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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.

Francis Guidera

Cllr Guidera: Is maintaining Queens Sq really too much to ask?

Tilgate Cllr Francis Guidera has spoken out about what he calls the ‘filthy’ state of newly refurbished Queens Square in Crawley.

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In an open letter Cllr Guidera says:

“Queen’s Square is costing the tax payer millions to renovate, but if you sat in Queen’s Square today you would be forgiven for thinking that the paving slabs had been down for a decade!

It is utterly filthy, highlighted by the patch in the centre where the fountain operates which is of course clean and shows what the rest looked like when it was installed just over a year ago.

The issue of keeping the square clean after it was done (including chewing gum) was raised by many councillors at consultation meetings before they began the work, and Ifield Councillor Peter Smith (Labour cabinet member for planning and economic development) assured us that these stones would be coated with a substance that helps to repel dirt… well, if they were I hope he’s asking for a refund because it clearly doesn’t work!

Perhaps Councillor Geraint Thomas would like to comment on the state of it also as the cabinet member for environmental services and sustainability? I’ve been told that council staff still do not have the right equipment to properly clean it. Why not? And then there’s The Pavement (the footpath down the side of M&S) which hasn’t even been fully opened yet and there are already issues. The block paving is uneven with gaps and paving stones at randomly different levels across the entirety of it! If this was someone’s driveway they’d rightfully be demanding answers for such a shoddy job!

So to sum up, the first bit is now filthy and hasn’t been looked after properly and the second bit is badly done and isn’t even finished yet…

As a Crawley-born local I’m very proud of this town and a basic thing like keeping Queen’s Square looking decent is not much to ask of the council.

While I’m writing this, I might as well (again) mention that Chichester Close play area urgently needs renovating… (just asking for a few thousand Tilgate residents)…”

Tilgate Councillor Francis Guidera

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