Gatwick Obviously

e-newsletter No.53

Our Mission Statement

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

Meeting this Friday at Penshurst

We have called a public meeting for this Friday, 26th February

All are welcome from any area.

We will brief you on what has happened and what is proposed for your airspace - and how we are very definitely aiming to influence that.

We can only hope to do so with your help, which has been immense so far.
That it continues is critical to the process.

8pm sharp
Penshurst Village Hall

High Street, Penshurst, Kent
TN11 8BP

After our briefing, we have a strong panel for the Q&A session:

I will also be on it.

Tom has kindly agreed to give the closing address.

The Leicester Arms is doing a special 'flight path gathering' deal on the night, with a selection of main courses at £10
01892 871 617

Letter from Tom Tugendhat MP

Tom Tugendhat MP sent this letter to many thousands of his constituents last weekend.
It speaks for itself, as does the very significant use of funds to do so.



February 2016

Dear Resident,

In the past year I have received more letters and emails about aircraft noise approaching Gatwick Airport than any other issue. I am writing to let you know that I am fully aware of the problem and am doing my utmost to find a solution for us all.

I have spoken many times in the House of Commons about the impact of aviation noise in our area and have received a great deal of correspondence from the Government on the issue. The Aviation Minister told me on 10 December 2015 that it is the Government's policy to "minimise the number of people significantly affected by aircraft noise". It is clear to me that many residents are significantly affected by noise overhead. l have continued to press Gatwick Airport, the Civil Aviation Authority and National Air Traffic Services to make the necessary changes to improve our quality of life.

At the end of January this year, the Gatwick Airport Independent Arrivals Review was presented. I am pleased that it has suggested changes which will bene?t residents in our area and recommends a wider dispersal of flights. This should bring welcome respite to some residents and I have already made my views clear to Gatwick that they should implement the recommendations in full.

I would be grateful if you would continue to let me know about your experiences of aircraft noise in our area. Our community needs respite and less noise would help our local economy and health. I have been working closely with local campaign groups to keep up the pressure on Gatwick Airport. Now it is time for them to act.

Best wishes,

Tom Tugendhat

Member of Parliament for Tonbridge and Malling

Tom also said this in the House on November 26th 2015, in a debate about the Heathrow v Gatwick expansion question and the Howard Davies report:

"There is enormous pressure on time, so I will say only that having had Gatwick as a neighbour for a number of years, I have seen what a bad neighbour it is. It has changed flight routes, narrowed flight paths over communities in my area, disrupted lives and ruined sleep - including that of my most immediate constituent: my wife - and it has made the lives of many people in the villages of Penshurst, Chiddingstone and Hever an absolute misery. I urge Hon. Members to think hard before rejecting the amount of work that has gone into this report, and before rejecting this opportunity for economic growth for the United Kingdom, so that we can take back our rightful place as the absolute centre of the international community."

See Tom on Parliament Live TV here

Letter to David Cameron, PM

At the end of January, campaign groups from airports around the UK gathered in London for a full day's discussion on the way forward with the flight path issue.

It was organised by the highly respected AEF (Aviation Environment Federation) and Airport Watch.

As a direct result of that meeting, an open letter was drafted and agreed, to be sent to David Cameron:

Open letter to the Prime Minister

The Rt Hon David Cameron MP
10 Downing Street

18th February 2016

Dear Prime Minister

Organisations representing communities throughout the UK recently met to share their concerns - and in many cases their anger - about the noise impacts of recent flight path trials and other airspace changes. Some of these organisations have previously written to ministers about this issue, but no substantive progress has been made on the matters raised in those letters. The meeting felt strongly that we should write to you to call for an urgent review in relation to airspace. Since significant changes are already underway and are independent of any future decisions on South East airport capacity, such a review should not be held up by the runway debate. We urge you, therefore:

We understand that the Government wishes to reorganise airspace and that the approach for doing so has been set out by the CAA in its Future Airspace Strategy. Our experience suggests however that the current approach for making such changes is not fit for purpose. Many airspace changes including trials of possible new flight paths have, for example, taken place recently without notification for local communities, and for reasons that in some cases remain opaque.

Further, it has become clear that the principles guiding the CAA on how to assess and manage the environmental impacts of airspace change are currently too crudely defined to be directly applicable to the issues posed by the introduction of modern technologies. Performance Based Navigation, for example, enables aircraft to fly intensely concentrated routes such that those who find themselves under a flight path drawn up by air traffic controllers can be - in some cases quite suddenly - exposed to noisy aircraft at a rate of up to one per minute.

Issues such as the location of these intensely concentrated flight paths, how effectively their proposed introduction is publicised, what the trigger should be for the deployment of respite options, and whether it is appropriate to expose new communities to aircraft noise evoke strong reaction and - in our view - require clearer guidance, based on evidence on noise impacts. Independent consultants to the CAA recently reached a similar conclusion - see the "Airspace Change Process Independent Review".

Yet significant change has been taking place without formal public engagement on these critical, high level questions.

Irrespective of the decision-making process concerning a new runway, airspace change is underway and changes planned for the future will have very significant community impacts. We understand that a bundling together of questions relevant both to airport expansion and airspace change may appear convenient. But it is our view that the Government's decision to undertake further analysis on the issue of airport expansion must not hold up the public consultation of the principles and process for assessing the community impacts of airspace change that we had been expecting to be issued early this year.

Given the strength of feeling that the changes so far trialled or undertaken have provoked in many cases - resulting in a number of trials being forced to end early and airports having to reconsider their own approach to community engagement - we request that a moratorium be placed on all further airspace change trials until such public consultation has been undertaken and the Government's policy reviewed.

Yours sincerely,

Tim Johnson (Aviation Environment Federation)
Sarah Clayton (AirportWatch)
Robert Barnstone (HACAN East, at London City airport)
Martin Barraud (GON, Gatwick Obviously Not)
Murray Barter (RAAN, Residents Against Aircraft Noise)
Louise Barton (Lydd Airport Action Group)
Peter Clymer (TWAANG, Tunbridge Wells Anti Aircraft Noise Group)
Nigel Davies (EGAG, Englefield Green Action Group)
John Davis (LADACAN, Luton and District Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise)
Nic Ferriday (West London Friends of the Earth)
Stephen Hanks (Nutfield Conservation Society)
Ian Hare (PAGNE, Pulborough against Gatwick Noise and Emissions)
Rosalie James (Aircraft Noise Three Villages)
Margaret Majummdar (ENAG, Ealing Noise Action Group)
Dominic Nevill (ESCCAN, East Sussex Communities for the Control of Aircraft Noise)
Helena Paul (SEAT, Stop Edinburgh Airspace Trial)
Sally Pavey (CAGNE, Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions)
Linda Penny (BIPLANE, Back Ifold, Plaistow & Loxwood Against Noise and Emissions)
Peter Sanders (SSE, Stop Stansted Expansion)
Brendon Sewill (GACC, Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign)
John Stewart (HACAN, Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise)
Mike Ward (Plane Wrong)
Peter Willan (Richmond Heathrow Campaign)
Katie Williams (Teddington Action Group)

It was duly picked up by The Times and Mail Online, as well as 40 local newspapers

See the very long list of links to these reports here

See The Times online here

According to wiki, Mail Online
"…is now the most visited English-language newspaper website in the world with over 11.34m visitors daily in August 2014."

As well as the content, that so many groups can agree on a draft, and so swiftly, speaks volumes for the potential of united action - something GON has always championed as an essential element of the campaign.

I look forward to seeing you on Friday, I hope you can make it.


Martin Barraud
Gatwick Obviously Not

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February 23rd 2016

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