Responses to the Gatwick airspace consultation (closed 16th August)
On 23rd May Gatwick launched a consultation on airspace changes it proposes. This is part of the airspace change programme to “modernise” flight paths, in line with the UK Future Airspace Strategy published by the CAA. The consultation was widely regarded as inadequate, badly written and presented, and effectively almost impossible for ordinary people – unused to the jargon and the technicalities – to either understand or respond to. The consultation finally ended on 16th August. Many organisations, and MPs, have asked for the consultation to be considered void, due to its deficiencies, and re-done to include maps, showing all proposed flight paths at Gatwick for arrivals and departures up to 10,000 feet. These were not included before, making responses difficult. These are some of the consultation responses sent in from local councils and parishes, representing their members. They all comment negatively on the quality of the consultation. One comments: “The air travel industry appears to be in total denial of the collateral damage which would be caused by these proposals”
The Gatwick airpace consultation
GACC (Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign) produced a detailed and excellent document, deciphering the badly written consultation document, and setting out the important facts to help people to respond to the consultation. GACC notes on Airspace Consultation Phase 2 – July 2014
GACC’s consultation response
GACC are demanding that:
– Gatwick Airport should scrap the proposed new routes;
– the CAA should declare the consultation void, and insist on a new consultation, with proper maps, to include new arrival routes;
– the Government should veto any new routes, and should issue a Direction that Gatwick (and other large airports) must provide full compensation for people whose houses are devalued by new concentrated flight paths; and
– the Land Compensation Act should be amended to include new ‘motorways in the sky’.
High Weald Parish Councils Aviation Action Group (HWCAAG) response
In summary, they say:
- We oppose the realignment because there is insufficient information to make a reasonable judgement. Being under a realigned flight path would blight any community.
- We propose a further round of consultation after the realignment has been decided.
- We propose multiple routes on a rota basis (not a multiple of 7)
- We propose that CDA is enforced.
- We propose that height levels of aircraft should be maintained at the maximum height through the controlled area in accordance with safe landing.
- We propose that given the aims of AONB, NT and other heritage properties in the group area they suffer unduly from visible and noise impact of aircraft and should qualify for greater respite.
- We propose that affected individuals and communities and businesses should be compensated financially.
- We propose that a new metric for measuring aircraft noise and impact is found that takes account of tonal change and ambient noise. The current measure is obsolete.
- We propose no increase in night flights and preferably a reduction to no night flights.
- We oppose a second runway at Gatwick.
- The Chiddingstone Parish Council response to this consultation can be found here.The HWCAAG response to the consultation can be found here.
The Slinfold Parish Council response
They agreed at a council meeting to reject any of the current options to change Gatwick departures from RWY26 to the south.
Due to a list of errors and inaccuracies, they are asking for the consultation to be re-done.
The Warnham Parish Council response (from Warnham, Slinfold and Rusper councils)
The first part of their response, on 7.8.2014 is here
Their further response on 14.8.2014 is here
Among other comments, they say:
“The GLAC (Gatwick Local Area Consultation) documentation is technically complex, it makes a number of unsubstantiated and sometimes contradictory statements. It offers weak or overly complex supporting material. It deploys dubious or misleading rationale in a number of areas and finally proposes a limited number of ‘take it or leave it’ options without any adequate attempt to explore or explain the need for the options proposed. Neither does it seek to explain any alternative strategies or mitigation techniques available or planned by GAL, National Air Traffic Services (NATS) or the CAA. WS find this entirely unreasonable and completely unacceptable.”
“Also that Warnham Parish Council and the Slinfold Parish Council “will be recommending to the DfT and the CAA that airports proposing any form of development, including airspace changes, are obliged to set aside a fund to provide for the conduct of the fully independent assessment, analysis and reporting of any proposed options, for use by affected stakeholders.”
Kent Council Council response
Response for KCC from David Brazier, Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, Kent County Council
They appreciate the stress and nuisance that Gatwick over-flying is causing to parts of Kent, and to the heritage attraction sites such as Hever Castle, Penshurst Place and Chartwell.
Alfold Parish Council response
Alfold is south west of Gatwick, 5 miles from Cranleigh. Response
We cannot accept any change in NPRs for departures until GAL presents the facts, well
researched, accompanied by meaningful statistics and details. We insist that more
research be done into the impacts of new routes on communities overflown. This must
be presented in a comprehensible way to the public.
And they add: “We understand the Chief Executive of GAL has been
asked to provide a simplified version but he has refused. As the CAA is monitoring this
consultation for compliance, a copy of this response will be sent to Dame Deirdre
Withyham Parish Council’s response
A narrowing of the broad swathe approach to one around 500m wide is an unjust and intolerable proposal, for whoever ends up under it. Retaining the current dispersal of flights over a wider area is preferred. Response here
Among many comments they say:
“The Council notes that no population assessments have been done prior to making this proposal. Withyham Parish Council is appalled that a potential life altering and health damaging decision is being proposed without any proper assessment of the effect on the people most affected. The Council question whether this is in fact a proper consultation due to the lack of definitive information on the narrowed flight paths.”
and “Withyham Parish Council believe that Gatwick have failed to place sufficient weight to the quality of life of any population living under a flight path or the effect that such a narrow aerial motorway would have on the health and well-being of the population of this Parish which will be severely affected.”
Sevenoaks Borough Council response
They appreciate that the noise is an intrusion into the lives of thousands of people in the area, and also disturbs the tranquillity of the AONB. They note their disappointment that their recent application to join Gatwick’s Consultative Committee, GATCON, was rejected. They comment on the lack of maps illustrating the flight paths proposed. They say aircraft noise over the AONBs should be reduced.
Horsham District Council response
The response is at LAMP follow-up consultation response August 2014 Horsham Council
Horsham District Council is opposed to all of the proposed options A, B and C as they will all result in detrimental implications for those newly overflown. We do not support any of the options and we trust our response will be interpreted in this way.
They also say:
“All the options proposed will have seriously deleterious implications for those communities both under and close to the new routes as they will be affected by a new intrusive noise which disrupts peaceful enjoyment of one’s property and more importantly adverse effects on health.”
and “The forecast effects for the years 2016 and 2020 on Leq and SEL and those for the calculated population count changes do not show the significance of the disturbance and misery which will be experienced by newly affected communities.”
Also a follow-up letter from Councillors Vickers and Rogers clarifying the Council’s position. LAMP Consultation, Horsham DC Follow-Up Letter, August 2014
Speldhurst Parish Council response
They say they endorse the comments made by the neighbouring parish of Penshurst.
They add: “The air travel industry appears to be in total denial of the collateral damage which would be caused by these proposals. The [High Weald] AONB with its low ambient noise levels relies heavily on national and internaitonal tourism for its sustainability, and further noise intrusion will inpact irretrievably on the local economies …. and hitherto tranquil surroundings.”
…… and there are many others …….
MPs who have spoken out against Gatwick’s flight path trial, and against a second runway at Gatwick:
Nick Herbert, MP for Arundel & South Downs, joins others in speaking out against noise nuisance from ADNID trial
Mole Valley MP Sir Paul Beresford joins the battle over Gatwick aircraft noise
Tunbridge Wells MP Greg Clark urges Gatwick CEO to “go back to the drawing board” on flight paths
Francis Maude says it is intolerable for some people to be very intensively overflown, “to the extreme detriment of their lives”
Crispin Blunt MP investigates recent increase in aircraft noise in Redhill area due to changes to Gatwick flight paths