A comprehensive version of Gatwick’s new Flight Tracking and associated Complaints system, WebTrak, was demonstrated at Gatwick’s Update meeting on 24th July and was well received. It had previously gone down well at the NaTMAG meeting in May and the GATCOM meeting in July.
The basic Phase 1 introduced at the beginning of April, replacing the Casper Noiselab system, was an early version of WebTrak lacking many of the functions of NoiseLab. In Gatwick’s March announcement Phase 2 was expected ‘by the summer’; then ‘during the summer’.
It is now September and summer is officially over. We look forward to the release of Phase 2 shortly.
You can see details of WebTrak by clicking HERE or on the COMPLAIN tab, above.
Gatwick held an update presentation meeting for NMB members on 24 July in place of what would have been a normally scheduled NMB meeting. It covered issues of interest to Tunbridge Wells, to find out more click HERE or on the NMB tab above.
Gatwick’s Noise Management Board has been suspended since its 14th meeting which took place on May 8th. Gatwick are pressing ahead with the revised structure recommended by the Review Committee. To find out how the situation is developing click HERE or on the NMB tab, above.
Gatwick announced in July that it intends to go ahead with its Master Plan for major expansion, originally published in draft in October 2018 and then subject to a consultation process. It would have serious consequences for Tunbridge Wells, the surrounding villages and wonderful countryside, with devastating increases in noise, pollution and traffic congestion from an expanding Gatwick. To see our further comments click HERE or on the NEWS tab, above.
We have points to make on the Consultation on the Draft Master Plan in the COMMENT section, and our earlier remarks are still relevant. Click HERE or on the COMMENT tab, above.
Here are earlier items we published, they will be updated shortly
WHAT FUTURE FOR GATWICK’S NOISE MANAGEMENT BOARD?
The final NMB meeting of the initial 3-year term of the Board was held on Wednesday 8th May. The proposed new structure for the NMB failed to meet the required 75% approval when it came to the vote and the Chairman consequently wound up the current NMB so the Board is at best suspended for the time being. Gatwick have expressed the intention of continuing with it, but the form it will take is as yet unclear. More detail is available, click HERE or on the NMB tab, above
Gatwick withdrew the whole Casper Noise, Track Keeping and Complaints handling system on 1 April 2019 and replaced it with a WebTrak system. The Casper system included both current and historical flight tracking, historical data on flights and reports on complaints. The initial WebTrak system (phase 1) is much more limited but we are told that it will be more fully implemented in phase 2, due 'before the start of the Summer'. Click HERE or on the COMPLAIN tab, above, to see links to WebTrak facilities and more comments about this new Noise and Track Keeping System.
We continue to be concerned by concentrated arrivals, especially during the late evening into night time and over areas of concentrated population and when both children and adults are trying to get to sleep. This does little for our confidence in the effectiveness of the NMB, NATS or airlines.
We show an example drawn to our attention by a distressed mother, click HERE or on the FACTS tab, above.
Baroness Vere of Norbiton replaced Baroness Sugg as Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Department for Transport in April. Baroness Sugg had served since October 2017. Community Group representatives had developed a working contact with Baroness Sugg, it remains to be seen if this can be refreshed with the new Minister.
1. Who is TWAANG? A growing Group of residents of the town of Tunbridge Wells who are working in partnership with other action groups to limit the noise and volume of aircraft flying over our airspace. Contacts : Dr Irene Fairbairn, Chair, at email: email@example.com
2. What’s the problem? Westerly arrivals flight paths to Gatwick were changed at the end of 2013 and now low flying airplanes (often at 4-4,500ft) fly over Tunbridge Wells day and night. This change was originally denied and no consultation with Tunbridge Wells residents took place. Government aviation policy is to avoid flight paths over densely populated areas where possible. Why is this policy not being implemented?
3. When TWAANG was formed in the Autumn of 2015 to ensure that the town’s particular concerns could be added to the Independent Arrivals Review then being undertaken for Gatwick by Bo Redeborn and Graham Lake. The deadline for responses and submissions was 30 November 2015. Up until mid October 2015 there had been no residents' voice for the town of Tunbridge Wells to add to those of the surrounding villages, all of whom have been affected by the changed flight paths.
4. Why? Tunbridge Wells is a town of 58,000 and will be expanding rapidly in the coming decade. It is at the heart of a conurbation with a current population of over 74,000. Since the change in flight paths Gatwick had received a 550% increase in complaints mostly from Tunbridge Wells. The health and wellbeing of residents is at risk through jet fuel emissions and the effects of sleep deprivation and intrusive aircraft noise when awake. An important characteristic of the town is the 300 acres of parks and commons, ‘countryside within a town’. Aircraft noise destroys the tranquility and purpose of these amenities. It may well begin to erode Tourism which contributes 30% to the town’s economy.
Gaining support from local residents.
Engagement via Gatwick's Noise Management Board with the implementation process of the Arrivals Review Report's recommendations for westerly arrivals into Gatwick.
Lobbying local MP Greg Clark and local Councillors to stand up for Tunbridge Wells.
Liaising with other pressure groups fighting the Gatwick flight paths and arguing for noise mitigation.
We have brought TWAANG's Aims and Objectives described here up to date with our Constitution:
SHORT TERM AIMS UNTIL 2022 - post Arrivals Review recommendations
In essence, full and speedy implementation of the Arrivals Review recommendations.
Wide Swathe with the earliest joining point at 8nm* on the ILS and emulating as closely as possible the pre-2013 flight path distribution.
Continuous Descent Approaches from maximum height and at approximately 3 degrees, using a Low Power Low Drag (LPLD) configuration. This would result in additional height over the Tunbridge Wells conurbation and elsewhere.
Early modification of all A320 series aircraft using Gatwick, including those of EasyJet and British Airways, to stop the whine.
To support Tunbridge Wells representation at GATCOM and to represent Tunbridge Wells on the Noise Management Board.
Reduction in numbers of night flights and implementation of the earliest joining point for night flights at 8nm (currently at 10nm).
LONGER TERM AIMS – Precision Based Navigation (PBN). 2022 ONWARDS
Influence the design of flight paths to avoid the Tunbridge Wells conurbation including schools, hospitals and heritage sites. This is in line with current government aviation policy where it is recommended that flight paths should avoid densely populated areas wherever possible and minimise the number of people affected. It is also essential to ensure that the adverse environmental impact from airplanes, most particularly aircraft noise, it is given proper consideration.
Maximum Height, 5* (high standard) Continuous Descent Approaches (CDAs) and the Arrivals Review recommendations with respect to stacking over water and timed arrivals etc.
The number of night flights and the impact of these on the population of the Tunbridge Wells conurbation to be minimised.