Francis Maude: Noise misery foreshadows Gatwick second runway

Francis Maude, MP for Horsham, has received a great number of letters and emails from distressed residents in Warnham and Rusper, in recent weeks, about the new flight path trial over them. They are saying they are being plagued by a constant stream of noisy aircraft taking off from Gatwick towards the west starting at 6am.  Many people have complained directly to Gatwick Airport, the CAA and NATS  – but have yet to be satisfied on a number of points. Most residents were not aware of any minimal consultation about the changes before they started.  Francis Maude is asking for much more detail about the trials. These include on what criteria will the trial be assessed? Why does it need to continue for six months? and How is it being monitored?  He says the misery currently being experienced by local residents foreshadows what would be a permanent feature of life in the area if a 2nd Gatwick runway were to be built.  The amount of opposition to this trial suggests it is not being successful.  Francis Maude says: “I have made my opposition to a second Gatwick runway many times in public and private, and am happy to reiterate this now.”


Horsham MP Francis Maude: Noise misery foreshadows second runway

 8.3.2014  (West Sussex County Times)

Photo: Rt Hon Francis Maude MP commented on the new flight path trial over the historic parish of Warnham, West Sussex, "Even these last few weeks, with the weather keeping people indoors and off season traffic levels, the noise from the flight path trial has been unacceptable for local residents.  When high holiday season is on us, with the warm weather enticing people outside, the effects are likely to be intolerable. So I'm urging NATS and Gatwick to call time on this trial now.  We've had the trial. It's failed."  'It was good to meet so many people of Warnham this morning as well as a number of others from other parishes that have also been affected.  People are starting to realise the threat of a second runway and are starting to ask serious questions about the implications that expanding Gatwick would have on them all,’ said Chairman of GACC Brendon Sewill.  'They should be aware that their Horsham councillors will be debating the subject shortly and need to tell them that new flight paths from a new runway (which could affect much of the Horsham District) are unacceptable.'

Francis Maude out meeting the furious residents of  Warnham

Over the last two weeks I have received a great number of letters and emails from distressed residents in Warnham and Rusper, who tell me that they are being plagued by a constant stream of noisy aircraft taking off from Gatwick towards the west starting at 6am.

Many of them have complained directly to Gatwick Airport, the CAA and NATS but have yet to be satisfied on a number of points.

There has to be some consultation before a trial flight path change can be commenced. This was apparently carried out, although most local residents were completely unaware of the trial before the noise began. However there are several outstanding questions to which I am urgently seeking answers:

Exactly what is being trialled?

Why is any change needed?

On what criteria will the trial be assessed?

Why does it need to continue for six months?

How is it being monitored?

Some local residents are writing to me from addresses which should not be directly under the flight paths as advised by the customer relations department at Gatwick, which suggests that pilots are not adhering to the specified trial route. Anyone who suspects that planes are deviating from the prescribed route should immediately report it to Gatwick, using the email address

The fears of local residents, many of whom bought their houses specifically for their peacefulsurroundings having researched the Gatwick routes in advance, are that this is simply a prelude to making a more concerted case for a second runway at Gatwick. I have no idea whether this is true.

But there is no doubt at all that the misery currently being experienced by local residents foreshadows what would be a permanent feature of life in the area if a second runway were to be built to the south of the existing one. I have made my opposition to a second Gatwick runway many times in public and private, and am happy to reiterate this now.

The demands it would make on our stretched infrastructure would be, in my view, unsupportable given the amount of development already in the pipeline which is being carefully planned to grow the community in a sustainable way.

Given the strength of the reaction to this trial, which suggests that it is not proving successful, I hope that it will not be necessary for the experiment to last for the full six months. I am in the meantime making urgent enquiries at the highest levels of all the agencies involved and will be visiting Warnham on Sunday to support residents and experience the issue for myself.



Francis Maude’s website says:


No to second runway

The Horsham Parliamentary constituency benefits enormously from its close proximity to Gatwick Airport.  Many people work at Gatwick and commute from it – it’s a key part of the regional and local economy.

A regular visitor to Gatwick, Francis is keen for it to flourish – but only as a single runway airport.

A legal agreement preventing a second runway is due to expire in 2019 and Francis has long campaigned against future plans being developed.  He is a supporter of the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign and chairs a group of local authorities and MPs who are all against a second runway.

Adding another runway would increase Gatwick’s capacity from 45m to 80m passengers a year and would require a new town the size of Crawley to be built in the area.  There would be many environmental implications, already struggling local infrastructure would be further challenged and many more local residents would suffer from noise pollution.

When, in December 2009, BAA sold Gatwick to Global Infrastructure Partners, Francis was quick to point out to the new Board that the local community did not want an additional runway and that the airport could expand without one.

The Board later ruled out a second runway and Francis spoke out about how pleased he was that the campaign had met with early success.

In Dec 2013 The news from the Airports Commission led by Sir Howard Davies announcing that Gatwick has been short-listed by the Government as a potential 2nd runway option is disappointing for those of us concerned about a second runway at Gatwick.

