Hundreds of villagers from Brockham, Betchworth, Beare Green etc protest over Gatwick flightpath changes
Hundreds of people packed into Beare Green Village Hall to protest against the recent flightpath changes out of Gatwick. The meeting was organised by, and chaired by the recently formed action group “Plane Wrong” which has been set up by people in Beare Green, Betchworth, Brockham, Capel, Coldharbour, the Holmwoods and Dorking, who have all been affected by increased aircraft noise nuisance. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) approved the flightpath changes in August last year following a much-criticised consultation by Gatwick,which was far too complex and badly written for non-experts to understand. Plane Wrong will be educating communities about what they can do to stand up to the flight path threats, and getting more and more people involved in the fight. Plane Wrong has an online petition to the CAA. People are now increasingly aware of the threat of a 2nd runway. Mole Valley MP Sir Paul Beresford told the meeting: “If you think this is a problem now, wait and see if we get a second runway. We have an enormous battle on our hands .”
Hundreds of villagers protest over Gatwick flightpath changes
By Mark Edwards
People against the recent changes want Gatwick’s flightpaths to go back to where they were but the Civil Aviation Authority said they needed to change
Hundreds of people packed into Beare Green Village Hall to protest against the recent flightpath changes out of Gatwick.
The meeting was chaired by the recently formed action group Plane Wrong, which has been set up by people in Beare Green, Betchworth, Brockham, Capel, Coldharbour, the Holmwoods and Dorking, who have all been affected by increased aircraft noise.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) approved the flightpath changes in August last year following a much-criticised consultation by Gatwick.
Speaking at the meeting, Mike Ward, chairman of Plane Wrong, said: “The purpose of this meeting is two-fold. The first is to raise awareness and understanding of the complex issues we are facing.
“Gatwick’s last consultation was 60 pages long and was extremely technical, so people who wanted to respond to the consultation didn’t because of how poorly it was written.
“So we want to educate communities about what they can do to stand up to this.
“Secondly, we want to build on that and gain support so that we can take action. We want people to tell their friends and neighbours to get involved in the fight against the flightpath changes.
“I feel we have a good momentum going but more needs to be done.”
Plane Wrong has started an online petition to be submitted to the CAA which has already attracted more than 1,300 signatures.
‘Flightpaths need to change’
Mr Ward said: “We want to get the flightpaths put back to where they were before, which didn’t affect the communities anywhere near as much as they do now.”
Residents attending the meeting expressed frustration about the constant noise from aircraft, low flying planes, night flights, pollution, the prospect of a second runway at Gatwick, and no longer being able to enjoy the Mole Valley countryside.
Phil Roberts, head of airspace, air traffic management and aerodromes at the CAA, said: “The flightpaths around Gatwick are the busiest in the world.
“It is a very challenging situation for us, and we need to find an arrangement to manage the airspace safely while also taking advantage of new technical advances in air-craft.
“Before these recent changes, we had been using flightpaths that were decided in the 1970s.
“Aircraft have changed significantly in that time and that is why flightpaths need to change.”
Mole Valley MP Sir Paul Beresford told the meeting: “I have managed to get in and speak to the CAA and director Mark Swan. He is listening because they have never had such a flood of responses before. I do not live here, so I do not hear the aircraft noise like you do, but I have heard the noise from you.
“I would like to thank you for all you have done so far.
“However, If you think this is a problem now, wait and see if we get a second runway. We have an enormous battle on our hands and I certainly did not like the way that Gatwick presented its last consultation.”
New action group, Plane Wrong, fights Gatwick flight path changes north of the airport
A new local action group, “Plane Wrong”, opposing changes of Gatwick flight paths, and the sudden increase in plane noise for some areas, has been formed. Changes to a flight path, heading west and north of Gatwick are affecting – and causing annoyance and distress to – thousands of people across parts of Surrey. The flight path is now making a wider turn. Plane Wrong has been established by people in Beare Green, Betchworth, Blackbrook, Brockham, Capel, Coldharbour, the Holmwoods, Leigh, Leith Hill, Redhill and Reigate. The group argues that there have been insufficient trials and consultations about the changes. The increased noise is damaging the environment, especially the AONB surrounding Leith Hill. Plane Wrong has organised two public meetings, on 22nd and 23rd October, to which the CAA was invited to explain its flight path changes. Plane Wrong has a petition to the CAA, asking it to stop the new route. Plane Wrong say that “If this flight path is not reversed, it sets a precedent for airspace changes to be made without proper consideration for the impact it has on the local surrounding areas and population.”