Following the release last week of the final report of the Gatwick Airport Arrivals Review, Nus Ghani Wealden MP has welcomed the findings as a positive step forward which must now be seized upon by Gatwick Airport.
The report makes 23 recommendations, of which Ms Ghani has particularly welcomed:
- Bringing forward the sunset date for unmodified Airbus 320 aircraft to December 2017
- The adoption of carefully designed routes which bring about a “fair and equitable dispersal of noise”, including the relocation of holding positions to areas over the sea, “eliminating airborne holding dwell time over Sussex”, and a higher altitude for commencement of Continuous Descent Arrivals
- An overhaul of noise complaints policy and procedures employed by Gatwick Airport, particularly the establishment of a Noise Management Board
I am encouraged that these recommendations, if acted upon, would lead to more dispersal and less concentration of aircraft throughout the constituency of Wealden.
The review team have identified 8 measures to reduce the impact of night flights, something that regularly impacts residents, and have recommended that further research be carried out to validate statistics showing the height of aircraft above our communities.
The onus is now on Gatwick Airport, in partnership with NATS, the CAA and the Department of Transport, to follow through on these recommendations. Arguably the most important demand within the report is that GAL must reply by the end of March, and then publish a progress report by the end of January 2017. My constituents will expect this timetable to be kept to, and so will I.
Ms Ghani has been closely involved in the review process since its beginning, holding numerous meetings with Mr Redeborn and Mr Lake, as well as hosting a public meeting in Crowborough in November. This allowed constituents to put their own views and experiences to the review’s authors, and those views have informed the final report.
East Sussex County Council have also welcomed the review’s findings. Whereas Wealden’s MP is against a second runway at Gatwick, ESCC have lobbied for expansion.
Cllr Rupert Simmons, lead member for economy at East Sussex County Council said:
We are delighted to see included in the review panel’s report, recommendations addressing a significant number of issues that we have raised over the past two years.
We have received a large amount of correspondence, particularly from residents in the north of the county, about the disruption caused by aircraft landing at Gatwick.
East Sussex County Council continues to back proposals for an expansion of Gatwick which it said offered ‘an unmissable opportunity’ for the area’s economy, but has always vowed to lobby for measures to reduce the impact of flights on its residents.
We believe there are overwhelming benefits for East Sussex from an expansion of Gatwick Airport and will continue to push for a second runway. But aside from this, we believe there are a number of measures the aviation industry could and should take to address the issue of aircraft noise.
We particularly welcome the recommendation to create a new board to hold the relevant partners to account in delivering the recommendations. The board will include representatives from the Department for Transport, the Civil Aviation Authority, National Air Traffic Services and Gatwick Airport Ltd.