Gatwick flight paths comment deadline to CAA by 5th Jan 2015 on PIR (Post Implementation Review)

Gatwick airport carried out a consultation on changes to its airspace at the end of 2013, finishing in January 2014. They then carried out another consultation in May 2014. Gatwick is required to allow time for people to comment and give their feedback on the impacts of proposed airspace changes. This is called a PIR (Post Implementation Review). The deadline is 5th January 2015. After that date, the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) will review the comments – and the degree to which changes to flight paths have affected the public being overflown. The airspace changes are due to PRNAV (precision navigation) and PBN (performance based navigation) – meaning aircraft fly much more accurate routes than was possible before, and routes are also concentrated to be more narrow than before. People who have been adversely affected by flight path changes from aircraft using Gatwick are recommended to send in their comments again. (The CAA has not confirmed that they would consider earlier emails or letters). There is no specific consultation document or form to fill in. The address to email is  People need to not only write to the CAA, but copy this to their MP and to the DfT.

Gatwick airport Airspace Change Consultation

Changes to how airspace is used at Gatwick are being considered by the Civil Aviation Authority.

Any information which members of the public have on the impact of the specifics of the Gatwick RNAV3 airspace change implemented in 2013 will be considered together with all the data collected for the purpose of carrying out the review. A PIR (Post Implementation Review) process begins 12 months after an airspace change has been implemented and in this case Gatwick is just commencing the phase of the process under which it must gather together all the relevant data to enable the CAA to review whether the airspace change has had the expected impact and benefits.

The CAA has confirmed therefore that if any information that GATCOM/the public have relevant to the impact of this airspace change is submitted to the CAA on or before Monday 5 January 2015 it will form part of the data that is considered as a whole under the PIR.

The CAA has set up a specific e-mail address as follows:

Emails sent to that address will receive an automated response confirming that the included information will be considered.  That e-mail address will not be able to receive e-mails after 5 January 2015.

CAGNE (Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions) suggest people write something similar to –

‘I strongly urge you to action the permanent withdrawal of the P-RNAV routes and for air traffic to be reverted back to the previous system of NPRs. This is as a direct result of the significant detrimental impact that the P-RNAV has had on our quality of life and upon our community by concentrating the noise rather dispersing.’


Changes to how airspace is used at Gatwick are being considered by the Civil Aviation Authority.

Gatwick Airspace Consultation

The Gatwick Airspace consultation is part of a wider programme by the Government to deliver the UK’s future airspace strategy. The strategy aims to make use of modern aircraft technology, navigation systems and integration of airspace control across Europe to deliver improved efficiency and resilience for the aviation sector.

Performance Based Navigation

Performance based navigation (PBN, also referred to as P-RNAV and RNAV1) was introduced at Gatwick airport in November 2013 and became mandatory for all flights in May 2014.

The greater accuracy of performance based navigation has had the effect of concentrating flights along much narrower routes than has been the case in the past.

Additional airspace changes were consulted on earlier in 2014, but have now been deferred by Gatwick Airport Ltd (GAL) and the National Air Traffic Services (NATS) pending detailed work on final route options and the possibility to introduce more respite for residents most affected by noise.


Take action now:

Write / email Mark Swan at the CAA and copy to the Department for Transport and your MP.

Complain to Gatwick Airport about specific flights that cause an unacceptable level of disturbance.

• Make sure to include your post code and/or address.

 • Ask that your comments be included as part of the CAA’s Post Implementation Review.

 • Clarify that you are referring to Gatwick air traffic.

 • Give reasons why you think these changes are a bad idea.

The group Plane Wrong say:

Due to the strength of protest and opposition, Gatwick have now cancelled some of the proposed new flight paths, but not all of them, and crucially NOT the one over Brockham – pressure must be maintained on Gatwick airport and the CAA so please email and write to make your voice heard using the links below. ALthough the current noise levels are lower than they were in the summer, that is because Gatwick are now operating the winter timetable and the number of flights is therefore considerably lower. If we don’t complain, noise levels and get these routes changes, noise levels will revert in the Spring to the same level as they have been during this year.

Gatwick is currently analysing phase 2 consultation responses so additional local support at this stage is crucial.

