Growth and noise reduction at Gatwick airport - a Debate in Parliament
"As you know, the fight for quieter skies continues. Ever since the flightpaths were changed in 2013 we have suffered locally from greater noise which affects us all.
"Though we have seen some changes to our skies in the past couple of years which have helped the situation, it still remains bad. I'm particularly concerned at the moment about how Gatwick's growth in flights and passenger numbers is not being reflected in greater work to reduce noise from each and every flight. This is, after all, the Government's policy.
"That's why I called a debate in Parliament on the issue. My specific points were to ask the Department for Transport to better enforce its policy, and also to work more closely with the Airport and wider Aviation Industry to find credible solutions to this problem."
You can see my speech at this link:
Or, if you would prefer to read the transcript, you can do so here:
"Though my voice was softened because of a cold, I hope that my words still had the required impact. I won't let up the battle until the industry does more to reduce noise locally for us."
Tom Tugendhat MBE MP
Q: Who are we and what are we trying to achieve?
A: People like you, seeking fair use of our skies, no new runway at Gatwick and proper regulation of aircraft noise
In the early summer of 2014 many to the east and west of Gatwick were very suddenly assaulted by new, concentrated flight paths.
At the same time we received a Consultation on further changes to the flight paths that aimed to focus all arrivals down an even narrower corridor. An aircraft about every 2 minutes all day, every day. And most of the night.
Shocking, and morally untenable - wherever they are proposed.
We set about gathering a team together and created the GON Strategic Group - 15 determined, experienced individuals pulled together from various other local volunteer bodies to fight this menace in the skies.
We consulted the UK's top aviation QC, John Steel, who advised us we had a case. In summary, that case was and is that the CAA should have Consulted on the airspace change that had happened. The CAA answered that it wasn't an airspace change, so they didn't need to.
Tens of thousands disagreed.
We raised £100,000 in a week locally to commence proceedings for a Judicial Review.
'Barraud v CAA, with NATS, Gatwick and DfT as Interested Parties in the Defence'
We lost the first stage - seeking Permission to go to the Full, Substantive Hearing. We appealed to the Court of Appeal. We won that Appeal, and indeed the judge reserved the Substantive Hearing for the Court of Appeal, the second highest Court in the land, as the decision will set precedents.
The process is now on hold while we see if the CAA et al play ball with their many promises to repair our airspace.
In the meantime we turned Kent's official policy on the 2nd runway - they are now fully against such a ludicrous idea.
We also played a part in ensuring the Consultation, which was incredibly poorly written, was 'deferred' as Gatwick put it. Or kicked into the long grass, never to be seen again, as we put it.
We called on the fury of so many to join us in a field in Penshurst. Nearly 1,000 showed up to send Gatwick a message. See our header image above!
ITV news piece on it here:
We appealed to the Advertising Standards Authority about Gatwick's second runway £40m advertising campaign. We said their numbers on the numbers of people who would be affected by a new runway were wrong. The ASA agreed with us and found Gatwick's adverts to be 'misleading' - a very strong charge indeed.
"Gatwick adverts banned by ASA for 'misleading public'
Misleading adverts produced by Gatwick Airport about the noise from a new Heathrow runway have been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA)." BBC
See the archive newsletter on it here:
We have put out 70 newsletters in the last 2 years to our ever-growing data-base (now some 3,000+).
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Tom Tugendhat, MP, has been a superb supporter of our cause and called for, secured and led a Debate in the Houses of Parliament on the issue of narrowing flight paths. He was kind enough to credit GON for our work:
"In the closing few moments, I would like to pay a small tribute to Gatwick Obviously Not, a campaign group in my constituency that has worked tirelessly and fought very hard not only for communities in our area, but - as I hope this debate has recognised - for communities across our country that are suffering. Aviation noise recognises no boundaries of constituency, or indeed of town, borough or county."
See the archived newsletter here:
And the debate here:
We secured, with others, a full 'Arrivals Review', commissioned by the Chairman of Gatwick, Sir Roy McNulty. This followed intense pressure from many quarters on Gatwick to behave, including strong letters from us to Sir John Major, the Chair of Gatwick's Advisory Group.
That Review itself has now been completed, and in Sir Roy's words:
"GAL's [Gatwick Airport Ltd] proposed [Arrivals Review] Action Plan also made it clear that the proposed [re-] widening of the swathe was intended to reverse much of the aircraft concentration and noise consequences which had resulted from the approach stabilisation initiative taken by GAL and NATS in 2013, by restoring as far as possible the distribution of arriving aircraft that occurred prior to 2013."
Right now, as in right now, we are waiting and watching to see if the industry does indeed properly set about repairing our airspace. Time for the actualité.
Below is a recent newsletter that gives you an idea of just one area we're currently working on.
It's going to be a long, hard battle to make the aviation industry sort out our airspace. They've had carte blanche to do as they please with our airspace since man first took to the skies.
Our determination is to see that concentrated flight paths are not brought in across the nation as we see them to be morally heinous
Gatwick Obviously Not
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