Speech by Sally Pavey at the Airports Commission evidence day on Gatwick

Sally Pavey set up a local group – CAGNE – in March 2014, to oppose the “ADNID” flight path trial that Gatwick airport had instigated. The new route for the ADNID flight path was concentrated, with some areas – which had never before suffered over flight by planes from Gatwick – getting some of the worst of it. CAGNE stands for Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions, and it has blossomed over the past months, as more and more people objected to being guineapigs, without warning or consultation from Gatwick – to a level of noise that made life hell for thousands.  CAGNE now represents people over a wide area. Sally spoke passionately, and effectively and among the many points she raised is the lack of trust by local communities in the airport, from repeated instances of being given wrong or partial information, or being ignored. For many, trust in the airport will never be regained. Gatwick submitted their runway plans to the Commission without even waiting for the end of its consultation with the public.  Sally: “We will stand in the way of this off shore owned company. We will show them they have made a bad investment in Gatwick. We will use with every means at our disposal to stop a 2nd runway … we will not stop opposing a 2nd runway at Gatwick Airport.”


Speech by Sally Pavey (Chair of CAGNE):

A year ago I would never of thought I would be here today, talking about Gatwick Airport.

Thank you for asking me to speak on behalf of CAGNE, Communities Against Gatwick Noise Emissions.

Let me start by saying that we are not opposed to aviation.
And we are not opposed to Gatwick.

But we are opposed to what Gatwick is proposing; an expansion of the airport that will devastate our communities and this whole region of England.
Gatwick’s proposals will impact our lives in three main areas:

• Firstly, local towns, services and amenities will be pushed far beyond their limits in ways that can only spell disaster for the precious countryside we have an obligation to protect

• Secondly, local infrastructure and roads will be swamped as airport workers and holidaymakers attempt to navigate a single motorway and single railway line that reaches Gatwick from London.
It spells disaster for local roads on a daily basis let alone if there was an accident or closure

• Thirdly, our quiet rural areas will be hit by unprecedented levels of new and increased noise.
Many of our communities will be exposed to the impact of aircraft noise for the very first time.

The recent flightpath trial is the very reason so many people, hardworking Mums and Dads, have come together to form CAGNE

Estimates say up to 90,000 more workers would be needed for an expanded Gatwick – an airport bigger than Heathrow planted right in the middle of this community.

Only 26,000 people currently claim jobseekers’ allowance in this region.
* Where will the remaining 64,000 people come from?
* Where will they live as 1 in 5 that work at Heathrow live next to Heathrow?
* How will they travel to the airport?
By train? Or will they drive?

Without this unnecessary expansion, we already have a shortfall of almost 5,000 homes every year in Gatwick’s six local councils.

If we accept, on face value, Gatwick’s ‘guesstimate’ that only another 9,300 homes would be needed, where will they come from if we can’t keep up with existing demand?

And where will they be built? What parts of our countryside in West Sussex will we be forced to lose to make way for bricks and concrete? Not forgetting the ancient woodlands the runway will remove

What schools for children, what health services, what hospitals and GPs will be provided and who will pay for them?

In all of the documentation published by the Commission, many of these issues have been forgotten.

The enormous knock-on affect and strain on an area un-equipped to absorb an expansion of this size and magnitude.

An airport bigger than Heathrow will be airlifted into the English countryside, a countryside we know and love – the reason why many of us moved to the area.

Rural areas are priced on tranquillity and the surrounding beauty of its countryside. It does not benefit from inflated London prices that are not affected by aircraft noise. This is not London, nor do we want it to be.

By 2030, we can expect 60 million passengers to be using local transport to get to and from a 2 runway Gatwick.
For those of us locals, we know that ‘public transport’ can only mean one of two routes – one road and one rail.

Even with improvements currently in the pipeline, the M23 will reach capacity by 2030 and exceed it by 2040 – this is without any expansion at Gatwick.

Similarly on the rail network, planned changes will only create enough additional capacity to meet around half of new passenger demand. Commuters already paying a premium will have to endure slow, crowded services in to London- something that the Commission’s own report clearly illustrates.

Our commuter already endure the Brighton to London mainline which is already pushed to the brink. It is the second most crowded in the country adding around 90,000 extra travellers to the area is not going to help.
What a welcome for tourists and what a great way to get to and from work for the rest of us!

