Gatwick Obviously

e-newsletter No.90

Our Mission Statement

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

Noise Management Board & Confidence

We've been rather busy at Gatwick Obviously Not. While you were enduring the peak aviation season, we seem to have been nipping over to Gatwick for one meeting after another.

Here's an update (my bold throughout):

We've lost confidence in Gatwick's Noise Management Board's ability to effect real change to the noise environment in our skies, and have collectively (with other groups) written to Gatwick vice Chairman and CEO telling them so. We've also proposed a series of specific changes to address the unsatisfactory performance of the Board.

We're not the only ones:

"…we were particularly concerned to hear the NMB being given full credit for the A320 modifications (a process which began long before it was established), and the equitable distribution of aircraft - when the picture on this is completely unsatisfactory."

Source: MP's Greg Clark & Tom Tugendhat to Baroness Sugg CBE, Minister for Aviation, 27th July 2018 (in full below)

Furthermore, NATS seem to have given up on introducing Fair and Equitable Distribution (FED) - an absolute cornerstone of why we accepted the Arrivals Review:

"…no effective techniques beyond the existing radar vectoring methodologies for managing traffic in the swathe had been identified by NATS…"

Source: NMB 11 Minutes, 27th June 2018

Some have asked what is the point in us attending the Noise Management Board if it can't secure Fair and Equitable Dispersal. GON came into existence to fight the appalling concentration introduced in 2013.

You may remember this primary action from the Arrivals Review:

"To address the concerns arising from the increased concentration of arrivals that occurred in some locations after a change of radar vectoring methodology in early 2013, the planned adjustment of the present swathe is expected to reduce the concentration of aircraft that resulted from that change.

The intended impact of this action is to recreate a greater geographical dispersal of arriving aircraft tracks, so that they are more closely aligned with the arrivals tracks which existed at Gatwick prior to 2013.

The benefit is expected to be a reduced concentration of arriving aircraft in the swathe, prior to joining the final approach track, supporting the fairer and more equitable dispersal of aircraft sought by many communities."

Source: arrivals_review_action_plan_final_160601, Recommendation Imm–10

That is indeed exactly what we, you and the MP's expected.

We - the collective of campaign groups known as 'Community Noise Groups' - have therefore called for completely refreshed Terms of Reference for the NMB.

Key to those new Terms of Reference is an acceptance from all sides that the benefits of the airport's recent and future growth are shared through proportionate, fair and balanced reductions in noise and noise impacts, in line with government policy.

We're united and pushing very hard on this.

And really rather frustrated that we're continually having to do the work of the noise regulator for Gatwick. Why am I, just a photographer by trade, and numerous other laymen and women having to hold this industry to account, month after month, year after year?

It's plainly ridiculous.

The government has at least accepted that concentration is not the only way and we will build on that small but very significant shift in policy:

"Last October the Government decided a policy of concentration is no longer the default option and that the proposals to change airspace must in future ensure options such as multiple routes offer respite through the use of better navigation technology are considered"

Source: Baroness Sugg CBE, Minister for Aviation to Nus Ghani MP, courtesy of ESCCAN, the Crowborough campaign group (in full below).

That is directly a result of all the noise you, and so many from campaign groups around country have made. Indeed, we hear via Twitter that even the former Chief Executive of the CAA likened the concept of a single, concentrated route to a 'noise sewer':


Source: John Stewart, Chair, HACAN

Now we just have to ensure the industry can hear the message above the clang of the tills.

We'll keep plugging away. Happy Autumn flight schedule.


Martin Barraud
Gatwick Obviously Not

(You can click on either of the letters below to see them more clearly, as PDFs)



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September 9th 2018

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