Gatwick Campaigners slam airport’s revised noise action plan
and the result of a
consultation which was "largely a sham." Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign
(GACC) says the current situation on the draft Gatwick Noise Action Plan (NAP)
is "extremely unsatisfactory."
of Information request reveal that, among other things, the revised draft plan
submitted to the Department for Transport (DfT) by the airport last December,
after consultation with the public, only included a few changes from the original
draft, and so the consultation was "largely a sham."
employed by the airport and
presented to the DfT, "are totally mangled and unrecognisable."
in noise and pollution from
the airport, and other key aims including the protection of the environment around
Gatwick, and keeping the
airport within its present boundaries. It is the main environmental body concerned
with Gatwick and has as members about 100 borough, district and parish councils,
covering about a 20-mile radius from the airport.
released in draft form for the first time last summer. It set out more than 50
actions to minimise noise near Gatwick and underneath flight paths, including
giving priority to quieter planes, engaging more with affected communities, and
possibly creating steeper approach paths that would reduce noise as planes land.
to the Government last December, GACC called for more effective action and less
secrecy. The group said the revised draft was only obtained after
considerable delay by means of a Freedom of Information request.
response to the consultation exercise and an inadequate summary of consultation
us of the peace and
quiet we miss, and of the importance of doing everything possible to reduce noise."
shall press the Government to take
further action so that we can look forward to less noise, not more. "There is
considerable scope for quieter aircraft
and better management to reduce the suffering of local residents."
Airport and the DfT refused to
publish the revised action plan, and it was therefore necessary to lodge a Freedom
of Information request.
"Unlike the normal governmental consultation procedure, the responses have not
been made available for public
inspection, so there is no way of checking whether the (mangled) summary is correct.
"The Department is
refusing to accept any further representations, and is treating the issue as
a private matter to be dealt with
between themselves and the airport."
in the result." The group highlighted "two welcome additions in the revised version"
of the NAP – both of which it proposed – on implementing recommendations on a
steeper approach path to Gatwick after feasibility studies were carried out, and
adopting, where applicable and appropriate, the findings of research on the effects
of noise on health outlined by the World Health Organisation.
GACC said the Freedom of Information reply showed that the revised NAP fails to
address the issue of concentration of arrival flight paths, that "a number of
constructive proposals" from GACC for alleviating the problem had been ignored,
and that there had been a failure to recognise "the intense misery, distress and
injustice caused to those under the flight paths."
to reduce the total noise
caused by the airport," the group concluded.