LETTER: Put protest date in your diaries

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There was a widespread collective sigh of relief when Gatwick ended its unannounced ‘ADNID’ flight-path trial last month.

The six month trial had brought unrelenting and inescapable aircraft noise and poisonous engine exhaust fumes to thousands of people in homes, businesses and schools never before over-flown.

Alas, that relief was short lived for now it appears Gatwick has embarked on a new set flight-paths which are only marginally less intrusive and harmful. Instead of departures being dispersed within agreed Noise Preferential Routes (NPRs), as they were before the ADNID trial, Precision Based Navigation (PBN) is being used to concentrate flight paths within the NPRs. People are suffering more noise and air pollution from aircraft using the routes, one after the other, relentlessly, hour after hour after hour.

In other countries PBN is used to avoid over-flying people but Gatwick are using it to get more aircraft into the sky more quickly (and more profitably for them) and to make ready for a second runway.

There has been no intelligible information from Gatwick, no research, no data, no evidence and no reasonable justification for making flight-path changes. We can only wonder what further assaults Gatwick intend to impose on us.

We do know that Gatwick want to build a second runway in order to increase the frequency of flights and to triple the number of passenger throughputs. Believe it or not, Gatwick aims to be bigger than Heathrow, vying with Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International to be the biggest passenger airport in the world! The resulting local noise and air pollution, and road and rail congestion, do not bear thinking about. Nor does the prospect of housing the 40,000+ extra migrant and immigrant workers and their families which West Sussex County Council has enthusiastically estimated would be required.

At the same time there is more than enough existing airport capacity across the country, including, for example, 35 per cent at Gatwick (according to Gatwick!), 50 per cent at Stansted and 100 per cent at Manston (closed in May despite a local campaign to keep it open).

Why then does Gatwick (which is wholly foreign owned) want to increase the frequency of flights and to expand? Could it be that Gatwick’s only interest is to continue to increase and export its profits, and avoid corporation tax – as it has done for the last three consecutive years despite making £638m in profit before tax?

GACC is a organising a meeting on Saturday, 22 November (afternoon) to protest about the latest flight paths and to express opposition to a new second Gatwick runway. Details will be announced later. In the meantime readers may wish to put the date in their diaries and ask their friends and neighbours to do so. Readers can also obtain general information, help and guidance from www.gacc.org.uk ; www.cagne.org and www.gatwickobviously.com

It is high time national and local governments and businesses owners put people and the planet first, and helped counter the ever widening gap in social equality.

C Morris

Tennyson Close, Horsham