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‘Gatwick Goes Wild’ celebrates local wildlife with series of events

Jointly organised by both the airport and the Gatwick Greenspace Partnership, the project will offer a programme of events for all ages to explore the wild spaces and nature found on the airport’s doorstep.

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London Gatwick has today announced a new week-long series of events to bring staff and nearby residents closer to the airport’s local wildlife.

The ‘Gatwick Goes Wild’ project has been jointly organised by both the airport and the Gatwick Greenspace Partnership, and will offer a programme of events for all ages to explore the wild spaces and nature found on the airport’s doorstep.

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Planned events include a walk along the River Mole to learn about the plants and animals living in and alongside it, as well as an evening stroll to enjoy the fascinating sight of bat colonies emerging at sunset. Gatwick will also host a ‘Mammal Detectives’ session, offering an opportunity to track some of the larger mammals living nearby as well as meeting smaller mammals, such as harvest mice and bank voles.

A similar week of wildlife events was organised for Gatwick staff and the public in June last year, and its popularity inspired the airport to offer the events again this year.

The sessions will be led by staff from the Sussex Wildlife Trust, the Surrey Bat Group as well as Gatwick Airport’s Biodiversity Consultant, Rachel Bicker. Rachel, who has a BSc in Zoology and a Masters in Biological Sciences Research, also used to be a volunteer and contractor with the Sussex Wildlife Trust and has even appeared on the BBC’s One Show in her current role at the airport.

‘Gatwick Goes Wild’ will run from Monday 28 May to Saturday 2 June. Spaces for each event will be allocated on a first come, first served basis and all children must be accompanied by an adult. To book a space on any of the sessions, please email: community@gatwickairport.com

Gatwick Airport’s Biodiversity Consultant, Rachel Bicker, said:

“With many species declining across the country, there’s never been a more important time to get out there and engage with wildlife, and from grass snakes to rare long-horned bees, there’s lots of intriguing wildlife to be discovered at Gatwick.

“The airport invests significant resources into protecting and maintaining its environment, and we’re keen to give our local community an insight into how we look after the range of species living on the doorstep of one of Europe’s busiest airports.”

Full programme of events:

Monday 28 May – Wildlife along the River Mole, 10:45am – 1pm
Learn about the species of plants and animals along the River Mole at Gatwick.

Tuesday 29 May – Family Bushcraft and Woodland Adventure, 10:15am – 2:30pm
A series of wildlife-related activities for children and their adults!

Wednesday 30 May – Wildflowers and their Pollinators, 12:45pm – 2pm
Join us on a walk from the South Terminal and learn about the important insects which pollinate our plants.

Thursday 31 May – Butterfly Ball and Grasshopper’s Feast, 11am – 1pm
To the Butterfly Ball and the Grasshoppers Feast. All are invited, both insect and beast!

Friday 1 June – River Mole Bat Walk, 8:45pm – 11pm
Witness bats at sunset emerging from the roof of an old farmhouse and listen to them on a bat detector.

Saturday 2 June – Mammal Detectives, 10:15am – 2:30pm
Meet some of Gatwick’s mammals and learn all about how we find them.

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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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