Gatwick Obviously

e-newsletter No.40

Our Mission Statement

Full dispersal • • • Maximum altitude • • • Continuous Descent


We cannot control the winds
But we can adjust the ailerons

As you probably know, this neat aphorism should finish with 'sails' but as tweaked it encapsulates all that we are trying to achieve.

And we have significant adjusting to report.

Editors note: you see my name, you see my words but rest assured GON's Strategic Team of 15 is playing a strong part in all that we do, with several key individuals doing a mammoth amount behind the scenes.

Read to the bottom and see how your donation could produce £30,000 for charity.

The Independent Airspace Review of Arrivals

The full Review of Arrivals, inspired by Sir John Major (Chair of the Advisory Board to Gatwick's major owners, GIP) is under way. We have agreed the Terms of Reference with the Chairman of Gatwick itself, Sir Roy McNulty after some weeks of negotiation.

Through the Summer we pursued Sir John Major (and Gatwick's other owners) to seek his help in bringing back some tranquillity to our skies. He did not let us down. Once the offer of a Review was received, we worked fast to gather in all our fellow campaign groups and now operate for this Review as the GatOne Group.

At our request many of you also wrote to the other 5 owners and we are absolutely certain this had the desired effect.
Thank you, your time (and postage) could not have been better spent.

Last week at Gatwick we sat across the table from the man leading the Review, Bo Redeborn and his Specialist Adviser, Graham Lake. This was an initial meeting to test the credibility of the Review and the independence of Mr Redeborn. We came away content with the details of the Review and with confidence in its Chairman.

The Project Delivery Plan may be seen here (PDF - 133kb) or on our website.
On page 7 are the final, agreed Terms of Reference.

We fought particularly hard to have 'dispersal' included in the Review, for without that we have nothing:

"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' which a number of campaign groups have expressed as a priority."

One of our requests under the Terms of Reference was for a Communities Agent - in effect technical back-up to advise us on the changes we want to see happen. We have duly appointed Airspace Designers to70 in Holland, and Gatwick will be funding their work.
I have been to see to70 in The Hague today for very interesting and constructive first discussions.

All parties are keen on speed and the Review will report in January 2016. No party is bound by its findings, which can work both ways of course.

The DfT

Earlier this year we played our part in bringing together flight path campaign groups from around Gatwick, Heathrow and City Airports. Now known as the Aviation Communities Forum, through the skilful drafting and diligence of its Chairman (from GON's Strategic Team) we have secured a meeting in November with the Minister for Aviation, Robert Goodwill. Rest assured much work is going into agreeing the most productive Agenda possible.

NATS and Gatwick

Twice in the last week we and other fellow campaign groups have met with the recently appointed NATS CEO, Martin Rolfe and his team.
The first one was last Friday under the stewardship of Richard Streatfeild, MBE, Chair of the increasingly important High Weald Councils Aviation Action Group.
Stewart Wingate, CEO of Gatwick, also attended that meeting.

A sea change was sensed in the industry's attitude towards those on the ground, particularly from NATS, and Gatwick's CEO.

Yesterday I travelled to NATS HQ at Swanage with fellow campaign groups in a meeting arranged by CAGNE (a campaign group to the west of Gatwick) and the tone from Martin Rolfe was again very definitely one of wanting to make constructive and positive changes to the airspace that the communities could agree on.

You read that right. Constructive and positive changes to your airspace.

It seems you have been heard. They are listening very, very hard indeed. Now our job is to turn that into real changes in the skies above us all. Previously we could not raise a response of any sort from NATS. Now they are inviting us into their den and asking us what we collectively want to happen.


Have we gone native?
Are we suffering from a form of Stockholm Syndrome?

No and no! There are far too many experienced and wily people in GON's Strategic Team and other campaign groups for this to happen. We are cautiously, very cautiously welcoming the positive initiatives coming out of the industry.

We move one step at a time.

What else are we up to?

Judicial Review
Our legal team has submitted the Appeal to the denial of Permission. We simply await a yes or no about whether we can proceed to a full Hearing, sometime before Christmas.

BBC2 Documentary
An independent production company has been commissioned to create a 6-part documentary about everything to do with our skies in the UK. They have been to film in Penshurst, at our field event and at my home. Who knows, it may all end up on the cutting-room floor but if it doesn't it's due to be aired in February next year. Our focus has been the same as it is in all that we do; we need to change national policy for the local good, throughout the nation. Concentration per se is simply unjust, unfair and wrong.

Gatwick's aspirations for expansion
Sir Howard Davies has very recently rebuffed Gatwick's various challenges to his report recommending Heathrow.
This has been seen as very unusual and he certainly takes no prisoners in his response. Definitely worth a read. See his letter here (PDF - 1.2Mb).


Please be aware: a significant element of the fundraising is for legal costs and we may not win.

In Phase I, we raised that now-famous £100,000 in 5 days to launch the Judicial Review, such was your fury and frustration at the abuse of our airspace.

At the 'message-in-a-field' Event a month ago we launched our Crowd Funding initiative, asking for £100 from all those who could afford it, with a target of £50,000


Today this stands at just under £23,000 which we think is a fabulous response from you all.

Thank you.

We're nearly halfway but need your help to go the distance. To encourage you to take say just 2 minutes to go online we have created some key incentives.

We have done this because many of you have told us you will donate, but just haven't quite got around to it …

  1. Two previous donors have offered a total of £20,000 to go to charities of their choice if we reach £50,000 for Gatwick Obviously Not!
    - £10,000 to Orbis, the flying eye hospital
    - £5,000 to the Pickering Cancer drop-in centre in Tunbridge Wells
    - £5,000 to St Mungo's, a charity for the Homeless, providing 2,500 beds every night.

    However we have recently been advised that the Department of International Development (DFID) will match-fund any donation to Orbis given from 4th November for 3 months. £10,000 - doubled.
    Orbis have a 747 fitted out to treat eye diseases in the most deprived areas of the world, and last year trained nearly 27,000 ophthalmologists, anaesthetist and bio medics, giving over 6 million treatments.

  2. In the middle of October I will set out from San Sebastian, Spain, to cycle 1,000 miles back to Penshurst, England in 10 days.
    I'm not young, super-fit or, frankly, with much time on my hands.
    And I'm not doing it for fun, although cycling up the coast, largely via La Vélodyssée cycle route should be very interesting.
    I'm doing it for two reasons:
    - to encourage you to take the time to donate;
    - to demonstrate our absolute determination to succeed.

    Here's the deal.
    We restore some tranquillity to your skies.
    And you help make other things better.
    £30,000 better.

    Together we can achieve real change.

    It’s very quick and easy to donate

    I'll update you very soon on all fronts. I'll leave you with Leonardo's inspiration for his flying machine.


    Our inspiration for securing that tranquillity is harder to illustrate; a dose of common sense, as we mentioned to Mr Redeborn last week and Mr Rolfe yesterday.

    They both heard us.


    Martin Barraud
    Gatwick Obviously Not!

    October 1st 2015

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