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Residents and campaigners furious response to Gatwicks noise claims

Sleepless nights and questioned statistics all added to the frustration over Gatwicks claims.



Last week we published a story from Gatwick Airport about their latest stats which said they had managed to reduce their noise footprint – Gatwick’s noise footprint shrinks following initiative to modify noisy aircraft

The story had an explosive reaction from residents and campaigners all of which immediately questioned the findings.

One resident, Sue Davidson wrote:

“Imagine my delight on reading this after yet another night as I lay awake until well beyond midnight, unable to sleep due to the noise of planes continuously circling overhead before they lined up for their final approach to Gatwick.

I live in Heathfield ( population 12,000) situated 30 miles from the airport. We are under one of the two holding stacks that are located over Sussex. As anyone who lives under one of these stacks can verify, we are frequently subjected to between three and five planes circling overhead at heights of around 6/7,000 feet for hours at a stretch. Believe me, that is loud!

While I would acknowledge that much work has been done to eliminate the infamous ‘airbus whine’, this in itself has not reduced the overall level of noise. An increase in numbers, lower flights and the introduction of services by some airlines with astonishingly noisy planes (Norwegian and TUI are good examples) have all undermined any progress made on the whine ( the solution to which, was I believe, identified by a lay person).

The article states that the NMB’s raison d’etre is to ‘ improve life for those affected by noise from Gatwick’. I can only report that from the perspective of someone on the ground, there has been no improvement at all. I am not alone in my views. The NMB has recently been issued with a letter of no confidence from all its community representatives; people who represent affected communities from all over Sussex and Kent. Complaints to Gatwick itself currently stand at over 94, 000.

Those of us who have been badly affected by the airspace changes introduced (without warning or consultation) in 2014/15 would, in future, appreciate some rather more objective reporting of this issue than that which appeared in your article.”

But Sue was not alone in her response.

CAGNE, Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions, released a statement in direct response:

“Those that sit outside of Gatwick’s shrinking noise footprint are those significantly impacted by Gatwick noise as well as those newly affected by the concentrated flight paths.”

“The problem with the CAA report is that they worked on an average of noise (16 hour daytime and 8 hour night over 2017 summer). Residents awaken at night or unable to use the garden during the day due to aircraft noise, do not hear noise in an average way, they hear noise as significant events whilst endeavouring to enjoy their desired tranquillity. Areas of Sussex, Kent and Surrey, outside of the footprint, report they are significantly affected by aircraft noise but are not included in the footprint as they reside outside of the LOAEL (Government noise metric of Lowest Observed Adverse Effect Level) and noise contours.”

It is true that planes are quieter, but the frequency by which they are flown has dramatically increased and this is having a significant impact on residents as is the lack of ‘best practice’ to how planes are flown to reduce noise by airlines.”

CAGNE also say that the CAA report details an increase of aircraft movements of 780.8 for 2017, a 1% increase on 770.6 in 2016 during an average day of 16-hours, and an increase of 1% from 2016 to 127.1 aircraft movements for 8 hour average at night.

They also say that while Gatwick detail why the noise footprint has shrunk, CAGNE point out that it took residents many years of letter writing to EasyJet and Gatwick to have the A320 retro fitted to reduce the noise while another factor that could illustrate why the population impacted by Gatwick has reduced is that Gatwick introduced concentrated flight paths on all departure routes in 2014 that has caused huge increases in noise complaints even though Gatwick has removed the complaint email address and phone line.

CAGNE continued saying that:

“Prior to 2014 communities had accepted dispersed flight paths, sharing the burden of Gatwick’s 24/7 noise activities, but with the introduction of concentration on departures (PRNAV for modernisation of airspace) comes single carriageway motorways above peoples homes which are unbearable especially as Gatwick continues to push for growth.

Noise complaints continue to grow to 24,658 for 2017 from 17,715 for 2016, significant increases from years when the aviation industry describes planes as ‘very noisy’ (4,791 in 2006).

The Noise Management Board is made up of predominantly community groups concerned with noise outside of the noise contours, illustrating that the footprint may be seen to have shrunk in an average way, but not according to residents of Kent, Surrey and Sussex.

This month Gatwick management were asked to meet with the Aviation Minister and local MPs due to the significant increases in Gatwick’s noise impacting those that have no reprieve from aircraft noise and those that are not recognised as being significantly affected by aircraft noise.

CAGNE would like to see Gatwick address the totality of noise some communities are expected to tolerate with no respite in a fair and equitable way and produce noise metrics that actually calculate what residents actually experience in the way of noise and duly offer them true compensation for loss of wellbeing. “

Gatwick have been approached for a response.


Criminals beware, Project Servator has launched at Gatwick and it WILL spot you!

Unpredictable, that’s the key word for the project launched at Gatwick Airport for the first time, ensuring that security checks are performed without any notice.



In this day and age we all feel a sense of safety whenever we see a police patrol going about their business.  None more so than at an airport.

“deter, detect and disrupt hostile reconnaissance”

Now Gatwick has gone one step further and adopted the national project Servator that has performed so well up and down the country.

Inspector James Biggs from the Gatwick Police Prevention Team explained:

“Project Servator is a project initiated by the city of London police that has now gone nationwide including railway stations and airports.

It’s designed to deter, detect and disrupt the hostile reconnaissance coming to the airport and places of interest.  That’s all levels of criminality from shoplifters to terrorists.

The project has been live nationwide for a number of a years which is why we adopted it here.”

But what is it?

The aim is be as unpredictable as possible and run security checks utilising all arms of the available resources available to the police, from uniformed to plain clothed and armed officers.  Additionally the use of dogs and the sophisticated CCTV and number plate recognition software all combine to create the airports very own ring of steel.

The officers have been specially trained to detect people who may come to the airport and act in a different manner.  Something not easy in an environment as busy as Gatwick where the people change every single hour and day.

But it is not just within the airport buildings that the project is undertaken.

Road checkpoints have also been set up ensuring that if anyone even thinks about getting close to the airport for wrong reasons then they will have no choice but to come face to face with the police.

Whilst the whole project is all about being unpredictable and therefore catching out would-be criminals, there is an additional side that could be witnessed first hand while watching the officers in action.

Smiles on the faces of passengers.

The very presence, the interaction and the belief that Gatwick is showing that safety is of paramount importance to all who both work and travel through the airport.

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