Gatwick Obviously

e-newsletter No.48

Our Mission Statement

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

Does Gatwick really deserve a 2nd runway?


"Having seen what a bad neighbour Gatwick is, seen how they have changed flight routes, how they have narrowed flight paths…how they have disrupted lives, how they have ruined sleep…how they have made indeed the lives of many other people in Penshurst, in Chiddingstone, in Hever, an absolute misery I would urge Honourable Members to think really hard before rejecting [the advice of the Davies report]"
Tom Tugendhat MP
House of Commons, Thursday 26th November 2015

"The impact of noise - which is already badly and unreliably managed by Gatwick - must be robustly, dependably and permanently resolved before any expansion of runway capacity could possibly be contemplated"
Greg Clark MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government,
June 12th 2015
See Greg Clark's letter here (PDF - 1.6Mb)

Or, to put it another way, why Gatwick cannot be trusted with the keys to a 2nd runway

In Parliament last week there was a debate about the Airports Commission final report. Tom Tugendhat MP spoke eloquently and with great clarity about how bad a neighbour Gatwick has been recently.


See the House of Commons debate here (Web link)
Debate starts at 13.57.11
Tom Tugendhat MP at 16.05.24

We don't believe Gatwick's track record over the last 18 months demonstrates the trust needed for our government to invest their faith in its management.

Do you?

A few months ago I joined the Secretary of State for Energy, Amber Rudd on the BBC Politics Show to discuss expansion and flight paths. I said what I could but time was very tight.

Let Greg, Tom and Amber know how you feel about Gatwick's track record. Keep it brief!,,

Both Greg and Amber sit on the 'Economic Affairs (Airports) sub-Committee' appointed by David Cameron to help guide the final decision on airport expansion.

To tell the whole committee what you think, email this address:

Or go straight for their in-boxes:,,,,,,,,,


Misleading advertising

The ASA upheld a series of complaints about their extensive advertising and found them to have been "misleading".

This is a very strong word for the ASA to use, and the differential in figures below is astonishing.

The Senior Investigations Executive at the ASA found that the net increase of people newly affected was 56,500 and 15,500 for Heathrow and Gatwick respectively, not "320,000" and "18,000" as stated by Gatwick, and that Gatwick's 'comparison was not verifiable'.

Gatwick adverts banned by ASA for 'misleading public'

See the BBC News item here (Web link)



For 2012 - the last full year before they changed the flight paths (without consultation, the subject of our Judicial Review) Gatwick received 2,366 complaints.
And for 2014 - the first full year after they changed them - 25,440.
An extraordinary increase of 975%


See the figures in Gatwick's own Annual Report 2014 (PDF - 1.6Mb)

Data own-goal

In these newsletters we have always been assiduous in our fact and data checking before publishing.
However, there is one issue we simply can't find the answer to, so this is a question to Gatwick rather than a statement of fact:

You - Gatwick - publicly announced the change in complaints policy that only allowed 1 recordable complaint per person, per day, on your website in November 2014. Correct?

We - GON - have recently heard that you actually implemented the change in August 2014?

If this is true, it would mean that thousands of complaints from the public were in effect made in good faith but not counted and that the true figure for 2014 could, therefore, be substantially different?

Gatwick - what were the exact days this policy was publicly announced and then actually implemented?
If they weren't the same days, how many complaints were discounted between the implementation and the public announcement?

In any event, the change in policy failed to dent the problem for Gatwick.
Here are the exact stats from the Flight Performance Team:

July 2013 - June 2014: 12,881
July 2014 - June 2015: 22,612

Gatwick deliberately impose lack of Respite

Sir Howard Davies Airport Commission report, Clause 9.27, page 178
"The promoter of the Gatwick scheme proposes that both runways should be operated in mixed-mode at the expanded airport, preventing the provision of respite through runway alternation, as would be delivered under both Heathrow schemes…"

Their attitude to their neighbours set out in one sentence.

Trust - a Cabinet Minister speaks

…the impression may be that something has changed, although I can assure you nothing has."
Stewart Wingate, CEO, Gatwick, to The Rt. Hon. Charles Hendry MP
18th July 2014

"Although Gatwick insisted no changes to flight paths had been made, as a result of a Freedom of Information request we now know that fight paths have shifted eastward…"
"While Gatwick say that this does not constitute an airspace change because it is within existing regulated space, I feel very strongly that they have not acted in an open and transparent manner."
"The impact of noise - which is already badly and unreliably managed by Gatwick - must be robustly, dependably and permanently resolved before any expansion of runway capacity could possibly be contemplated."
Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Greg Clark MP
June 12th 2015
See Greg Clark's letter here (PDF - 1.6Mb)

Here's the little snippet that revealed on 5th December 2014 what had really been going on. It may not mean much to the layman in words. But its effect in the sky has been absolutely devastating:

"Since 2013, NERL's operational procedures have involved moving the minimum establishment point from 7 nautical miles to 10 nautical miles on both approaches."
Dame Deirdre Hutton, Chair, CAA
28th April 2015

One important note on this. Dame Dierdre has stated on many, many occasions that this was done on grounds of safety. Yet a Freedom of Information request asking them to prove this produced a 44-page string of emails - with not one mention of safety. Only throughput.

And guess what - the join point for the proposed 2nd runway is at 6.95nm's.

No one at the CAA, DfT, NATS or Gatwick has been able to explain this stark anomaly.

Unfit for purpose

In 2014 Gatwick produced a 'Consultation' on some flight path issues.
It baffled, frustrated and infuriated so many that Greg Clark declared it "unfit for purpose" and urged Gatwick CEO to "go back to the drawing board".

Which they duly did, choosing the face-saving 'deferral' word to kick it into the long grass.
Nobody was fooled then, and nobody should be fooled now.

See The Kent and Sussex Courier's report on this story (Web link)

Kent, Surrey and West Sussex say "No"

In a dramatic volte-face, Kent CC turned over an earlier decision to support Gatwick following the way they have treated their neighbours.
West Sussex and Surrey also voted the same way. East Sussex squeezed through a vote for support, but in the very same vote, opposed the narrowing of flight paths - and the 2nd runway cannot happen without that concentration.

So, in effect, all 4 Counties surrounding Gatwick oppose either the expansion, or the means to make use of it.


Martin Barraud
Gatwick Obviously Not

November 29th 2015

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