efficiency; FAS is an aviation industry collaboration led by the Civil Aviation Authority. Government Policy states that airports should aim “to limit and, where possible, reduce the number of people in the UK significantly affected by aircraft noise”.  This is interpreted as those who are directly overflown by aircraft, therefore it is in line with Government Policy to condense aircraft rather than disperse.

The move to narrower traffic lanes is being delivered under a system known as Precision Area Navigation (P-RNAV). CAA policy is that P-RNAV should be the standard applied in terminal airspace, and in accordance with this, P-RNAV capability is expected to be mandated in the future for flight in the London Terminal Airspace (LTMA) and conventional ground based navigation procedures will be withdrawn from around 2018 onwards. The purpose of P-RNAV is to improve the efficiency of air traffic movements within existing defined air traffic routes. There is no proposal to change any existing controlled airspace boundaries. Part of the recent Gatwick airspace change proposals included the ability to design P-RNAV routes using the increased accuracy of the flight profile and resultant narrower swathes of departure tracks to improve the avoidance of centres of population to greater effect than that achieved by the current noise preferential routes (NPRs) that are laid down by the CAA. It is proposed that by marrying new more rational take- off routes with the improved technical performance of aircraft, aircraft will gain height quicker and smoother, and so spend less time at heights which are bothersome to people on the ground.

Gatwick has undertaken P-RNAV trials and consultation over the last several years in order to gain operational data to enable the CAA to make a decision as to whether this type of advanced navigation is operationally possible at Gatwick at the airport. We consulted publically (sic) on the implementation of P-RNAV in 2012 and the CAA gave permission to implement on all our departure routes  in November 2013, this then became mandatory for all departures in April. Implementation of P-RNAV standard of navigation does NOT provide any additional increase (sic) runway capacity at Gatwick. Hence the proposed changes would not change the number of flights arriving at and departing from Gatwick.

The airspace changes that we have recently consulted on are in support of FAS and many elements of our proposals will be implemented across all airports in the UK by 2020 as part of Europe’s Single European Sky initiative.

Stewart Wingate
Chief Executive Officer

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Three comments below reflect the feeling of many, on reading this open letter:

I echo these words. It is clear to those living below the flights that there is and has been a trial taking place and the deceit of the establishment regarding this is unacceptable. It is imperative this is not allowed to continue and that the quiet we previously experienced during the day and the night is restored.

Keep on fighting.

 

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Thank you XXXX for your words, which represent the views of many many thousands of people currently suffering from intolerable aircraft noise from Gatwick (800,000 I think at the last count).
We do the best we can to provide a safe and healthy environment for our families and saddle ourselves with financial burden to accomplish this.
I will not let a foreign owned, Corporation Tax evasive, Gatwick airport ruin everything that I have ever worked for, in one foul, unregulated swoop.
I will fight Gatwick on this each and every day and not rest until the peace and tranquillity my family and I had is returned to us.

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(In their own letter to Stewart Wingate):                                                                                               I should be grateful if you would take the time to explain how even my 3 year old son has noticed the increased frequency and noise of aircraft over Chiddingstone whilst you remain adamant that flight paths have not been changed recently.   I look forward to hearing from you.

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And another letter:

 

Open letter from a resident of Bidborough to Stewart Wingate, on the increased Gatwick noise nuisance

Below is a letter from a resident in Bidborough, which has recently experienced a much greater degree of aircraft noise – from Gatwick arrivals – than it has ever done in the past. Along with thousands of others in the areas of Tunbridge Wells, Bidborough, Hever, Penshurst, Chiddingstone and many others, the writer of the letter is justifiably angry and upset about what Gatwick and NATS have changed – and particularly at being fobbed off by responses from Gatwick which deny there has been any change. The residents very genuinely believe there have been changes, that flight paths are being concentrated, and many planes are lower. AirportWatch does not endorse the letter, nor can we confirm its factual accuracy. But it is copied here, to illustrate the extent – and the determination – of the new opposition that has recently sprung up in areas to the east of Gatwick.

