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Opinion

After almost two days of chaos at Gatwick, what now?

Does anyone even know what can be done to ensure drones cannot cause such disruption in the future.

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Flashback to July 2017, Gatwick closes their runway twice after reports of a drone close to runway were received.

The first closure lasted nine minutes while the second lasted only six. (Read that story here)

The very next day Crawley MP Henry Smith brought the issue up in Parliament after it is revealed that there were 55 such attacks in 2016, an increase from 39 in 2015 and in 2017 there had already been 27 such occurrences. (Read that story here)

A year later a new ‘No Drone Zone’ is introduced at Gatwick. The new law says that anyone flying an unauthorised drone within one kilometre of Gatwick’s perimeter fence – or anywhere at a height above 400 feet – risks five years in prison or an unlimited fine, or both, as the new laws come into force. (Read that story here)

Flash forward twenty one months and another drone incident this time closes the runway for thirty three hours before finally flights begin again only to be delayed for another forty minutes after yet another sighting. Thousands upon thousands of people are stranded in airports around the world or are diverted to towns and even countries they now have to struggle to get home from.

if those responsible even cared about laws they wouldn’t have done it in the first place

Resources from Sussex and Surrey Police along with Gatwicks own force, Fire services and finally the army are called in.

Finally over forty eight hours after the closure two local people are arrested. (Read that story here)

But where does this leave us?  If it has taken almost two days for an act that caused such chaos and disruption to be resolved then what can anyone do to solve it.

Politicians have screamed out we need harsher laws forgetting that if those responsible even cared about laws they wouldn’t have done it in the first place.

Technology experts have flooded our TV screens describing countless methods available to stop drones.

Police and airport officials have said that they have now brought in technology to allow them to secure the airport from future attacks – this before they had to close the runway again.

And yet there has been no real solution provided never mind delivered.

Journalists have pressed senior police figures to explain why it has taken so long to stop the drones but when it was clear there was no real answer they could give it just made the whole issue even more confusing.

Talk has now been building that something is being held back from everyone and there is more to it than what is being released.  The conspiracy theorists having a blast not helped by the lack of photos and video of the drones bar one.

And all the while hotels are over booked and travellers still suffering.

The real scary fact is that a ‘new’ technology that is in-fact not that new is now available to the masses and no-one has a solution to prevent future issues that have been experienced this week.

The following days, weeks and months will be fascinating as more details are released as to what has happened and if those arrested turn out to be responsible and we find out why they acted this way, then maybe, just maybe we will be able to start putting in real solutions to something no-one would have thought would be a problem only a few years ago.

Opinion

Would-be cyclists ‘urged’ to use new COVID pop-up lanes as County Council releases rare ‘caught-on-camera’ moment

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No your eyes are not deceiving you and this is not a photoshopped image!

It is potentially one of the rarest moment to have been captured on camera in Crawley in…well quite a while.

In a press release by West Sussex County Council, promoting the new pop-up cycleway in Crawley – you know the one that is causing more harm than good, they attached one of the rarest sightings – a cyclist using the very lane the majority of locals have come to hate.

Forgetting the fact that the cyclist isn’t wearing a helmet there should be rejoice that such an event has been witnessed and hopeful that this will lead to many more taking to their bikes and utilising this most pointless of installations.

But jokes aside it is with bewilderment that such a release was sent out in the first place.

Why?

For only weeks have passed since an online petition opposing the lanes was launched locally which to this date has gained over 4,000 signature.

In retrospect, another petition in favour of them has only amassed less than 200 signatures.

So why isn’t the county council already realising the opinion?

Simple, they are actually not interested in opinion on it, for when you read through the release what they really want to know is how many people are using it – not whether we like it there or not.

The statement reads:

“The cycleway routes are the result of collaborative work with the district and borough councils. Once fully installed and open, we will be encouraging would-be cyclists to experience the cycleways for themselves. This will be the chance for people to show how much they want the cycleway to stay.

The schemes will be closely monitored to see how well used they are and any positive or negative impacts on congestion, safety and air quality. Adjustments will be considered and, if any of them do not work, they may be removed.”

So to be clear, what they have not said is to comment on how much we all love them – how much we enjoy having to navigate roads which were already congested and narrow but which are now even worst.

What they want to know is whether anyone will actually be using it and then what the figure will relate to overall.

Does anyone want to let them know what we already know about this or shall we just leave the time-wasting politics to eat into our taxes once more.

I’ll let you decide.

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