Uncertainties about if, and how comprehensively, Gatwick is logging aircraft noise complaints
Gatwick airport (and Heathrow too) were inundated with noise complaint since trialling new concentrated flight paths last year. However, there remains uncertainty about how the Gatwick process for counting and recording complaints. People who have felt the need to complain about numerous noisy flights have been informed that they can log no more than one complaint per day. People have been told they cannot use a “template” for their complaints, even though the airport’s own reporting form is a template. The airport has now been asked to explain just what constitutes a “template” is, in their opinion. And how does this differ from being a bone fide ‘enquiry’ via email or letter? People are asking what has happened to the numerous complaints they have made over the past year or so, since the flight paths were altered. How many of these have been recorded, and how many have been dismissed? The lack of clarity means yet further reduction in trust in the airport by affected communities. There is concern that Gatwick gets to self regulate on the matter of collation of complaint data, which is seen as flawed. Gatwick downplays the extent of the problem saying “Complaint statistics can be extremely difficult to interpret as a large proportion of all our complaints originate from a very small group of individuals.”
How to complain about aircraft noise, to Gatwick airport
Gatwick calls complaints about noise “enquiries” rather than complaints.
The only way in which someone can complain about a noisy plane is by either doing it online at http://www.gatwickairport.com/business-community/aircraft-noise/noise-enquiries/
or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
or by ringing their automated (American accent) line, 0800 393 070 where you can record your complaint. You are told you will receive a response within 8 working days, in writing.
Or you can submit your complaint in writing to
Gatwick Airport Ltd
Flight Performance Team
That information is on the Gatwick website at http://www.gatwickairport.com/business-community/aircraft-noise/noise-enquiries/contact-us/
It is not possible to speak to a person at Gatwick airport about a noise issue
There is no way to speak to a person in the Flight Performance Team (FPT) and no amount of trying to phone the airport through other numbers given on their website enables you to talk to anyone about noise.
Gatwick Airport’s Noise Policy
“Numbers and summary details of complaints will be reported quarterly at the Gatwick Airport Consultative Committee (GATCOM) and the Noise and Track Monitoring Advisory Group (NaTMAG), along with Noise Infringements, Continuous Descent Approach performance and Track Keeping performance.
Gatwick’s “Noise Report” for 2013 is at
Gatwick says there were 2,979 noise complaints in 2013 (Page 19)
Gatwick’s Flight Performance Team reports:
Gatwick Airport flight performance team report 2013
Gatwick Airport flight performance team report 2012
Gatwick Airport flight performance team report 2011
Continuous descent approach performance report 2011
Gatwick Airport flight evaluation report 2010
Gatwick Airport flight evaluation report 2009
Gatwick Airport flight evaluation report 2008
Gatwick Airport flight evaluation report 2007
Gatwick Airport flight evaluation report 2006
The March 2014 “Noise Report” says:
5. Processes – how the NMF reviews, documents and revises its processes and procedures in order to meet its goals and objectives
There is a set of standard documented policies, processes and procedures available for the NMF (Noise Management Function ) team and support staff to use in order to deliver a consistent and timely service.
• Noise and track keeping processes are in place for detection, remediation and reporting, including night noise, CDA, track keeping, noise infringements, joining point and ground noise.
• Enquiries and complaints are logged, investigated and responded to, as well as publicly reported.
• Noise, track keeping, complaints and enquiries are reported publicly, and trend analysis is undertaken and used for trials, stakeholder information, and consultation and community reports.
Gatwick’s pages on Performance Reporting are at
“Complaint statistics can be extremely difficult to interpret as a large proportion of all our complaints originate from a very small group of individuals.” (Page 12) …… “Indeed, less than 20 people account for over 80% of all our complaints. This illustrates one of the difficulties in studying the effects of noise, as people’s tolerance of noise and their perception of what causes annoyance varies widely. It is highly subjective and differs not only between different socio economic groups but also between neighbours experiencing the same levels of noise.”
Below are comments by people who are being badly affected by Gatwick flights, and unclear about how noise complaints are recorded:
(Comments below – addressed to Gatwick Airport and their Flight Performance Team (FPT) -have been edited to remove identifying information, and are from more than one person).
Could you please respond to me to let me know how my complaints are being logged.
I ask as it’s pointless me spending 1-2 hours per day logging individual complaints if you just group and log it as one.
I live 18.5 miles from Gatwick and yesterday was utterly horrible, with planes following each other at very short intervals. I was awoken again at 00:44 this morning by the last of the days Easyjet arrivals.
Life has changed completely for myself and my young family living in the beautiful village of XXXX
Like others, yesterday was the first day I simply gave up making complaints due to the sheer number of overflights and through despair.
So let me make this clear so that everyone understands the sheer ridicule of the situation:
1. Gatwick’s Flight Performance Team no longer responds to my complaints (I have written confirmation of this) but says it ‘logs’ them.
2. Gatwick’s flight performance team allows no more than 1 complaint each day (which they no longer answer). Any more complaints than one are counted as …. er … 1. This procedure is communicated to the public, and frankly beggars belief.
3. No one is allowed to ‘template’ a complaint.
He asks Gatwick airport:
1. What is your ‘Flight Enquiry’ webpage – unless it is an easy ‘template’ to fill in?
If you agree it is a ‘template,” then are you now going to dismiss every enquiry from now on?
2. Can Gatwick Airport and its flight performance team please define what constitutes a ‘template’ ? And how does this differ from being a bone fide ‘enquiry’ via email or letter?
3. What has happened to the numerous complaints I, and many others, have made these past 18 months since our skies changed, and the flight paths were altered? How many of these have been recorded?
4. In the Oxford English Dictionary ‘enquiry’ is defined as ‘An act of asking for information.’ No more, no less. The ‘information’ I want to know is why the airport is not providing credible answers to my valid enquiries?
Gatwick is not a good neighbour and it does not have the support of myself or many of my community. The airport has no chance of having our support until it engages with those affected by its aircraft, and behaves responsibly.
Another person now living under a Gatwick flight path writes:
Sunday morning in a previously tranquil village about 16 miles away from Gatwick at 4.38am and flight XXXX shakes me out of bed.
And then the succession of aircraft throughout the day start……it goes on and on and on.
The whole day the barrage continues. It seems every arrival has been concentrated directly overhead.
Am I imagining it?
No, using the flight tracker Casper you can clearly see what I am experiencing with the arrivals concentrated into a new 2 kilometre (not very) wide corridor – with my house sitting directly in the middle.
In addition to this, and to enhance the experience, we’re also now getting departures.
I could spend the next hour or two logging each and every one of these violations, but today the volume is too high and quite frankly, with a young family in tow, I have better things to do.
That coupled with the fact that Gatwick get to self regulate the inflow with what constitutes a single complaint versus multiple, makes the process unconstitutional and flawed.
For example first Gatwick’s requirement for multiple complaints was an individual email for each and every disturbance. Then they decided that multiple individual disturbances with the same ‘template’ will be counted as one.
What constitutes a ‘template’? Who knows, and with Gatwick being in unregulated control it probably varies as to what ever is most convenient for them.
With these forever changing goalposts how on earth can we keep up? And why should we?
Something is seriously amiss here with every plane overhead making privately/foreign owned Gatwick more profitable at the expense of my life , the life of my family and the lives and businesses of those around me.
Someone needs to investigate how Gatwick managed to become judge, jury and executioner with our airspace – this wouldn’t be allowed in any other industry.