Click here to view full story…

 

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Stansted publishes consultation on draft plan for future development, staying a one runway airport

Stansted Airport has published its draft Sustainable Development Plan (SDP), for consultation until 7th November. The plan sets out the airport’s ambition to grow (it is always thus in this industry – perpetual growth….) But at least the airport is not planning on a second runway.  It anticipates getting up to 45 million passengers per year on one runway, while it had about 17.8 million passengers in 2013, and has planning permission for up to 35 million. The timing of the consultation is apt, being the same day as the Airports Commission rejected an estuary airport. Stansted says its “important role has already been recognised by the Airports Commission, and the plan will help inform its final recommendations to Government on the vital contribution that Stansted’s existing capacity will make to meeting demand over the next 10-15 years.”  Local group, SSE (Stop  Stansted Expansion) commented on the SDP that they welcomed the plan being only for a single runway airport; they want a gradual phasing out of night flights; and they want the approximately 270 properties near the airport, bought by BAA, to be returned to private ownership.
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Preliminary response to Stansted Airport’s new long term plan

2.9.2014 (from SSE – Stop Stansted Expansion)
 
Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) welcomes the publication today of Stansted Airport’s new long term plan, which it describes as its ‘Sustainable Development Plan’ (SDP) for Stansted.

Importantly the plan is based on Stansted remaining as a single runway airport.

The Sustainable Develoment Plan (SDP) has been published as a draft for consultation and we believe there is considerable scope for constructive dialogue with the airport.  SSE will be submitting a detailed response in due course.  In the meantime SSE re-iterates the points made in its press release of 28 July – anticipating the new plan – see  http://stopstanstedexpansion.com/press478.html,

In particular:

  • It will be a great relief for the vast majority of local residents that Stansted’s new long term plan is based on Stansted remaining as a single runway airport but this still leaves scope – within Stansted’s existing planning permission – for the airport to handle twice as many passengers and twice as many flights as it does today.
  • Stansted’s current planning permission is for 35 million passengers per annum (mppa). Since this is only about 50% utilised at present, it would be premature to start considering anything above 35mppa on the existing runway.
  • SSE would like to see a gradual phasing out of night flights at Stansted and this issue will be high on our agenda in the consultation on the SDP.
  • Stansted Airport continues to own about 270 properties around the airport – acquired in connection with the now-aborted second runway plans. We would like to see these returned to private ownership.
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NOTES FOR EDITORS

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Background – from Stansted airport’s website:

The Draft Sustainable Development Plan (SDP) is an important document for our airport. It sets out how the airport will grow in a responsible and sustainable way to make more efficient use of its existing runway.

M.A.G’s vision is to grow Stansted to better serve the region, including attracting a wider range of airlines and new routes, particularly to the USA and Middle East – this is vital to sustain prosperity and create jobs and investment in our region. The plan will look at ways to make efficient use of our current single runway, develop and improve surface access links and strengthen our community engagement programme while at the same time being mindful of the environmental impacts, ensuring we strike the right balance between growth and sustainability.

The SDP will be split into five individual plans, as follows:

SUMMARY
COMMUNITY

ECONOMY AND SURFACE ACCESS
ENVIRONMENT
LAND USE

More at  http://www.stanstedairport.com/developmentplan


 

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Stansted Airport’s press release about the launch of their consultation on the draft Sustainable Development Plan.

London Stansted outlines the growth potential and benefits of existing runway

2 Sept 2014  ( Stansted Airport)

  • New routes and increased frequencies to drive growth and enable doubling of passenger numbers to 40-45 million per year on single runway
  • Growth achievable within agreed noise and air quality limits and existing boundary
  • Existing capacity has the potential to support an extra 10,000 on-site jobs and generate £4.6bn in additional economic benefit
  • Key enabler of growth in the London-Stansted-Cambridge corridor and east London

London Stansted Airport today launched a consultation on its draft Sustainable Development Plan (SDP) that sets out how the airport will develop to make use of the existing capacity of its single runway.

Stansted’s important role has already been recognised by the Airports Commission, and the plan will help inform its final recommendations to Government on the vital contribution that Stansted’s existing capacity will make to meeting demand over the next 10-15 years.