Building a second runway would have huge environmental impacts with noise pollution the greatest, and this is seen to be the biggest single concern about its feasibility although the commission report does describe significant improvements in aircraft fuel efficiency and noise footprint. The second concern is the need for much improved local infrastructure and for many more houses to be built in an area where local councils are already struggling to meet the targets, the paradox being that the provision of these houses would ensure that many more families would be subject to the noise pollution.

The Commission report suggests that Gatwick, London City and Luton are all forecast to become full by 2030 across a range of scenarios regardless of whether or not there is an additional runway, and by 2050 the carbon capped forecast is predicted to have risen still further to more than 95% of available capacity. The good news is that work of the Commission is not yet done, and has so far only confirmed this need for increased runway capacity somewhere in the south. It has shortlisted two options for new runways at Heathrow and one at Gatwick, and more work is to be done on the option of creating an entirely new hub airport in the Thames estuary.

It is inevitable that when the decision is made there will be as many people frustrated and disappointed as will be excited at the prospect of growth in the local economy.

I will continue with other West Sussex MPS to ensure that the voice of local people is heard throughout the decision making process






GACC calls for flight path trial to stop due to anger and outrage in the village of Warnham

March 5, 2014

The Argus: Angry Warnham residents

A new flight path for take-offs from Gatwick airport has caused outrage in the parish of Warnham, near Horsham. Designed as a 6-month trial to enable more aircraft to take-off from the Gatwick runway it has already caused a wave of protest. A member of the GACC (Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign), Sally Pavey, who lives in Warnham, says: ‘The tranquillity of our 14th century, conservation village has been lost and we seem powerless to do anything about it. Everyone is up in arms as we are woken at 6.00 am with an aircraft overhead every few minutes. Living in Warnham has turned into a nightmare!’ GACC has called for the trial to be stopped. The new route is causing an unacceptable degree of upset and maximum anger. It is just a small foretaste of what is to come if a new runway were to be built. “With a new runway the new flight paths would bring anger and misery to perhaps 30 or more towns and villages. And that would be permanent, not just for 6 months. Warnham is a wake-up call for why we should all oppose a new runway.’          Click here to view full story…


Concerns about the effectiveness of a new aviation noise authority – and the public’s trust in it

March 4, 2014

In its interim report published on 17th December 2013, the Airports Commission recommended to government “… the establishment of an Independent Noise Authority to provide expert and impartial advice about the noise impacts of aviation and to facilitate the delivery of future improvements to airspace operations.” GACC – the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign – has responded to this suggestion with a lot of caveats. GACC would welcome the authority if its main purpose is to reduce aircraft noise, but not if its main purpose is to persuade local residents to relax their opposition to a new runway at Gatwick. Residents want the noise to be reduced, not ‘mitigating’, and not ‘reducing the number of people affected’ if that means merely making noise worse for fewer people. . There have been years of unsatisfactory complaints mechanisms on aircraft noise, and also of broken assurances from the aviation industry. “A single point for complaints, an aircraft noise ombudsman with power to order improvement or compensation, would be welcome. But we do not see this in the recommendations of the Commission’s Interim Report.” There are fears that the new body will be “long grass into which difficult issues could be consigned.” A body designed to smooth the path of a new runway, whether at Gatwick or elsewhere would be vigorously opposed.

Click here to view full story…


Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign speaks up for the village of Warnham, suffering from an unannounced flight path trial

March 4, 2014

A new flight path has been introduced for aircraft taking off from Gatwick to the west, then turning left around Horsham. It passes directly over the village of Warnham and is apparently a trial designed in order to get more aircraft off the Gatwick runway. GACC (the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign) considers it intolerable that new misery and a decline in house values should be caused just to create extra profit for the owners of Gatwick. Normally there are 3 take off routes to the west, which are contained within compulsory Noise Preferential Route (NPR) corridors. The new route route departs from the NPR, particularly over Warnham, where it has caused consternation. The trial is a technical one not intended to measure the social impact and they did not announce it in advance so as not to provoke complaints that might not have emerged otherwise. The airport says because it is a trial it was not necessary to consult, as would be a legal requirement if the new route were to be permanent. GACC say there is no national need for this route change – Stansted airport is operating at less than half its capacity. People fear that this new route is a small fore-taste of the widespread misery and protest that would be created across Surrey and Sussex by a new runway.

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New Gatwick flightpath trials are ‘destroying’ village life at Warnham, West Sussex

February 27, 2014

Residents in Warnham, about 10 km south west of Gatwick, and complaining strenuously about low-flying aircraft going over their homes from 6am each day. They feel the character of their village, let alone its tranquillity, are being destroyed. This is part of a trial for a new new flightpath which started on February 17th and will continue for 6 months. The trial is being run by NATS in conjunction with Gatwick airport, but people in Warnham complain that they were not notified or consulted in advance of the trial. The planes pass over the village at approximately 2,000ft and villagers say they can be as frequent as every 5 minutes at some times of day. The noise is loud enough to have raised concerns about its impact on vulnerable residents, in particular the elderly and disabled. The Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC) claims that rural residents suffer more from noise pollution than urban residents. The noise is more intrusive as there is little background noise. GACC is concerned that the trial of the new flightpath over Warnham is designed solely to get more aircraft off the Gatwick runway. “It is intolerable that new misery and decline in house values should be caused just to create extra profit.”     Click here to view full story…