Our local MP, Sir Paul Beresford has asked for community support as follows:

“It would be very helpful if you would personally write to the CAA. Please succinctly explain the effect of the noise pollution and ask that the flight path be returned to previous. The name and address of the CAA contact is

Mr Mark Swan, Director of Airspace Policy, External Information Services,

Civil Aviation Authority,

Gatwick Airport South,

West Sussex


or email


Please also copy your letter to the

Mrs Anne Weston (UK Airspace Policy, DfT)

Department for Transport,

Zone 1/26,

Great Minster House,

33 Horseferry Road,

London SW1P 4DR

or email:

Plane Wrong says:

Both the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and Gatwick Airport Limited (GAL) maintain that these [the flight path changes during 2014] changes are insignificant, as highlighted in the 2012 consultation documentation, the CAA determination letter, and subsequent correspondence by Mark Swan and Stewart Wingate.
However, this is in direct contrast to the very significant impact of the changes to people and areas of outstanding natural beauty. Fundamentally, there appears to be a disconnect between the theoretical impact, plotted in maps, bar charts and tables, that has informed the CAA decision process, and the reality of what is being experienced on a human scale.
1. More people are exposed to aircraft noise by this change
2. Legacy arrangements have been disregarded with high levels of newly affected people
3. Over-flight over the Surrey Hills AONB at low altitude should be avoided, not discouraged. There has, however, been a considerable increase in over-flight of the Surrey Hills AONB at low altitude
4. No account has been taken of the topography of the land
5. The importance of preserving tranquil areas has been ignored
6. The noise impact is unacceptably high in a rural area
7. No assessment of the ecological impact of concentrated routes on the AONB, Leith Hill SSSI and other rural areas has been undertaken
8. New concentrated routes have been introduced with little consultation and little research
9. There are fundamental flaws in the Airspace Change Proposal Environmental Assessment –
January 2013
10. GAL failed to explain correctly the impacts of the R26LAM change to the CAA
11. The reasons given for allowing the Route 4 change in the decision letter of the Director of Airspace Policy, reveal the extent to which GAL have sought to play down the impact of the change
12. The objective of achieving Continuous Climb by the introduction of RNAV technology is not being met on Routes 3 and 4
13. A redistribution of flight departures across all the westerly departure routes should be considered
14. It is clear that the series of consultations undertaken since 2012 have been inadequate and may have failed to satisfy the requirements of both UK and EU law.
15. Plane Wrong has disproved GAL’s assertion that it was not possible to come up with a design that enabled the SID to be safely contained within the existing NPR swathe
16. There is evidence that the impact of the R26LAM change is significantly greater than that anticipated by GAL and CAA


We, therefore, make the following requests:

 The impact of the changes to the flight paths are of ‘such detrimental effect’ to local
communities that they should be withdrawn immediately and traffic reverted back to the
conventional procedure. This follows the promise made by GAL in the consultation document in July 2012, PRNAV Departure SID Implementation at LGW.

 The Post Implementation Review (PIR) should not confirm routes 3 & 4 and should require GAL to make a new application for any revised changes they want.

 Flights should move back further south on both routes to avoid more densely populated areas to the north, namely parts of Dorking, Reigate and Redhill.

 All flights, therefore, should move back within the existing NPR corridor on R26DVR/BIG/CLN/LAM (Route 4).

 That the CAA considers evidence from airspace designers, To70, suggesting that RNAV technology is capable of matching conventional routes in both directions. contrary to claims by Gatwick Airport Limited (GAL).

 That a new NPR corridor on Route 4 is not created.

 Flight paths below 4,000 ft amsl [above mean sea level] should be dispersed within the existing NPR corridors. RNAV is capable of achieving this.

 Departure routes in both westerly (Route 4) and easterly (Route 3) directions should not overlap to such a degree that there is no respite for those affected on the ground.
 GAL should explore further design options using RNAV to mirror the conventional departure routes more closely.

 The general public as well as stakeholders should be consulted regarding any further changes to these routes and there should be a comprehensive assessment of the associated environmental and social impacts.

 There should be a more even distribution of aircraft using all westerly departure routes. The high percentage share of departures on Route 4, the concentration of flight paths and the increased number of aircraft per hour is seriously affecting people’s quality of life.

 The cut-off date of 5th January 2015 for public contributions to the PIR should not apply if only because of delays by the CAA and GAL in providing critical data, and the need for that data to be considered in detail.

For more information on the Plane Wrong comments on the PIR (December 2014)




Gatwick Obviously NOT says:

(more detail here

The CAA need to hear from you by 5th January …

The CAA’s ‘Post Implementation Review’ of Departures from Gatwick Airport

You’ve probably not heard about this.

