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Airline fined after illegally importing dogs into UK via Gatwick

Multiple incidents were recorded.

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An airline has been ordered to pay nearly £10,000 after it allowed dogs to illegally land at Gatwick Airport on multiple occasions.

Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA transported a dog into the country on a flight from Bergen, Norway, which landed at the airport on 24 September 2017.

The animal should have been transported to Warsaw, but had been mistakenly loaded onto the wrong flight, while the airline is only approved to transport recognised Guide or Assistant Dogs into the UK. The dog was taken into quarantine shortly after landing to be exported to Oslo.

The airline had been issued with two written warnings by West Sussex Trading Standards in December 2016 and February 2017 in relation to similar offences concerning a number of illegal landings of dogs at Gatwick.

A second incident took place on 27 September, when the airline transported a dog from Los Angeles, which had travelled in the cabin as an ‘emotional support dog’. There was no evidence the animal was classed as a recognised assistance dog, and it did not have an EU pet passport.

A third incident then took place on 31 December when a dog was transported on a flight from New York without required documentation to show it had received the necessary vaccinations, and it could not be classed as a recognised assistance dog. It was placed into quarantine for exportation.

A fourth incident on 26 January 2018 involved a dog travelling from Oakland, USA, which also had no evidence to classify it was a recognised assistance dog. The animal also had a name missing from a pet passport.

Debbie Kennard, Cabinet Member for Safer, Stronger Communities said: “I hope this sentence will deter other airlines and organisations from thinking they can disregard important animal health laws which, if not kept, could potentially be dangerous to our local communities.

“It is a credit to our Trading Standards team that they were able to build such a case against the airline for such a period of time, and bring it to the necessary conclusion.”

At Worthing Magistrates Court on 29 June, Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA was fined for four counts, one for each incident, under the Non-Commercial Movement of Pet Animals Order 2011, and four counts, one for each incident, under The Rabies (Importation of Dogs, Cats and other Mammals) Order 1974.

The airline was fined £1,000 for each offence, totalling £8,000, and was ordered to pay £1,734.06 in costs, and a £100 victim surcharge.

Peter Aston, West Sussex Trading Standard’s Team Manager, said:

“We hope that this case will act as a deterrent to other airlines and indeed all those importing pets into the UK. If you breach the rules that keep the UK safe from animal disease, there will be consequences.

“In this case, despite previous warnings by Trading Standards, the airline continued to flout the rules and this was reflected in the level of fine the airline received.”

A Norwegian spokesperson said:

“The cases in this matter were rare isolated incidents concerning emotional support animals and Norwegian does everything possible to meet its obligations in line with UK regulations and the countries we serve. We have since revised our procedures accordingly to ensure that we fully comply with all regulations.”

You can report concerns about illegally imported animals by contacting Trading Standards on 03454 040506 or online at https://www.westsussex.gov.uk/business-and-consumers/trading-standards-information-for-consumers/report-an-incident-or-issue-to-trading-standards/

Business

Former Horsham Council CEO appointed as Chair for GATCOM

New Chair brings substantial experience of chairing committees and similar bodies locally and across the South East.

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New Chair of GATCOM, Tom Crowley.

Tom Crowley – the former Chief Executive of Horsham District Council – has been appointed as the new Chair of Gatwick Airport’s Consultative Committee (GATCOM) – the statutory, independent advisory body and ‘critical friend’ of the airport, it was announced today.

Tom will take up his new role in January 2019 – for a minimum of period of four years – and brings with him substantial experience chairing committees and similar bodies locally and across the South East region. He is also currently Chair of Empty Homes – a national research and campaigning charity – and a Governor of the Chichester College Group.

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Before his appointment as Horsham’s Chief Executive in 2005, Tom held senior management roles at Reigate and Banstead Borough Council and Arun District Council.

In its 62 year history, the 28-strong committee has maintained an independent and unbiased approach in its overarching objective, which is to ensure the future success of Gatwick Airport, while paying particular regard to the impact it has on the surrounding communities and the environment.

The outgoing Chair – Dr John Godfrey – will leave his role in December 2018 after announcing his retirement after eleven years in post. His achievements during this period have been described by Stewart Wingate – Gatwick’s CEO – as ‘considerable’ and include leading the committee through the sale of the airport by BAA to Global Infrastructure Partners in 2009.

John also steered GATCOM through major challenges such as the public consultations on a second runway and the airport’s master plan, through the use of and changes to flight paths, the establishment of the Gatwick Noise Management Board and helped to generate support to secure enhanced rail services to the airport.

Stewart Wingate, Gatwick CEO, said:

“I congratulate and look forward to working closely with Tom in his new role as Chair. This post is fundamental to the strength of GATCOM and the committee plays a key role advising me and my senior team about issues of concern to our local communities or that impact the local environment.

“I would also like to express my personal gratitude to Dr John Godfrey for dedicating over a decade to the role. I very much value his contribution to GATCOM and his achievements during his tenure have been considerable and have helped shape the direction the airport.”

Dr John Godfrey, outgoing GATCOM Chair, said:

“I join Stewart in congratulating Tom on his appointment and wish him well in his new role. GATCOM acts as a bridge between the airport management and all the various agencies and interests which make up the wider community which the airport serves. Tom’s background and experience equip him to make a major contribution to the important work of the UK’s leading airport consultative committee.”

Tom Crowley, incoming GATCOM Chair, said:

“I am delighted to have been selected for this important position. Having lived and worked locally for almost forty years I am acutely aware of the economic benefits that Gatwick brings but I also appreciate that the airport’s development and operation generates significant environmental impacts.

“GATCOM plays a vital role in representing the interests of those who benefit from and are affected by the airport and it provides an effective forum to promote constructive dialogue with Gatwick’s senior managers.”

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