Gatwick Obviously

The umbrella group for all areas East of Gatwick

e-newsletter No.4

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What do you do now?

Many of you are asking this question and this newsletter seeks to address it directly.
You will know by now that Gatwick paused the proposals while they re-group and wonder how to present the results of the 'unfit for purpose' Consultation.
They will be hoping we all go away and our growing momentum slows.
We're not going to. Are you?

While Gatwick 'has a great deal of trust to rebuild' (Minister for the Cabinet, Francis Maude) we would ask you all to trust us that we are continuing the Campaign as we enter Phase II of the Strategic Plan.

Phase I was to alert West Kent and East & West Sussex to the proposals.
Collectively, the Campaign groups have achieved that through our use of the media and via an enormous amount of work by leaflet droppers across the Counties, for which we owe all those involved an immense vote of thanks.

Gatwick received 11,311 complaints in the first 6 months of 2014, versus 2,645 for the whole of 2013.

Phase II is both about gathering and generating the statistical evidence we need to then look at the legal possibilities to address what has been happening in the skies, as well as ever-tightening the connection between the Campaign groups across the South-East. (Plane Wrong is a very professional Campaign group that started in September

We are also looking at the critical data surrounding noise that Gatwick and other bodies have been using as their benchmark and will soon be starting our fundraising in earnest. But your complaints about low flying, night flying or general nuisance are equally important - keep telling the airport how annoyed you are.

Phase III will be about presenting the senior stakeholders - those who presently appear to want to create noise ghettos dissecting the South East - with fact-based solutions using Performance Based Navigation (PBN) technology to benefit rather than dis-benefit the people across West Kent, East and West Sussex and Surrey, by using PBN to create a multitude of highways as referred to in the House of Commons Noise Pollution paper and Davies Commission's Interim Report:

"… concentrating noise through the creation of multiple arrival and departure routes to performance based navigation standard to avoid the creation of 'noise ghettos'"
House of Commons: Aviation Noise Pollution paper, Operations, page 7

"… airspace changes supporting performance based navigation. Matching airspace structures with modern aircraft's ability to follow more accurate tracks allowing the possibility of designing closer spaced departure routes or alternating multiple arrival and departure routes for respite"
Para37, page 12

There will come a time when this means sitting down with these stakeholders.
We look forward to the day.

But let us be clear; there will be no hiding place for Gatwick anymore.
No longer can they ignore the thousands of 'stakeholders' whose peace is constantly shattered by their push for profits.
There are far too many people who now know a great deal about what they have been doing and we are collectively watching their every step.

Phase I was necessarily a very loud one. It worked. Absolutely.
Phase II is a quieter one. A test of endurance that is no less important if we are to achieve our aim of multiple routes, no night flights, quiet aircraft, aircraft that fly as high as possible and no second runway.

So what statistical evidence are we after? Primarily, how the flight paths have changed.

'the impression may be that something has changed, although I can assure you nothing has'
Stewart Wingate, Chief Executive, Gatwick, 18.07.14 to Charles Hendry MP

'It is worth first explaining that the airborne traffic that you are experiencing above your home has been the norm for many years and has not changed since the 1970s'
PA to Dame Deirdre Hutton, Chair & Andrew Haines, CEO, The CAA

'Charles Kirwan-Taylor … clarified that the purpose of this meeting is to address why people think something has changed as GAL wishes to put to rest the accusation that we have been less than truthful in our activities'
NATMAG 29.07.14

These plans were recently secured under the FOI Act by the High Weald Group.
Our QC is sharpening his quill.



Change or no change?

11,311 of you think something's up. Gatwick say nothing's changed.
And the CAA say nothing's changed since the 1970's.

If the plans above here, and the noise above your homes suggests otherwise, please let Mr Wingate know. We are advised it is essential that any complaint (and be sure to request your email is noted as a complaint) is cc'd to the CAA.

Trials or no trials?

We need an answer to the following major discrepancy and will keep asking until we have one:

'There has not been any trial of a 'Superhighway' on our westerly approaches [landing into Gatwick from the east] and we are not planning any trials'.
Stewart Wingate, CEO, Gatwick, 28.08.14

'One of the key suggestions emerging from the project team was an approach stabilisation trial, which we ran at the end of the peak summer season last year, and again from March to September this year. It involved analysing the operation to find ways of improving the consistency of the spacing provided between arriving aircraft in order to maximise throughput.
We discovered that by removing the shortened approach path as aircraft turned into land, we were able to achieve a 25% reduction in the spacing variation.
Steve Anderson, General Manager, NATS Gatwick 16.09.2013,
describing what was discovered to be the 'ACDM55 Project'

You know who to write to if you wish to demand an answer. Let us know if you get one.