The plan establishes a framework for responsible and sustainable growth at Stansted, and demonstrates the airport’s ability to grow to handle 40-45 million passengers a year within agreed environmental limits and without the need for additional airport land. Making use of Stansted’s existing capacity will generate an extra 10,000 on-site jobs and £4.6 billion in additional economic activity, and act as a key enabler for economic development in the thriving London-Stansted-Cambridge corridor and east London.

The draft plan is a key element of Stansted’s on-going consultation on its approach to developing the airport to make more effective use of existing capacity. As part of Stansted’s commitment to increase the level of engagement with local communities, the airport will be holding a series of public exhibitions in local towns and villages during September and October. Those with an interest in the airport’s future are being encouraged to visit an exhibition to hear more about the plans and give their views.

Launching the consultation, London Stansted Managing Director, Andrew Harrison said:

“Stansted’s potential for sustainable growth will be of enormous value as the UK strives to develop its global connectivity to support increased trade and investment, and these issues will be central to the Airports Commission’s work as it develops its final recommendations to Government. This plan highlights the vital role that the existing capacity of Stansted’s single runway will play over the next 10-15 years in meeting these challenges, showing how the airport can more than double the number of passengers it serves and provide greater choice and variety for passengers.

“The airport’s prime location at the heart of the London-Stansted-Cambridge economic corridor means we will see a significant increase in demand at Stansted over the coming years, driven by strong economic activity across the region. The plan establishes a framework for that growth to the capacity of our existing runway, supported by commitments on the way we will work closely and openly with our local communities to strike the right balance between the benefits and impacts of having Stansted on their doorstep.

“Making effective use of the runway will not only create an additional 10,000 on-site jobs and potentially generate £4.6 billion in economic benefits but it will also support the rapid growth of the dynamic corridor – already generating over £160 billion for the UK economy – plus the fast development and strategic importance of the East London economy.

“We strongly believe Stansted can increase international connectivity in the most sustainable, responsible and cost effective way possible. For example, our plan shows how we could operate within the agreed air quality and noise limits of our current planning permissions while at the same time making more effective use of existing capacity.

“We are now consulting so that we can take account of the views and ideas of those with an interest in how Stansted grows to make the best possible use of its existing capacity. This will help us in preparing the final version of our plan later this year and I would encourage as many people as possible to share their thoughts during this process.”

Stansted’s potential for growth has been recognised by a wide range of business leaders, MPs and airlines, including:

Michael O’Leary, Ryanair’s Chief Executive:

“Stansted is a very different airport with very different ambitions under the ownership of M.A.G. The airport has untapped potential and spare capacity so it’s vital to make full and efficient use of the existing infrastructure to provide more growth opportunities and greater value to airlines and consumers at a time when runway capacity is becoming ever more constrained in the south-east of England.”

Sophie Dekkers, UK Director for easyJet:

“Aviation plays a vital role in supporting the UKs economy and connecting British businesses and people with the rest of the world. Over the next few decades there will be demand for new aviation capacity in the South East. easyJet strongly believes that existing aviation capacity in the South East of England must be fully utilised. We welcome London Stansted’s growth plans which show that Stansted can play an important role in providing significant additional capacity in the short to medium term.”

Richard Currie, UPS Public Affairs Director:

“Air freight is a UK success story integral to economic growth. Stansted’s role should not be underestimated as a key export hub which connects UK businesses to Europe and the rest of the world. It is vital that Stansted continues to be backed as an economic asset over the next decade.”

Baroness Jo Valentine, Chief Executive of business group, London First:

“While politicians dither over new runways, they’d do well to understand what can be done in the short-term. Stansted is a national asset that could grow London’s global reach if Government woke up to the fact. With a better rail link up the Lee Valley to London, and a journey time that competes with Heathrow and Gatwick, Stansted could attract new long haul airlines. And instead of labouring under a false cap on passenger numbers, it could be freed to fulfill its destiny with a higher cap, while staying within noise limits already in place.”

