Francis Maude says it is intolerable for some people to be very intensively overflown, “to the extreme detriment of their lives”
Francis Maude, MP for Horsham, wrote that the ADNID trial has been almost six months of intense misery for many of his constituents. He has been liaising with the airport, the CAA, NATS and the Secretary of State for Transport on the trial and its impacts. Gatwick is aiming to increase potential take-offs at peak times from 55 to 58 per hour from its single runway, and to do this it claims to need more focused flight paths, allowed by better aircraft on-board navigation systems. Gatwick says it needs to use new NPR routes, rather than the established ones. Government policy is that the decision about new routes, which rests with the Secretary of State, will be based on reducing the numbers of people overflown, in a simple headcount exercise. But there are local circumstances which allow for other considerations – background noise, altitude above sea level – to be taken into account, and Francis says “this is our best hope of seeing off this threat.” Sharing of the noise misery burden may be tolerable but ” What is intolerable is when fewer people are very intensively overflown, to the extreme detriment of their lives.” He adds: “I have sought reassurance that the consultation being run by IpsosMori will be independently scrutinised by the CAA, using the raw data if necessary.”
Thursday, 7 August, 2014
(Francis Maude’s website)
Tomorrow, Gatwick’s ADNID trial will end just one week before its scheduled date, after almost six months of intense misery for many of my constituents.
It began on 17th February without prior warning, and although it may be a plausible argument that advance notice might have coloured people’s perception of it, there was no doubt that by 8am on that Monday morning many residents – in Warnham particularly – were shocked beyond belief by the new intensity of the flights.
Since then I have been back and forth to the airport, the CAA, NATS and the Secretary of State for Transport who has written to me again following our recent meeting. The full text of the letter appears on my website, [AirportWatch is still trying to track this letter down …. so far without success …..] but the main points are these:
•London airspace is hugely busy and complex, and needs more capacity
•Gatwick is aiming to increase potential take-offs at peak times from 55 to 58 per hour from its single runway, and to do this it claims to need more focused fight paths, allowed by better on-board navigation systems
•As part of this goal, it is claimed that a new Noise Preferential Route must be adopted, and the current consultation (which ends on 14thAugust) aims to collect data on which of three routes is most preferred by local residents
.•Government policy is that the decision about new routes, which rests with the Secretary of State, will be based on reducing the numbers of people overflown, in a simple headcount exercise. But there are local circumstances which allow for other considerations to be taken into account, and this is our best hope of seeing off this threat. I continue to argue that within a few miles of an airport most people expect to be aware of planes, but as long as the nuisance is equitably shared, it is bearable and a trade-off against the convenience of having an airport nearby (for businesses as well as travellers). What is intolerable is when fewer people are very intensively overflown, to the extreme detriment of their lives
.•I also argue that as heights are counted above mean sea level, which does make sense as the only realistic datum, communities in elevated positions should have that elevation taken into account
.•As there seem to be many complaints about the airspace consultation itself, I have sought reassurance that the consultation being run by IpsosMori will be independently scrutinised by the CAA, using the raw data if necessary.
You are urged to respond to the consultation at
gatwickairport.com/gatwickairspaceconsultation before 14th August,
and also write to the airport and to the address below if you have concerns about the presentation and methodology of the consultation, and its accessibility by ordinary members of the public.
Airspace Business Coordinator – Airspace, ATM and Aerodromes Re: Gatwick Airspace Change SID Consultation Safety and Airspace Regulation Group CAA House 45-59 Kingsway London WC2B 6TE
I very much hope that we can achieve a fair result for all residents in Surrey and Sussex when this process is complete.
Gatwick Airport’s document on the ADNID trial
The CAA have also published their April Board Meeting Minutes and these include a section on the ADNID trial in the Chief Executive’s Report :
“6. As part of the Performance Based Navigation (PBN) initiatives, Gatwick airport and NATS are trialling new departure routes. The ADNID Standard Instrument Departure trial has attracted many complaints from residents in Warnham, which is an area of a “high level of tranquillity” within 2 Km of the trial route. CAA is encouraging NATS and Gatwick to proactively manage communications with those affected and is also challenging NATS and Gatwick to ensure that the trial is ended as soon as sufficient data is available. It was confirmed that the CAA had handled the initiation of the trial in accordance with the Air Navigation Guidance issued by the Secretary of State. Should NATS or Gatwick wish to propose an airspace change that included the ADNID route it would be subject to full consultation requirements. The Board acknowledged the levels of local interest and the fact that an absolute level of noise is not a measure of public irritation and that different groups of people have different expectations of acceptable levels of ambient noise.”
A member of AirportWatch comments that it is not clear that the “initiation of the trial” was in accordance with the DfT Guidance. The CAA are supposed to determine the extent of the necessary consultation before the trial on the basis of the impact assessment provided by the trial sponsors. I don’t believe there was one.
Gatwick’s document on the ADNID trial is at
Francis Maude said, slightly earlier:
Summer 2014 – The Latest Trial:
The ADNID trial ends on Friday, just one week early. I regret that we have not been able to bring about its earlier demise.
Many of you have expressed your exasperation at the way in which it was inflicted, and I know that most of you on this address list have also registered your views with the CAA, Gatwick Airport, NATS, the Department for Transport, Horsham District Council and West Sussex County Council.
I have continued throughout the trial period to focus on two things:
– Promoting the essential fairness of dispersing flights rather than concentrating them, even if the latter is apparently justified by claiming fewer numbers of people being overflown
– Challenging the assertion that there needs to be any new Noise Preferential Route in order for Gatwick to achieve a modest potential increase in hourly movements as a single runway airport.
I recently met with Patrick McLoughlin, Secretary of State at the Department for Transport, and attach a copy of his letter to me following the meeting. I also attach a copy of my County Times article which appears this week.
I would urge you to respond to the flightpath consultation before it closes on 14th August if you have not done so already. If it is your view that no new NPRs should be adopted, you may offer that view, although it is not immediately apparent.
Many of you already know that after the recent roadshow by Gatwick Airport to determine which of three options was the favourite plan for their second runway site, very many more people opted for no second runway at all than the total of those who expressed a preference for one of the second runway options. Depending on the way in which the figures are interpreted, this ranges from twice as many to 5.6 times as many.
Many of you have also reported that you find the consultation too long, and far too technical for a layman to complete. I understand that Gatwick claim to have tried to achieve a balance between giving too much technical information and not giving enough, but if you still have serious concerns about the methodology and design of the consultation, the Secretary of State offers a route for you to express those concerns.
This debate is by no means over yet. I cannot express a preference for one scheme above another, in public or private, as it would be invidious for me to support an option that advantages one group of constituents at the expense of others. I am able to ensure that the voices of all my constituents are being heard loud and clear, so that the ultimate decision-makers are in no doubt at all about the effects of their decisions.
Francis Maude also says:
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