A current Government consultation on airspace policy seeks to make radical changes that would hand over unprecedented levels of power to those that profit from aviation growth at the expense of communities they over fly, says campaign group CAGNE, Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions.
The contentious consultation, and other key issues relating to Gatwick airspace, will be discussed with representatives of the aviation industry at the CAGNE Annual General Meeting this Friday (3rd March) at Warnham Village Hall, Warnham, RH12 3RH, which is open to all members of the public.
Guest speakers are Andy Sinclair from Gatwick Airport and James Walker of the Civil Aviation Authority.
The Government consultation, Airspace Policy Framework, which runs until 25th May, suggests that as long as the sponsor, i.e. Gatwick Airport, consults and gives communities options, they will be permitted to make decisions about airspace changes such as Noise Preferential Routes, which have safeguarded rural communities that have not been over flown for more than 40 years.
“The consultation outcome is a potential capitulation. It could give the aviation industry almost total control over the lives of communities they over fly. The Government is suggesting that the only form of appeal would be through launching expensive Judicial Reviews that require funds exceeding £100,000. The appeal process would also appear to have been made even harder due to a proposed CAA tick box consultation process, and by the criteria for an application to the Secretary of State for his/her intervention being raised so high that around Gatwick we would probably have no chance of intervention. These have to be challenged,” said Chair of CAGNE , Sally Pavey.
Other topics to be discussed at the AGM will cover the ‘fair and equitable’ distribution of noise from arrivals; the intent to move the final approach closer to communities near to the runway with significant implications at night; an Arrival Review document that would show areas over flown by aircraft as an aid for estate agents even though these areas receive no compensation or are acknowledged by Gatwick as impacted by noise; and continued dissatisfaction at the Gatwick ‘Noise’ web page that discriminates against the elderly, visually impaired and those that do not have access to a computer.
A long called for review of departures at Gatwick will also be discussed as a result of Gatwick introducing concentrated flights on all departure routes in May 2014 with seemingly very little consultation. The CAA, using ‘noise averages’ that do not accurately reflect the impact of noise on rural communities, to approve them.
“CAGNE appeals to residents to seize the opportunity to attend the AGM. This is a rare chance to speak directly to, and to challenge, senior executives from Gatwick and Government. We cannot be complaisant because Government’s stance on the ‘modernising’ of airspace is full of risks for communities affected by aircraft noise. We must maintain a voice and not just be seen as an inconvenient part of the process for Government and the aviation industry to do what is easier for them, said Sally Pavey. “CAGNE also understands that there are movements backstage in Parliament to bring Gatwick 2 back onto the agenda despite the overwhelming evidence that it would be in no one’s interest except those who would profit financially or benefit personally.”