After weeks of negotiations, campaigners have reached an agreement with Gatwick over the terms of its review into controversial flight paths.
As reported in the Times last month, action group Gatwick Obviously Not had threatened to ‘step up its campaign further’ if ‘substantial concerns’ about the terms initially proposed by the airport were not addressed.
These included doubts about the transparency and impartiality of the process, its failure to consider both easterly and westerly arrivals and, crucially, the absence of ‘a fair and equitable dispersal’ policy.
But recent meetings have left campaigners optimistic that Gatwick may finally be ready to deliver the changes they have spent over a year fighting for.
GON chairman Martin Barraud said: “We sat down with review leader Bo Redeborn on September 23 to look him in the eye and see if we could do business with them.
“We went through the agenda we put forward and agreed the terms of reference we had set down.
“It was a very open process. We asked if we could record it, and he said yes without hesitation. They are looking for transparency on all levels and put-ting all documentation online.
“Mr Redeborn came across as independent and confident, and played a straight bat. He had an advisor with him who we know and trust, and we now feel we are on our way.”
The agreed terms of reference for the review, which is an independent process funded by Gatwick, include an assurance that ‘the review team will give particular attention to assessing the feasibility and implications of adopting a policy of fair and equitable dispersal which a number of campaign groups have expressed as a priority.”
Subsequent meetings with the CEOs of Gatwick, the Civil Aviation Authority and National Air Traffic Ser-vices have proved further cause for optimism.
Mr Barraud said: “They were very proactive about covering the cost of airspace redesign, which is a significant moment as they’re saying it needs a redesign.
“We said we wanted technical advisors, and Gatwick has agreed to fund them up to £30,000.
“It’s a complete sea change in attitude. We couldn’t get a reply from them a month ago, now we’re sitting at the same table. It may all come to nothing, but we have to take it at face value for now.”
Despite the progress in the campaign, Mr Barraud is not resting on his laurels. Yesterday he began a ten-day,
1,000-mile cycle from San Sebastian to Penshurst, to raise funds for GON.
A crowdfunding initiative launched on August 16 has secured over £25,000, with an additional £40,000 pledged by previous donors if that total reaches £50,000.
Selection from the review’s amended terms of reference
- The scope of this review, in its initial phase, is westerly arrivals into Gatwick. easterly arrivals will be covered in a second phase
- The target date for completing this initial phase of the review is November 2015, but it is accepted that this end date may need to be moved back depending on the extent of consultation the review team decides is necessary.
- In considering the concerns raised by local communities, the review team will give particular attention to assessing the feasibility and implications of adopting a policy of ‘fair and equitable dispersal’ of flights, which a number of campaign groups have expressed as a priority.
- Particular attention should be given to ensuring the involvement of organisations representing the local communities most affected, and communities which may be newly affected by any proposed changes, and to developing effective means of ascertaining the views of these communities more generally.
Gatwick Flight Paths: Community Meeting in Crowborough on 23rd October
14th October 2015
Nus Ghani, Member of Parliament for Wealden, will be hosting a community drop-in meeting in Crowborough on Friday 23 October with lead members of the independent review of air traffic at and around Gatwick Airport.
Ms Ghani recently met with Mr Bo Redeborn, who is leading the review, and Mr Graham Lake, Technical Adviser, to discuss the terms of the review and the concerns of Ms Ghani’s constituents with respect to noise and disruption from aircraft.
Mr Redeborn and Mr Lake have agreed to join her at All Saints Church, Crowborough, between 17:00 and 18:00 on Friday 23 October, where constituents who would like to submit evidence to the review are able to meet with them and discuss their concerns.
Ms Ghani has previously welcomed Gatwick Airport’s decision to commission the review, saying last month that she was “pleased that it has acknowledged the strength of feeling of many of my constituents” and that she hoped “to be closely involved” in it.
She added to those remarks today, saying: “I was delighted, when I met with Bo and Graham, by their desire to engage, their independence from Gatwick Airport, and their determination to reach a mutually beneficial solution. Their expertise is well known, but it is pleasing that that expertise is being accompanied by a strong willingness to listen to Wealden’s residents.”
Mr Redeborn said: “We are currently in the vital listening phase of our review and have yet to say no to anyone who wants to talk to us. I hope that many people will be able to join us in Crowborough to have their say, because understanding their perspective is an important part of the review process.”
Gatwick announces independent review of Westerly Arrivals
24/08/2015 (Gatwick press release)
In response to noise concerns expressed by some local residents, Gatwick’s Chairman, Sir Roy McNulty, has commissioned an independent review of air traffic, which will focus on Westerly Arrivals.
The Review will be led by Bo Redeborn who brings extensive experience and understanding of air traffic control having previously served as Principal Director of Air Traffic Management for EUROCONTROL. He will be assisted by a small independent review team which has been tasked with ensuring the involvement of local communities most affected.
The purpose of the review is to consider, in relation to Westerly Arrivals, whether:
- Everything that can reasonably be done to alleviate the problems which local communities are raising is in fact being done, whether this involves action by the airport or by other parties most closely involved – NATS, CAA, DfT or the airlines; and;
- The approaches which Gatwick has adopted for providing information to the local community and for handling complaints are fully adequate for the task.
The review is to begin on 1st September 2015 and a provisional target date for completion has been set for November. It is accepted that this end date may need to be moved back depending on the extent of consultation which the review team decides is necessary. A review of Easterly Arrivals will be undertaken as part of a second phase review.
Terms of Reference for the Review can be found at the following link.
Gatwick announces “independent review” of Westerly Arrivals due to the extent of opposition to changed flight paths
Due to the level of disturbance, upset and anger for miles around Gatwick, from increased aircraft noise, narrowed and altered flight paths, Gatwick’s Chairman, Sir Roy McNulty, has commissioned an “independent review” of air traffic, which will focus on Westerly Arrivals (ie. planes arriving from the east, to the airport, when there are westerly winds). The review will be led by Bo Redeborn, who for many years was Principal Director of ATM for EUROCONTROL. Gatwick airport says Mr Redeborn “will be assisted by a small independent review team which has been tasked with ensuring the involvement of local communities most affected.” The review is to look at whether, for westerly arrivals: “Everything that can reasonably be done to alleviate the problems which local communities are raising is in fact being done, whether this involves action by the airport or by other parties most closely involved – NATS, CAA, DfT or the airlines.” And if Gatwick’s approach to providing “information to the local community and for handling complaints are fully adequate for the task.” Thousands of people do not believe Gatwick is succeeding on either. The review is to begin on 1st September 2015. It may end in November, but may be extended if more consultation is needed. There will be a review of Easterly Arrivals later on.