We Absolutely Understand That Aircraft Noise Disturbs People
Aviation regulator the CAA has given its verdict on controversial changes to Gatwick flightpaths
18th November 2015 – Crawley Observer
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has announced the results of its review of the controversial changes to Gatwick flight paths.
Phil Roberts, the CAA’s head of airspace, air traffic management and aerodromes said: “We absolutely understand that aircraft noise disturbs many people and we have taken the required amount of time to fully assess the considerable amount of feedback we have received from across the local communities.
“As we have done throughout this review, we will continue to consider the environmental impact of all our airspace decisions and have called on the aviation industry and other decision-makers to be much more ambitious in confronting aviation’s environmental challenges.”
A statement from the CAA said: “European and national projects are improving airspace infrastructure to deliver a more efficient use of airspace and enable environmental improvements including fuel and CO2 savings by aircraft flying more direct routes.
“As part of this work Gatwick Airport sought the CAAs approval to implement changes to their departure routes which we approved on 14 August 2013.
“These changes meant a move away from old ground-based navigation in order to utilise the improved navigational capabilities associated with satellite-based systems.
“Our approval was given after a consultation by the airport.
“Around one year after implementation of such an airspace change the CAA reviews whether the anticipated impacts and benefits have been delivered.
“In this case the review includes a comprehensive study off light paths flown and assessment of the significant amount of feedback we received from the general public, particularly over noise concerns.’
The review’s conclusion are:
- Six routes have delivered the aim of the change and will remain in their current state. These are routes 1, 3, 6, 7, 8 and 9 (see map, below).
- One route has not delivered the aim of the change and must be modified to an acceptable standard. This is route 4 which departs from the westerly runway and then turns right to head east to route north of the airport.
- Two routes have delivered the aim of the change to an acceptable standard but Gatwick has been required to consider whether modification could deliver a better outcome. These are routes 2 and 5. Route 2 is from the easterly runway and turns right to route towards the south-coast and route 5 departs to the east from the easterly runway.
Following the CAA review, Routes 1, 3, 6, 7, 8 and 9 will remain. Routes 2 and 5 require further modification and route 4 is being modified.
The routes referred to are:
- Route 1: Westbound traffic towards Southampton from the westerly runway.
- Route 2: Southbound traffic towards Seaford for routes across the English Channel from the easterly runway.
- Route 3: Westbound traffic towards Southampton from the easterly runway.
- Route 4: Eastbound traffic from the westerly runway which splits into four routes towards: Dover for eastbound traffic; Clacton for eastbound/northeast bound traffic; towards the Brentwood area for northbound routes and towards Biggin Hill for positioning flights to Heathrow.
- Route 5: Eastbound traffic from the easterly runway which then splits into three routes towards: Dover for eastbound traffic, Clacton for eastbound/northeast bound traffic, and towards Biggin Hill for positioning flights to Heathrow.
- Route 6: Eastbound traffic from the easterly runway which then turns north towards the Brentwood area for routes to the north.
- Route 7: Southbound traffic towards Bognor Regis for routes across the English Channel (day time only) from the westerly runway.
- Route 8: Southbound traffic towards Seaford for routes across the English Channel (night time only) from the westerly runway.
- Route 9: Eastbound traffic towards Dover, northeast bound via Clacton or northbound via the Brentwood area from the westerly runway, but used as an overload route only.
“Gatwick Airport has been informed of our conclusions and is already working on the modifications we have required with a priority on route 4,’ said the CAA statement.
“Both Gatwick and the CAA will work to implement any acceptable modifications taking into account internationally agreed schedules for publishing changes to airspace.
“UK airspace is a very limited and important part of our national transport infrastructure but the basic structure of the UKb airspace was developed over forty years ago. Since then there have been huge changes,including a hundredfold increase in demand for aviation.”
Full CAA report – Warning large document
Flightpath review ‘fails to end misery’
Anti-Gatwick expansion campaigners say a Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) review on controversial changes to the airport’s flight paths fails to ‘end misery’ for residents.
Brendon Sewill, chairman of Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign, said: “It is a great disappointment that the CAA have rejected proposals for reducing the misery caused by new flight paths.
“In a 198 page report (see above) they devote only two pages to the possibility of dispersal spreading the aircraft over a wider area – and to the possibility of respite – giving people a break from constant noise. And then reject both.
We will now need to take the case to the Government and indeed will raise this when we meet the Minister for Aviation, Robert Goodwill MP next week, on November 18.”
A GACC statement said the changed routes had caused’great distress’ for resident living directly under them.
The paths were concentrated on’very narrow’ tracks because aircraft switched to satellite navigation.
It added the CAA review would only change is to the route which takes off to the west, and then turns right over Holmwood, Brockham and Reigate.
‘Reports serve only the aviation industry’
Sally Pavey, chairman of Communities Against Gatwick Noise Emissions (CAGNE), said: “For a Government, in this day and age, to implement and subject residents to such an airspace concentrated system without any research into the noise readings or emissions from concentrated routes is beyond belief.”
She criticised the reports and said they should be reviewed by the aviation minister Robert Goodwill. She added: “The noise shadow is far grater from a concentrated route than a dispersed route. It’s like having a country lane next to your home, which might see a few cars throughout the day and night, and changing it to the M1 overnight.
“The noise is relentless. Until the aviation industry recognise that concentrated routes create noise shadows these reports are pointless as they serve only the aviation industry and not the taxpayers.”