Two major appointments

We are delighted to announce the appointment of the UK's pre-eminent aviation QC and Expert on Noise.

John Steel QC

We have retained John Steel, QC, who is an expert in airport and aviation development and his law practice has encompassed major infrastructure projects such as HS2 and Heathrow, Farnborough, Northolt, Oxford, Biggin Hill and Cambridge airports.
In addition, John has been advising various airport operators concerning airport expansion, EU State Aid considerations, regulation of the use and development of airports, aircraft noise and pollution control, as well as the effect of wind turbines on aviation and radar.

Rupert Thornely-Taylor

Rupert Thornley-Taylor has agreed to work with us on a case-by-case basis.
He is the Consultant in Acoustics Noise and Vibration.
He was a member of the Noise Advisory Council chaired by the Secretary of State for the Environment and an expert witness in both Houses of Parliament during the committee stages of the Crossrail Bill, all the DLR and Croydon Tramlink Bills, the Jubilee Line Extension Bill, and the Channel Tunnel Rail Link Bill.
He was expert witness for Network Rail in the Thameslink 2000 public inquiries He is consultant to HS2 Ltd and has prepared reports on noise for the OECD.
He was expert witness at the Airports Inquiries 1981-3, the original London City Airport inquiry, the Robin Hood Airport and Filton inquiries.
He was part of the team which produced the environmental statement for the new Nanjing Airport and was consultant to the planning authorities for Birmingham, Gatwick and East Midlands Airports.
He is also a consultant to Heathrow Airport Ltd.

So, what should you be doing now?

1. Complain - keep it up! It really works.
According to our inbox, the planes have become appalling for many again recently. It is essential you complain about every single one you perceive to be too low or too noisy. It really does have an effect - see below. To complain email this address or see our website for an easy-1 click solution
For those Airbus series planes owned by easyjet, don't forget to mention the appalling whine that their planes carry in low altitude and that they refuse to correct across their fleet - unlike Air France and Lufthansa.

2. Protest
Put aside Saturday 22nd November when GACC (the senior Campaign Group that started in 1967) have called a protest meeting.
The Apple Tree Centre, Crawley RH11 0AF.
2.00 pm (doors open 1.00 pm) to 3.30 pm
Large hall, central location, ample parking, 100 yards from the proposed airport boundary. More details as we get them.
Those opposed to Heathrow's new PBN routes called a protest - 1,000 turned up.
The PBN flights were cancelled.

3. Can you offer a funding incentive?
This element of our campaign hasn't started properly yet and we will need a serious amount of money.
Can you offer a top-level prize 'that money can't buy' that anyone who gives over a certain amount (say £100.00) can have a chance of winning?
Please email with 'prize' in the subject title

4. Do you have access to the National press?
We have a story to tell. We have facts to talk about. We have a 2nd runway to stop. Can you help?
Through media exposure we can hope to inform the government of Gatwick's actions, and by extension, be sure to alert their foreign owners to the status of their 'investment'.
If you have access to the National press and would like our input please do get in touch.
Email with 'press' in the subject title

5. Do you know the Party leaders?
The Liberal Party voted against airport expansion.
Come election night, do you want to go to bed with David Cameron or Ed Milliband and wake up living in a noise ghetto (or with a 2nd runway)?

Do any of the leaders appreciate the tens of thousands of votes available to he who says no to Gatwick, or the appalling Flight Path proposals?
There is no such thing as a 'safe seat' anymore.

If you know Dave, Ed or Nige please have a word, or ask them to get in touch. They can email 'Strategy Team' at with 'get me elected' in the subject title.
It would take us less than 5 minutes to explain to them how to use PBN technology to benefit all rather than destroy the lives of many.

They appear to have absolutely no idea of the fury out here and the votes available. And we have a very large and growing data base …

6. Read and forward our newsletters
Be sure to read these newsletters - there is a lot happening, including, we believe quite soon, a chance to comment on the Davies Commission that will advise if Gatwick should have a 2nd runway or not.

7. Help change the County Councils stance. Elections soon …

Cllr Balfour of KCC admitted that their backing for the 2nd runway was 'history' but this has not yet been ratified by Paul Carter, Leader, KCC.

Sir John Stanley, MP, demands that he does just that to give absolute clarity, saying;
"It is all very well saying that it is history and putting another document in the air claiming they currently don't have a stand on the proposal, but it doesn't mean anything until they formally rescind that statement of support made to the Airport Commission"

We urge you to write to Paul Carter and Mathew Balfour asking them formally rescind KCC's support for the 2nd runway.

Nothing else will do.

