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 Рfrom Gatwick arrivals Рthan 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 Рand 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 Рand the determination Рof the new opposition that has recently sprung up in areas to the east of Gatwick.  Another similar letter can be found here.



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 ‘


(name given)

A resident of Bidborough in Kent




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.

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