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Fury as anti-Gatwick protest group claim ‘early Christmas present’ as thousands of passengers plans are shattered

Local anti-Gatwick protest group, CAGNE (Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions) have caused a backlash over their apparent pleasure at the Drone closure of Gatwick yesterday.



While chaos was ensuing as emergency services rallied around to find the culprit(s) who were operating the drones causing over a hundred thousand passengers to be stranded at Gatwick the organisation & their Chairperson, Sally Pavey, took to Facebook & Twitter to state that it was “an early Christmas present for the residents surrounding Gatwick Airport as flights stop!!”

The mood of residents & travellers was soon expressed with dozens of outraged comments towards the organisation that was accused of “expressing joy at the misery of thousands of people.”

“an early Christmas present for the residents surrounding Gatwick Airport as flights stop!!”

Even those who are supportive of Cagne expressed their disappointment at the tone whilst many responses pointed out the misery felt by those whose plans had been disrupted along with the costs incurred.

One messaged:

“I spent my day with hundreds of people who have had their Christmas plans shattered. A family with a young daughter in a wheelchair who had saved to spend time with grandparents / parents they hadn’t seen for ages and many, many more stories. How can these cruel people make comments like this, I’m totally disgusted.”

Elsewhere, one Airport worker wrote:

“I have worked all day at the airport today 12 long hrs. I’ve spoken to people who have saved for two year to fly out today. A man who was attending his father’s funeral. Children who were going to Lapland for one day. All missed out because some stupid person thinks it’s ok to disrupt the airport.”

The Chair, Sally Pavey, also appeared to suggest that the Police resource being used to find the culprit is inappropriate stating:

“If we get burgled we don’t get 20 #police investigating and we are #taxpayers but at #gatwick Fly a drone and apparently they have 20 police seeking it!”

Yesterday CAGNE released a statement saying:

“Residents woke to silence from Gatwick Airport on 20th December, offering a glimpse of the tranquillity that they use to enjoy before Gatwick introduced concentrated flight paths (2013-14) and increased the number of aircraft movements.

For tens of thousands of residents of Sussex, Surrey and Kent they enjoyed some respite from the aircraft motorways above their homes that usual, in part, blight their lives day and night, and due to an out of date law, are powerless to take legal action to stop the flights from impacting their wellbeing and house value.

Although CAGNE, an umbrella community group, does not condone the irresponsible behaviour of flying drones near an airport potentially endangering lives, it was an early Christmas present for those that suffer aircraft noise.

Residents simply feel powerless to stop Gatwick’s desire to increase the number of planes above rural homes of Sussex, Surrey and Kent especially with their current draft master plan* for a 3 runway airport. The Government green paper* on aviation places the consumer and growth of aviation firmly at the top of priorities ignoring the impact aircraft noise has on mental health and wellbeing of those on the ground.

This incident must question the resilience and vulnerability of Gatwick Airport to such illegal action by unknown person/s.”



Businesses show their support for Gatwick’s growth as protesters continue their campaign

With only four days left before the consultation closes, 29 companies and business organisations that together represent over 25,000 companies Sussex, Surrey, Kent and London have come out in support of Gatwick’s plans.



With only four days left before the consultation closes, 29 companies and business organisations that together represent over 25,000 companies Sussex, Surrey, Kent and London have come out in support of Gatwick’s plans. The open letter to Stewart Wingate, the airport’s CEO, is signed by organisations including Chambers of Commerce, the Federation of Small Business and sector specific associations (full list below).

In the letter the business organisations describe Gatwick as ‘a linchpin of the regional economy and a significant national asset’ that contributes ’over £5bn to UK GDP and supports 85,000 jobs.’  It goes on to say:

As the UK heads into a new chapter, Gatwick will have a vital role to play in fuelling trade, tourism and commerce, and providing links to global markets. When Gatwick thrives and grows, so too does the national and regional economy, so the airport’s growth ambitions deserve our full support.’

Clearly this growth should not be at any cost, and given our businesses and employees are based in the local communities in and around the airport, we fully understand that the impacts of expansion need to be considered and carefully managed.

‘But we believe the strength of Gatwick’s plans lies in their simplicity. By unlocking much-needed new capacity from within the airport’s existing runways and footprint, Gatwick’s growth plans are a low-impact way of delivering significant benefits.’

We are firmly in support of Gatwick’s plans which we believe will play a crucial role in allowing our businesses, our employees and our region to continue to prosper.’

The support from businesses comes one month after 75% of residents surveyed across Sussex, Surrey and Kent said that they also supported Gatwick’s growth plans, with just 14% opposing.

The public consultation on Gatwick’s draft master plan runs until 10 January 2019 and can be accessed here

Stewart Wingate, Chief Executive Officer, Gatwick Airport, said:

“This vote of confidence in our plans for growth is particularly powerful as organisations representing over 25,000 businesses have thrown their weight behind our draft master plan. 

“Businesses know we can’t take the region’s economic growth for granted. By sending this letter they recognise the airport’s vital role in creating local jobs and opportunities, and that growing Gatwick is essential for the future prosperity of our region.

“With only a few days left I would like to encourage as many people as possible to take part in our ongoing consultation to show their support for the airport’s growth plans.”

But protesters like CAGNE (Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions) say the effect of any part of the plan would be highly detrimental for all residents.

In a recent statement they said:

“This master plan simply blights these areas again to the threat of airport expansion beyond 2030. The fact remains that Gatwick was not selected by the Airport Commission due to lack of unemployment in the surrounding counties; lack of connectivity to the rest of the UK and the world; it is predominantly used for European leisure travel.”

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