TUNBRIDGE WELLS SKIES UNDER FURTHER THREAT Gatwick’s Master Plan 2018
Gatwick is staging an Exhibition at the Royal Victoria Place Shopping Centre, Tunbridge Wells, on Saturday 10 November, 11:00am to 5:00pm on Level 2 (near Boots)
Gatwick are holding this exhibition as part of their consultation process, to present their Master Plan for development of the airport over the next 10-15 years.
Gatwick are planning for an additional 50,000 flights by the summer of 2025, and by 2028 to expand flights by up to 30% (over 80,000) and passengers by 40%.
These proposals have serious implications for the whole area surrounding the airport. Particular issues for Tunbridge Wells and the surrounding area include:
More flights make more delays likely, causing arrivals to spill over even more into the night period than at present.
When there are more flights it pushes arrivals Eastwards over the densely populated town. With Gatwick’s plans this would get even worse.
Aircraft are getting quieter, but only very slowly and it is the frequency of overflights that people find most upsetting. More flights means greater frequency throughout the day.
Attempts to distribute arrivals more widely have failed, and future air traffic management technology will create greater concentration - all the worse the more flights there are.
We hope that as many people as possible will visit the exhibition and ask searching questions.
There are feedback facilities at the exhibition but we suggest that you wait before responding. When you are ready, the Feedback Questionnaire can be accessed from the following link: ipsos.uk/draftmasterplan
The consultation is open until 5pm on 10 January 2019.
For more information and our more detailed comments as well as information from other Community Groups, click HERE or select the NEWS tab, above.
Earlier this year the frustration and disappointment of the Community Noise Groups' (CNGs) representatives on the NMB reached the point where they sent a letter of no confidence to Sir Roy McNulty, Deputy Chair of Gatwick (GAL) and Stewart Wingate, CEO, with copies to the Minister for Aviation and local MPs.
Key expectations raised by the original Arrivals Review were not being met, and the lack of progress on the crucial balance between Growth and Noise finally tipped the balance.
Given the newly disclosed Gatwick Master Plan for expansion, the need for a balance between Growth and Noise is now heavily underlined.
The Review of the NMB’s constitution has been brought forward and should be completed by the Gatwick public meeting on 5 December. For more details click HERE or select the NMB tab, above.
Ed Crutchley has previously prepared reports reviewing the progress with the recommendations contained in the Arrivals Review of 2016, and we have published them here on our Web site. They are always helpful and informative.
You can read his 2018 report under the COMMENT tab, above, or click HERE
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 new draft 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.