David Lammy, MP for Tottenham and joint chairman of the London-Stansted-Cambridge Consortium political group:

“Since being sold last year Stansted Airport is once again increasing passenger numbers and providing Londoners with more choice and destinations. Its future prospects look strong. The new owner, M.A.G, seems committed to transforming the airport and Stansted should be allowed to reach its full potential. Making best use of Stansted will not only help provide more jobs, opportunities and better connectivity for my constituents in Tottenham but would help us attract investment in the rail links from London to the airport that we are all crying out for. Regardless of where London’s long-term aviation growth lies, the bottom line is that we need more air capacity now. Stansted is clearly best-placed to provide this short- to medium-term increase in capacity.”

Colin Stanbridge Chief Executive, London Chamber of Commerce and Industry:

“Stansted is a world class international airport on London’s doorstep with the capacity to do more for the capital and its businesses. Unlocking that latent capacity need not be difficult nor expensive: removing the artificial cap on the number of passengers able to pass through the airport would be cost-free. Likewise, the minor improvements to surface access that will deliver a faster and more frequent rail connection to the City have been planned for years and, with the political will, could be delivered efficiently and cost-effectively.

“The benefits of doing so are clear: London and Britain’s success relies on its openness to the world and its businesses rely on trade and foreign investment to grow and create prosperity. London and Britain suffers when aviation capacity is constrained. While politicians have dithered about where the next runway can be built, there needs to be a greater focus on what can be done in the short- and medium-term to alleviate the capacity crisis. The answer is right in front of them: a better connected Stansted that is able to make the most of its capacity would benefit businesses, London and Britain.”

Mark Pendlington, Chairman New Anglia LEP:

“Growth, business opportunities and jobs depend on the east of England being able to compete and win in the global marketplace. This is why Stansted has a major role to play in keeping our economy mobile and easily accessible for millions of business and leisure travellers, and for all those who want to make this part of the world a great place to live and work. Stansted’s growth is at the heart of all the exciting opportunities that exist here so it’s vital the very best use is made of the airport’s existing capacity and infrastructure.”

Councilor David Finch, Leader of Essex County Council:

“A strong Essex economy needs sensible growth at Stansted to provide for more inward investment and to create jobs and business and leisure opportunities. I’m delighted that Stansted shares the big ambitions of a big county, and I will support work to tell the world how good we are and how much better we can be. I pledge Essex County Council’s partnership to improving our road and rail infrastructure helping people get to and from the airport quicker and more efficiently.”

John Dugmore, Chief Executive Suffolk Chamber of Commerce:

“Suffolk and the East of England is the home of hard work and entrepreneurial spirit. It is also home to some of the most forward thinking and highly skilled businesses in the UK and the role of Stansted Airport is fundamental to the future success of the regional economy.

“It is vital that the existing runway at Stansted is used to its capacity as more and more businesses look to do business across the EU and around the world. Our view and the view of business is that while this approach is the most sustainable and efficient it also means we can continue to attract investment into the economy in the coming years. By utilising the current runway to its maximum benefit we will see more investment, more economic growth, more jobs and more prosperity coming into our region.”

David Burch, Director of Policy at Essex Chambers of Commerce:

“Stansted is a major asset to the economy of the East of England and Essex, particularly in terms of attracting inward investment to the UK along with visitors from overseas. It has planning permission to handle 35 million passengers a year but could handle up to 45 million without the need to construct an additional runway or make any major changes to existing airport infrastructure. It is already well known for low cost carriers but has real opportunities to add additional destinations and airlines and develop long-haul services. Essex Chambers of Commerce very much support M.A.G in these aspirations which bring with them the opportunities to create additional economic growth, 10,000 jobs and £2billion GVA for the benefit of not just Essex but the rest of the East of England and the UK general.”

Keith Brown, Chief Executive Visit East Anglia:

“Tourism in East Anglia is worth in excess of £6bn and employs over 100k people with international visitors being a significant contributor to that total. Having such a gateway as London Stansted Airport provides tourism businesses in East Anglia access to over 150 international markets and therefore is important in helping build a sustainable and successful visitor economy. Tourism supports not only our vibrant cities but also many of our smaller towns and villages that need the visitor spend to maintain the shops and other local businesses for local residents to enjoy.”

