Gatwick now says it will “carry out a fresh review of the whole situation” on Gatwick westerly arrivals
The group opposing Gatwick’s altered flight paths, “Gatwick Obviously NOT” wrote to Global Infrastructure Partners, (GIP), the main owner of Gatwick, on 9th May. Now a reply has been received from Sir Roy McNulty, who is the Chairman of Gatwick Airport Ltd. [Sir John Major, former Prime Minister, is Chairman of the Senior Advisor Panel at GIP] The letter says: “Sir John Major has shared with me your letter of 9th May. Sir John has asked me to look into this matter and reply to you direct. Having reviewed the issues… I have concluded that the best course is to carry out a fresh review of the whole situation as regards westerly arrivals into Gatwick … Yours sincerely.” Westerly arrivals are those coming in from the east to Gatwick – in other words the narrowed swathe the people in west Kent, and much of Sussex have all been suffering from. The airport and its owners are aware of the extent of the opposition and anger that their flight paths have caused, from the literally thousands of complaints and letters that have been sent. Many people are not only angry about the aircraft ” super-highways” in the sky over their heads, but deeply stressed by having their tranquillity removed, with no consultation or warning. Extracts from one (of many) furious and determined letter are copied here, illustrating the problem.
Discussions cleared for take-off?
“Dear Mr Hazell-Smith,
Sir John Major has shared with me your letter of 9th May. Sir John has asked me to look into this matter and reply to you direct.
Having reviewed the issues… I have concluded that the best course is to carry out a fresh review of the whole situation as regards westerly arrivals into Gatwick …
Sir Roy McNulty is the Chairman of Gatwick Airport Ltd.
Sir John Major, former Prime Minister, is Chairman of the Senior Advisor Panel at Global Infrastructure Partners, (GIP) which is the largest shareholder in Gatwick.
Stephen Hazell-Smith is one of my Strategic Team of 12 and the de-facto MD of Gatwick Obviously Not. (He also jointly founded AIM 20 years ago as it happens)
‘westerly arrivals‘ are those coming in from the east to Gatwick – in other words the narrowed swathe we have all been suffering from.
Gatwick Obviously NOT (GON) says:
This opportunity for tranquillity is entirely as a direct result of your tireless campaigning and your thousands of emails, calls and letters to Gatwick, the DfT, the CAA, NATS and the media, as well as the work of several dedicated Campaign Groups, including this one.
The Gatwick arrivals problem over west Kent
People affected by recently changed arrivals into Gatwick airport, coming from the east (when there are easterly winds) are incensed about the serious aircraft noise nuisance to which they are now exposed.
Many people who rarely even saw an aircraft before a few years ago, now find they are subjected to aircraft overhead, below 4,000 or 5,000 feet (ie. noisy) every two minutes or less. And this goes on all day, and with many flights throughout the night too.
Thousands of people not prepared to put up with this. And they are letting Gatwick airport, the CAA, NATS and the DfT know how they feel.
A huge number of letters have been sent. Below is shortened and edited version (to maintain anonymity etc) of one sent recently to Stewart Wingate, Charles Kirwan-Taylor and Tom Denton – all of Gatwick airport:
The letter: 10.7.2015
“I have had another day wiped out because of the illegal behaviour of your … [company].
As I write, yet another whining, no doubt EasyJet is building in the distance.
This is enough.
I see that Sir John Major has strong armed Roy McNulty into breaking cover and promising a ‘review’ – despite all of the community/green/fluffy tacks. Unsurprisingly the only one that gets any traction goes for the wallet. [Referring to the comment above: “Having reviewed the issues… I have concluded that the best course is to carry out a fresh review of the whole situation as regards westerly arrivals into Gatwick … “]
We don’t need a review, we need a few people to tell the truth – you wouldn’t live under the hell you have created here and we will not rest until you reinstate the broad swathe.
That does not take months or years, and it requires neither consultation nor planning,nor EU approval.
It is a minimum requirement – we did not move near to an airport, you shunted it over our heads and continue to lie about it. You can switch the use of the airspace as quickly as you do when the wind veers to the east. Do it.
…. I accuse each of you – Stewart, Tom, Charles – of lying to me, to my family, to the public, to parish, borough and county councillors, to the CAA to the DfT and to MPs.
If shunting the minimum joining point to the ILS to 10nm was genuinely done on the grounds of ‘safety’ I hope you will sue me for defamation. I can’t wait to see you in court.
[Gatwick has …..carried out trials on grounds of safety ]…. “on the grounds of stabilising approaches so that even though, for obvious reasons, Gatwick will never get a second runway, they’ve added value to GIP and hopefully they will express their gratitude in the traditional way when they flog the airport’.
Your lies are destroying my family life – if you do not respond it will confirm what the tens of thousands of people that have now come together already know – you do not give a hoot about being a good neighbour, you are happy to destroy the High Weald to ship money to your …. owners.
I say this is purely about throughput and profit – sue me if you can prove I’m wrong.
…….Mr McNulty will not be able to conduct a review and there can be no meaningful dialogue until someone at GAL finally admits what has changed – the unbelievable noise outside my window is a massive change from anything that we have ever experienced.
There is absolutely no justification for what is being done to us and the fact there has been no consultation, no permission and not even any acknowledgement that there has been a massive change in the use of the airspace is scandalous.
Someone [needs to] sort this out because there is absolute fury down here.”
High Weald resident.
A resident of Hever, who has been suffering increased aircraft noise from Gatwick for many years, writes:
[Commenting on a meeting on 20th May with Gatwick airport] Mr. Kirwan-Taylor is obviously not fully conversant with the TRUE FACTS of the matter.
[We] moved to Hever in 1999. At that time, there was VERY LITTLE aircraft noise over Hever as the majority of arrivals looped round OVER COWDEN and joined the ILS near Lingfield. A few incoming ‘planes came in on the “Dover Route” and passed over Hever but they were few and far between.
In those days, I could SEE the incoming aircraft, well to the South, but could not HEAR them.
The increase in flights over Hever started a few years later and prompted the formation of the Gatwick Anti-Noise Group.
Somehow, Cowden managed to get the noise shifted North, directly over Hever, and they obviously don’t want it back!!
Fear of reversion back to the old, long established, authorised route is why Cowden refuse to participate in the activities of the High Weald Councils Aviation Action Group.
NOW, ‘planes zoom in at low altitude on the concentrated flight path directly over my house every minute or so making any leisure time in the garden impossible to enjoy.
For Mr. Kirwan-Taylor to say that nothing has changed over Hever IS SIMPLY NOT TRUE.