With all due respect, I would like to ask the Airport’s Commission how you have arrived at the conclusion that one road and one rail line can accommodate 60 million passengers – and that’s without the local people who live here and rely on the roads to go about their daily lives.

Moreover, what will happen when there is an accident on the M23 and M25 and passengers are forced onto local roads to catch their flights?

Or similarly, when there is inevitable disruption on the trains?

It would seem Plan B is to heap more misery on local people, we already have volunteers answering 999 calls.

Gatwick’s proposals also ignore the fact that aircraft noise in rural areas is far more intrusive than in an urban environment. In fact, can Mr Wingate even tell us how many people will be affected by noise under his new proposals? Every time he is asked, he seems to give a different figure but of course it only ever be within the magical 57leq.

Gatwick have created a moving feast for all their neighbours by continually changing the story.

That is why so many opponents are here today.

The views of those affected have been ignored. Those trying to call Gatwick’s noise complaint line today receive a message that Gatwick “will not repeatedly reply or continually discuss the same subject”.

They omitted to publish the 6,300 that said “NO” to a new runway from their earlier consultation. As Gatwick’s neighbour we have a right to be heard about what happens to our community.

Lots of people are making the same points and it should not be systematically ignored.

It is with this that I thank the Commission for holding this very important meeting with Gatwick’s management present to hear the community voice.

Gatwick’s new runway consultation was instigated in May – by which time Gatwick’s proposals had already been submitted to the Airport Commission.

It demonstrates a disregard for the views of local people. Indeed, the proposals they consulted on were not even accurate – for instance they stated passenger numbers would be 87 million when the true figure is more than 10 per cent higher at 97 million.

I recently asked Mr Wingate why Gatwick would not attend local meetings, and he commented that they would not. Now as the Commission arrives in town, Mr Wingate offers to meet protest groups about aircraft noise.

For Gatwick this may be about business, but for our communities, it is about the quality of peoples’ lives

Forge Wood, a new residential, primary school with recreational areas will be 1 mile from the end of the new runway but it is not shown on any maps.

Gatwick would have many believe that it has great local support, but if it took the time to engage with the communities, it would soon appreciate the full weight of concern and opposition – the thousands of people and different organisations that we represent today being a clear demonstration of that.

With the full endorsement of many West Sussex parish councils, representing thousands of people, I can firmly say we strongly oppose a 2ndrunway at Gatwick.

Not because of the secrecy, or the lack of consultation. Not because it takes a Commission to force Mr Wingate to speak to the community, but because this is an ill-considered proposal that does not work on so many levels.

It has no consideration of the blight on our community, the strain on our local services, the explosion of new noise on villages and the transport and housing required.

Expansion at Gatwick will leave a permanent mark on yet another part of the British countryside, something that all of us in the room will fight to protect for future generations.

Gatwick is not the easy option.

Gatwick is Big Enough.

We will fight this all the way to stop Gatwick expansion.

We will stand in the way of this off shore owned company. We will show them they have made a bad investment in Gatwick.
We will use with every means at our disposal to stop a second runway being built at Gatwick.

Let me be clear – if you approve this scheme, we will not stop opposing a 2nd runway at Gatwick Airport.

Thank you.



See also

Great speech by Crispin Blunt MP at the Airports Commission Gatwick evidence day

The Airports Commission held their second evidence day, this time on Gatwick (the Heathrow day was on 3rd December). The format of the day was to give Stewart Wingate time to set out his runway plans and promote them. There were then speeches by Henry Smith MP and Crisipin Blunt MP, as well as others from Brendon Sewill (GACC), Sally Pavey (CAGNE), and Major Richard Streatfeild (HWPCAAG) for community groups. A range of councillors then spoke, as well as three people from the business organisations. Crispin Blunt spoke very strongly against the runway proposals, and the text of his speech is copied below. Interestingly, to pick out just two comments, he said – on the financing of the project – the claimed need for commercial confidence is in error because redactions in Gatwick published documents on tax, financing, profit and loss, cash flow etc and the assumptions that underlie these figures are critical to enable MPs, the public etc to evaluate the airport’s proposal. Also that Gatwick is served only by a single rail and motorway connection. The airport, its passengers and its airlines is already dangerously vulnerable to disruption. It’s worth reading the speech.

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