Adrian Cannard, Director of Strategy and Planning, Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP

“Cambridge and Peterborough are dynamic cities and world leading centres for innovation and research so it’s important businesses in this area have quick and convenient access to international air travel to support economic growth and attract even more overseas companies to invest and locate here.

Stansted Airport already provides direct connections to over 160 destinations but it’s vital the airport makes the best use of its existing infrastructure and runway capacity to unlock further potential and ensure the area and its business community continues to grow and compete though enhanced international connectivity.”

Consultation runs until November 07th 2014.

Dates and locations for the public exhibitions, including details on how the public can take part, are available by visiting:
www.stanstedairport.com/developmentplan

The final version of the plan is expected to be published in late 2014.

http://www.stanstedairport.com/about-us/media-centre/press-releases/london-stansted-outlines-the-growth-potential-and-benefits-of-existing-runway

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Open letter from a resident of Bidborough to Stewart Wingate, on the increased Gatwick noise nuisance

Below is a letter from a resident in Bidborough, which has recently experienced a much greater degree of aircraft noise – from Gatwick arrivals – than it has ever done in the past. Along with thousands of others in the areas of Tunbridge Wells, Bidborough, Hever, Penshurst, Chiddingstone and many others, the writer of the letter is justifiably angry and upset about what Gatwick and NATS have changed – and particularly at being fobbed off by responses from Gatwick which deny there has been any change. The residents very genuinely believe there have been changes, that flight paths are being concentrated, and many planes are lower. AirportWatch does not endorse the letter, nor can we confirm its factual accuracy. But it is copied here, to illustrate the extent – and the determination – of the new opposition that has recently sprung up in areas to the east of Gatwick.  Another similar letter can be found here.
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2.9.2014

Dear Mr Wingate,

As a resident of Bidborough for 15 years and having raised 3 boys in what I had assumed to be a tranquil environment I have to say that in the past 14 months since what I can only presume is the result of your ‘approach stabilisation trials’ as part of the wider Gatwick A-CDM55 programme seem to have become implemented… This treasured environment is being wrecked by day and by night.

I am fighting alongside over 100 fellow residents against an onslaught of low flying, noisy aircraft. We regularly experience lumbering A380s, whining A320s and roaring 747s at between 2700 and 3500ft and at noise levels above 60Db over our village (heights above Gatwick and recorded on CASPER).

We have NEVER had this before. This morning I woke at 4.40am, thanks – I rarely sleep a full night now.

I understand that ATC are guiding aircraft from the east on ever increasing loops – regularly overflying the centres of Bidborough, Penshurst, Southborough, Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge, Crowborough and Uckfield, purely to gain the most efficient ‘spacing’ pre a long final approach.

All in order to sync with turnaround times and departure slots, thus generating the most profit for GIP.

All this misery for 2 extra ‘movements’ an hour, what is the next target to hit? Can you squeeze 60 or 65 an hour? And what will a second runway be like for us?

Bidborough is 200ft above Gatwick, set in the thriving High Weald with a thriving economy. We are a clear 400ft above sea level and 18.5 miles away from Gatwick!

Is this eastward march ever to end? And do you still class flying low over the aforementioned towns and villages as ‘flying over fields’? Surely these are areas of high density population and therefore should not be regularly overflown? Especially during the night… Yet this unregulated behaviour is happening without any consultation or consideration of us below.

If this current behaviour were to be a policy, would it pass the Governments ‘families test’? I doubt it.

Please do not send me a response with blurry 2011 flight maps on them nor tell me that I’ve opened my windows too much or even that it’s been a bit blowy recently… Or worse still ‘that nothing has changed’ because it has – 100 residents in Bidborough say so and 300+ residents in Penshurt say so – so who is telling the truth?

I do not wish my village and surrounding communities to be classed as already ‘regularly overflown’ and therefore ripe for and accepting of an aerial superhighway.

Why do you still not show where the proposed flight path will be?

We as communities are in utter abhorrence as to the thought of an impending ‘superhighway’ of aircraft and have had the utterly shambolic and embarrassing experience this summer of filling in an impenetrable ‘consultation’ questionnaire, scrabbling around for data, expert opinion and guidance and ‘judging’ where a 24 hour, 350+ stream of aircraft will be via a single laughable .ppt map (map 35) and all to meet a shamefully inadequate deadline whilst most residents were on summer holiday.