'That is history':

Following release of documents secured under a FOI appeal, it has been found that Cllr Rupert Simmons of ESCC made a decision under delegated powers (ie without taking a vote) to back the 2nd runway, and the most damaging proposed Option 3.
The FOI reveals:

'1. Was there a vote, and who attended and how did they vote? No, there was no vote. The decision was made by the Lead Cabinet Member for Economy, Councillor Rupert Simmons, under his delegated authority as a member of the County Council's Cabinet'.
EIR Request 4450 Response, courtesy of Key Campaigner Ian Knight

We therefore also urge you to write to Cllr Simmons and Cllr Glazier, (ESCC Leader) asking them to listen to the people and rescind this unilateral and incredibly damaging decision.

Astonishing level of complaints

"The number of complaints received was overwhelming and that it would take a long time to return to 'normal'"
Tom Denton, Noise and Track Monitoring Advisory Group 25.09.14 Draft Minutes

We suggest this is largely down to you. Gatwick's second quarterly data report shows that in the year to date they had 11,311 complaints (ie in 6 months) compared to 2,645 for all of 2013.
This follows the 'unfit for purpose' (Greg Clark, Cabinet Minister) Consultation and a period where Gatwick scorched the summer skies in their bid to become the busiest single runway in the world, which they duly achieved.
('Gatwick is the most efficient and busiest single runway airport anywhere in the world'
Steve Anderson, NATS, Gatwick).

Funding Update
So far we've raised just over £11,500 (without fully launching the fundraising campaign) and spent just over £4,750. We're extremely gratefully to everyone who's contributed, and those who've indicated they'll donate more, or for the first time, when our costs start to mount up. 

Our spending to date has been largely on publicity - leaflets, posters and so on - and on creating and updating GON's website. As discussed above we've now also engaged legal and noise experts.  We will be managing those costs very carefully. But inevitably these are expensive people and in due course, depending on the course we take, we'll need to look for more funding to sustain the campaign.
GON will shortly have its own bank account which will make contributions even easier to make and account for.

Proposals Postponed
We await more specifics but here are 3 of their statements:

'It is already clear that more time should be taken to understand the impacts of airspace change. Gatwick Airport and NATS agreed to defer submitting any proposals to change local airspace until more detailed work is done.'
Report from the Chief Executive, [Gatwick], July-Sept 2014

'Gatwick are not going to submit any Airspace Change Proposals this year and are considering whether to submit one next year'
Tom Denton, Gatwick Spokesman for Corporate Affairs
Noise and Track Monitoring Advisory Group, 25.09.14, Draft Minutes

'We can report that we have reached agreement NATS that they will not put forward airspace change proposals around Gatwick Airport at this time. We have also agreed that it would be preferable to put forward these changes at the same time as any changes resulting from the further work on the ADNID trial. We propose to re-visit all the proposals consulted on to explore in more detail rotating respite options for both arriving and departing aircraft at altitudes above 4,000 feet.

We believe that this process will take time to complete. It seems unlikely that the Senior Delivery Group will return to this issue until the latter part of next year.

There could be a need for further community engagement before any final decisions are made …'
Gatwick Airport LAMP Phase 1 Airspace Change Consultation Update Paper
Presented to GATCOM Steering Group on 2 October 2014

Who can we trust? Confusion and data discrepancies abound …

Here are just two examples:

"Yes it will, but possibly no it won't!"
Tom Denton, Gatwick Spokesman for Corporate Affairs
Noise and Track Monitoring Advisory Group, 25.09.14, Draft Minutes

This was in response to Mr Denton being asked by Mathew Balfour of KCC if NATS Airspace Change Proposals will be displayed.

Easterly/Westerly landings
'Tom Denton [Chair] advised the group that last year [2013] there was an approximate 50/50 split between easterly/westerly operations, whereas this year [2014] (to date) it is approximately 24/76'
Extraordinary Noise and Track Monitoring Advisory Group Meeting

'This year [2014] Gatwick has seen record levels of traffic, which might have increased your awareness of noise in the area but at least 50% of operations have been on the easterly runway, which would in itself have reduced the impact in your area'. 
PA to Dame Deirdre Hutton, Chair & Andrew Haines, CEO

In fact, according to Gatwick's own quarterly report, just issued, 2013 was 68/32 and 2014 to date (first 6 months) is exactly the same.
Shouldn't Gatwick and the CAA, of all people, be aware of this core statistic that affects us all so dramatically?

Gatwick & Tax
You may recall we highlighted this issue in our first newsletter (available on the website). We don't see how any British government can support Gatwick's demand for a 2nd runway given their Corporation Tax arrangements (ie they don't pay any). Good to see major newspapers have the same concerns about Gatwick's tax status. We also attach a letter to The Evening Standard that followed the article's publication.



The Strategic Team

September 22nd 2014

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