(This is not about the Airports Commission and their report about where to put the next runway. The deadline for responding to that Consultation is 3rd February and we will come back to you before then about it).

This ‘Post Implementation Review’ is a last-chance to comment on a ‘Consultation’ that took place in 2013 about new departure routes from Gatwick that have already been approved by the CAA (subject to the review).

If you live anywhere near the arrivals flight paths from the East (i.e. between East Grinstead and Tunbridge Wells), or north of Gatwick, this is for you.

We have spent considerable time wading through the aviation-industry jargon (they love an acronym) and defining exactly what is proposed.

It’s really not nice.

There are two main issues:

  1. Those living to the East of Gatwick may get hit by a double-whammy; when given some respite from the arrivals (due to wind direction – about 30% of the time) Gatwick then intend to send the departures down a considerable part of exactly the same route, on a narrow superhighway to the East. This will mean zero respite for thousands below, whichever way the wind chooses to blow.
  2. Those living to the North will experience flights taking off on Easterly days then turning West (for Westerly destinations) and for those days the take-offs are Westerly then turning East for Easterly destinations.
    So, again, zero respite for those overflown.
    This is compounded by the fact (admitted by the CAA) that all the planes will not keep within the Noise Preferential Routes (which they should) hence overflying areas not previously overflown – which is very much not Government policy.

You can read the Gatwick Obviously NOT  response in full here

Please email Mark Swan at the CAA – – cc’ing Mrs Anne Weston of the DfT – – outlining your objections.

Feel free to copy any of our letter for your own emails.

Or, just click on the link at  for a one-stop response:

Or you can cut and paste the text below into your email:

Dear Mr Swan (Director, Airspace Policy,CAA)
(cc Mrs Anne Weston (UK Airspace Policy, DfT)

Regarding proposals to change the departure routes from Gatwick, I formally object to the:

– cancelling of the LAM Noise Preferential Route
– changes to the BGN/CLN/DVR Noise Preferential Route
– Route 4 changes to the north of airport
– effectiveness of the Consultation process
– statement that ‘There is no change to existing controlled airspace’
– freedom given to Gatwick to be both Judge and Jury

I also add my full support to the detailed response sent to you on the 30th December 2014 by Martin Barraud, leader of

You can view a copy of that response here:

Yours sincerely





For people affected by the flight path changes to the north of Gatwick:


A sample letter, from Brockham Council:

Sample letter for complaining to CAA

Dear Sir/Madam

Objection to the P-RNAV based Gatwick departure route 26LAM/CLN/DVR known as ‘Route4’

I wish to register my objection to the new departure route currently being trialled by Gatwick Airport Ltd. I would like to request that the flight path be returned to its previous NPR location south of Leigh, Surrey where it has been successfully established for almost 50 years.

As you will be aware, the historical departure route from Gatwick Airport was changed to follow new PBN routes in November 2013. The noise levels in the local environment have increased significantly since July 2014 which is having a devastating effect on rural communities such as Brockham, which was a quiet, rural country parish not previously blighted by excessive air noise. However, planes now fly low overhead every few minutes commencing before 6am and continuing late into the night,  occasionally even overnight. The significant increase in noise pollution is seriously disturbing residents’ sleep, health and quality of life.

The number of people affected by aircraft noise has also increased and more importantly the trial flight path now newly affects at least 7,200 people who never chose to live under a flight path, as opposed to those people previously affected who voluntarily decided to live and work under the 50-year-old, historical NPR. According to Mr Wingate, the CEO of Gatwick Airport, no public meetings on the initial consultation in October 2013 – 14 January 2014 leading to the re-routing of planes were conducted in our area, yet we currently have one of the busiest flight paths in Europe overhead. In our neighbouring area of Leigh, only two responses were received, despite huge public opposition to the proposed changes, bringing the fairness and accuracy of the entire consultation process into question. In fact, most residents only learned about the changes when the planes started to cause excessive air noise disturbance overhead.

In summary, the new trial departure route has had a significant detrimental effect on the local environment and community with regards to sleep, health and life quality. It will also have a significant financial impact on the local area with regards to desirability of the area and house prices should the changes be made permanent.

For these considerations, I strongly object to the new departure route and request that the flight path be returned to its previous location as a matter of urgency.

Yours faithfully,