A message from Brendon Sewill of GACC
1. The runway situation
The Government has said that it intends to announce a decision on the runway ‘this summer’ after the referendum. It is generally assumed that this will be in July – before the House rises on 21 July. There will, however, be a backlog of Government business to get through. Moreover, if there is a Cabinet reshuffle after the referendum that could cause further delay. So a date in the autumn, perhaps in the Parliamentary session 5 15 September, now looks possible.
As explained in our last newsletter, GACC is concentrating on influencing the key civil servants and opinion formers by publishing a series of semi-academic research studies. You can see full details by clicking on www.gacc.org.uk/research-studies.
We have also worked with CPRE, The Woodland Trust and CAGNE (Communities against Gatwick noise and emissions) to produce a document illustrating the impact that a second runway would have in demolishing 17 listed buildings – more than at any time since world war II – and causing the deterioration of much loved countryside. We will be launching this document at 12.30 on Friday, 1 July at Rowley, the Elizabethan manor house owned at one time by the family of Thomas Culpepper. He was executed for having an affair with Queen Catherine Howard: now his house is threatened with a similar fate!
Please come and support and support this event. Entrance off the south-bound carriageway of the A23, south of Gatwick. Post code RH10 2SL.
2. Noise Management Board
As a result of intense opposition to new flight paths, Gatwick Airport set up an Arrivals Review, headed by the independent air traffic expert Bo Redeborn. GACC’s response to the Review is at www.gacc.org.uk/flight-paths Gatwick are due to produce their final plans for implementing the Arrivals Review on 31 May.
A new Noise Management Board (NMB) is being set up, and its first meeting will be on 21 June. For its first year the Board will concentrate on the implementation of the Arrivals Review. The Board will not have power to take decisions but it is hoped that it will provide an authoritative voice in making recommendations to the DfT, CAA, NATS or GAL.
There seems some risk of confusion with the existing Gatwick noise committee, NATMAG (on which GACC sits) although it is envisaged that the NMB will take a strategic view while NATMAG will continue to monitor the factual impact of noise on local communities. GATCOM, the airport consultative committee set up by statute, on which GACC also has a seat, will continue to have a wider role covering all aspects of the airport.
The chairman of the NMB will be Bo Redeborn. There will be one member from each of Gatwick Airport, Gatwick airlines, Gatwick local air traffic control, NATS (national air traffic control), CAA, DfT and the chair of GATCOM. Plus two county councillors. Some dissatisfaction has been expressed that the District Councils, which have a responsibility for noise and planning, are excluded.
During the past three years 13 different local community groups have been formed to protest against flight paths over their area (details are given in a Guide to Community Groups on www.gacc.org.uk/flight-paths ). These groups are to be given four seats on the NMB. 230 town and parish councils (!) were invited to nominate a community group. 35 replied and the four groups with the most nominations were
- The High Weald Councils Aviation Action Group (a group of 26 councils)
- GatwickObviouslyNot (a community group based on Penshurst)
- The Association of Parish Councils Aviation Group (six parish councils in the Wisborough Green area)
- The Pulborough Aviation Action Group (a local community group)
There has been some confusion about the nomination process, and discussions are currently taking place as to whether it might be sensible to make the NMB membership more representative, and to allocate responsibility for rural, urban, departure and arrival issues.
GACC have found ourselves in a curious situation. Although we have as paid-up members over 50 councils and over 40 community groups, we are not on the NMB. We were originally asked to be the sole environmental member on Board representing all the local protest groups. We declined because we knew that all the local groups had such strong views that we did not feel they would trust us to speak for them. Instead the decision was taken that there would be two ‘community’ representatives from the east and two from the west. Because GACC represents the whole area around the airport it would have been inappropriate for us to seek nomination for either east or for the west.
GACC will continue our traditional role of leading the opposition to a second runway and seeking general improvement in all aspects of the environment around Gatwick.
Thank you for your support.
Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign
Stan Hill, Charlwood, Surrey. RH6 0EP
Alternatively contact directly
John Byng 01293 537234
Peter Barclay 01293 862821