But we did it and if the intention was to divide and conquer, unfortunately for Gatwick the exact opposite has happened.  We shared advice, held village meetings, invited guest speakers and got supportive in the way responsible communities do. We allowed each other to make up our own minds by being informed and factual and the result is we are united in our rejection of your plans, your superhighway and your 2nd runway and therefore if you so arrogantly say ‘Gatwick Obviously’, we purposefully state ‘gatickobviouslynot.org

Yours

(name given)

A resident of Bidborough in Kent

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There is another letter:

Open letter to Stewart Wingate, asking for explanation of the increased aircraft noise being experienced

An open letter to Stewart Wingate, the CEO of Gatwick airport, has been written by a member of one of the new opposition groups that has mushroomed in the past two months. These have emerged, as the noise from Gatwick arrivals over parts of Kent (especially around Tunbridge Wells, Hever, Penshurst and nearby areas) has increased. Due to subtle changes in concentration of flight paths, and apparently lower approaches, the lives of thousands of people have been badly affected by the noise. And these people are absolutely not prepared to lie down and accept this unwelcome, unpleasant intrusion into their lives. There is a steely determination, and unflinching resolve shared by thousands. A letter to Mr Wingate is copied below. AirportWatch does not endorse the sentiments in the letter, (at times expressed bluntly) nor do we make any claim that all the points made are accurate. It is copied here, to indicate the problems of many people in Kent and West Sussex, as they perceive them. It shows eloquently their anger, and their refusal to believe they are not being fobbed off with half truths by the airport, which insists nothing has changed.

Click here to view full story…

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Airports Commission gives comprehensive & unambiguous decision not to short-list a Thames estuary airport

As widely leaked, the Airports Commission has decided against short listing an inner Thames estuary airport scheme, for further consideration. The Commission had intended not to short list the scheme back in December 2013, but were persuaded to give the concept further thought. The Commission’s report wording is unambiguous. They say, to take a few direct quotes: ” we are not persuaded that a very large airport in the Thames Estuary is the right answer to London’s and the UK’s connectivity needs.”  “To roll the dice on a very risky project, where delays and overruns are highly likely, would be reckless.”  “…Commission has concluded that the proposal for a new ITE airport has substantial disadvantages that collectively outweigh its potential benefits. Cumulative obstacles to delivery, high costs and uncertainties in relation to its economic and strategic benefits contribute to an assessment that an ITE airport proposal does not represent a credible option for short-listing.” And “…if UK carbon emissions are to be kept within the overall cap, concentrating a very high number of flights in one location could limit the scope for growth elsewhere and hence reduce the overall diversity of the UK airports system.”  So a very definite NO. 
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The Airports Commission’s decision not to add an inner Thames estuary airport proposal to a shortlist for further appraisal.

Inner Thames estuary airport: summary and decision paper  

(46 pages)

Part of the introduction, by Sir Howard Davies, says:

The reasons for our decision are set out in detail in this document.   In brief, we are not
persuaded that a very large airport in the Thames Estuary is the right answer to London’s
and the UK’s connectivity needs, and the airport would need to be very large to justify the
enormous costs involved, both for the airport itself and the surface transport connections
to it. While we recognise the need for a hub airport, we believe this should be a part of an
effective system of competing airports to meet the needs of a widely spread and diverse
market like London’s. One or more of those airports will need to grow: we will recommend
which of them should expand first in our final report. Our Interim Report argued that we
need one net new runway by 2030, and that additional capacity on that scale can be
reconciled with the country’s climate change commitments. That remains our planning
assumption.
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and
There will be those who argue that we have missed an opportunity for a Great Leap
Forward, and that the Commission lacks ambition and imagination. Our response is that
we are ambitious for the right solution. The need for additional capacity is urgent. To roll the dice on a very risky project, where delays and overruns are highly likely, would be reckless.
We need to focus on solutions which are deliverable, affordable, and set the right balance
for the future of aviation in the UK.
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Some other extracts from the report:
Nonetheless, the Commission has concluded that the proposal for a new ITE airport
has substantial disadvantages that collectively outweigh its potential benefits.
Cumulative obstacles to delivery, high costs and uncertainties in relation to its
economic and strategic benefits contribute to an assessment that an ITE airport
proposal does not represent a credible option for shortlisting.
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The Commission has identified relatively little support for such a proposal from the
aviation industry or business community, or from the local authorities nearby, and
some intended benefits, such as the scope for 24-hour operation, appear to be of
limited relevance.
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In contrast, the closure of Heathrow Airport would be expected to have a significant
negative economic impact on the surrounding local area, with the scope and
timing of any mitigation as a result of the redevelopment of the Heathrow site
highly uncertain.
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A further benefit claimed by advocates of a new ITE airport is that it would be
able to deliver against the potential requirement for a further increase in runway
capacity by 2050. NATS have advised the Commission, however, that no more than
800,000 air traffic movements (ATMs) per annum would be likely to be achievable
at a four-runway airport, constraining the level of additional capacity provided.
While the construction of additional runways, if feasible, might enable a higher
number of ATMs to be accommodated, it would also increase the scheme’s costs,
environmental impacts, and airspace and delivery challenges
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It is not clear, in any case, that an ITE ‘super-hub’ would present an attractive
solution to the UK’s long-term aviation capacity needs. It may be less flexible in
responding to changes in the aviation industry than other, more incremental options.
Also, if UK carbon emissions are to be kept within the overall cap, concentrating
a very high number of flights in one location could limit the scope for growth
elsewhere and hence reduce the overall diversity of the UK airports system.
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To keep the option under consideration beyond this point, however, would prolong unnecessarily the associated costs and anxiety for nearby communities, unless it could be seen to be a credible proposal. The Commission’s judgement is that a balanced assessment does not favour such a conclusion.

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3.6 In addition, it has been argued by some stakeholders that a significantly higher level of aviation connectivity would be provided by a single, large hub airport than by a more dispersed distribution of aviation capacity, and that an Estuary airport is best placed to facilitate this. The analysis carried out by the Commission for its Interim Report, however, indicated that, while a concentrated capacity model would deliver higher passenger and ATM numbers than a dispersed model, it only showed a small difference in destinations served. Therefore, it is not clear that any benefits of this kind would be as great as some advocates of such schemes contend.


These are the conclusions of the Airports Commission report:

4. Conclusions

4.1 The Commission appreciates the imaginative and considered designs put forward for a new airport in the inner Thames Estuary. Much high quality work has been
produced from all sides that has greatly enhanced the quality of the public debate on the UK’s international connectivity needs.

4.2 The scale of change associated with an ITE airport would be very great with major implications for passengers throughout the UK, thousands of direct employees
and others in associated jobs, businesses, wildlife, local communities around both Heathrow and the ITE site, the aviation industry and the UK taxpayer. The in-depth feasibility studies, and the submissions made to the Call for Evidence and consultations, have enhanced the Commission’s understanding of these effects, and of the broader costs, impacts and feasibility of such an option.

4.3 The Commission has concluded that the proposal for a new ITE airport has substantial disadvantages that collectively outweigh its potential benefits. Cumulative obstacles to delivery, high costs and uncertainties in relation to its economic and strategic benefits contribute to an assessment that an ITE airport proposal does not represent a credible option for shortlisting.

4.4 There will be scheme promoters and others who will be disappointed by this decision and who would wish to see further consideration of proposals for an ITE airport by the Commission. However, it should be remembered that such work is not without its costs. As set out in its Interim Report the Commission appreciates the potential for its work to cause unwelcome uncertainty for communities close to shortlisted schemes. These circumstances underline that it would be inappropriate for the Commission to continue to consider the option of an ITE airport unless it could be seen to be a credible proposal.

4.5 As such, the Commission will not be taking forward any further work on the option of an ITE airport, and will proceed to consultation in autumn 2014 on the three currently shortlisted options.

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The Airports Commission’s decision not to add an inner Thames estuary airport proposal to a shortlist for further appraisal.

Inner Thames estuary airport: summary and decision paper  

(46 pages)

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