LETTER: Quality of life in a pleasant area

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The reason for the increased flights over Warnham and areas further south-west is that Gatwick has decided, with NATS (the National Air Traffic Control service) to do a ‘trial’ of a new flight path. The aim of this is to get more planes off the runway at Gatwick, more quickly, so the airport (and the airlines) can make more money.

By getting some of the planes taking off from Gatwick to the south-west to diverge from the normal departures flight path, they can get the next plane off the runway a bit quicker, as they are not following close behind, with the dangers of wake vortex etc.

So the planes are turning left and heading off over Warnham, and villages that were previously not overflown have had their tranquility destroyed.

People are noticing planes’ noise due to the intensity of the planes, aircraft used not to be able to navigate terribly accurately. But now they have something akin to car satnav, called Precision Navigation (PRNaV) and with GPS (global positioning) they can fly a very accurate route, sticking to a track just 30 metres or so wide.

So the planes can all fly down the exact same line, while in the past they may have spread out over a kilometre width swathe, or wider.

The line on a map does not represent the noise impact and it has been recognised for some time that the 57 Leg noise contours are not a true indication of the noise residents suffer from very low aircraft.

It suits the air traffic controllers to have all the planes down one flight path, as it is then easier for them to control. Hence the concentration of flights but there is no research into the impact it has on those on the ground and from the mounting enquiries CAGNE and GACC are receiving it is very clear that people do not like it.

This system that Gatwick Airport seeks to initialise is nothing we in West Sussex have experienced before and it is done to increase the number of planes off a runway to profit Gatwick Airport not those on the ground. This is all done with no research to the impact concentrated vs dispersal has on those that have to live with the noise.

A report by The Government’s Air Transport White Paper (para 11.41) states ‘the airport operator will need to put in place a scheme to address the problem of generalised blight resulting from the runway proposal’. And The French University study and Hedonic index http://urbanisme.u-pec.fr/servlet/com.univ.collaboratif.utils.LectureFichiergw?ID_FICHIER=1259768690612 agree on how property prices are affected by aircraft noise.

The new Gatwick Airport flight path consultation (deadline 14th August) is for those affected up to 4,000ft, areas that have experienced planes before will be experiencing them at much higher heights, above 7,000ft and so the plane noise is far less intrusive to rural life.

Planes landing are far quieter and tend to be higher than those taking off from Gatwick Airport that will be nearly at full throttle and much lower. Gatwick Airport is 202 above sea level so making planes far lower than Gatwick Airport maps.

A new runway, according to Gatwick Airport, will provide 122,000 jobs needing just over 9,000 new houses. You can presume that the rest of the inward migrating workers will therefore be on the roads and rail networks alongside the anticipated 97,000,000 passengers with us residents.

This area has about two per cent unemployment at present with consultants working for WSCC, Crawley Borough Council and Gatwick Diamond Initiative putting the figure at 40,000 new houses required to accommodate a new runway.

Gatwick does not state what these 122,000 workers will be working as or how they come by this magical figure.

With a new runway come many new flight paths as Gatwick Airport seeks to be bigger than Heathrow Airport, that’s 265,000 passengers every day bigger than Heathrow.

This is not just about a strip of Tarmac on the ground; it is about the quality of life of residents that are used to tranquility and maintaining the foundation of a rural area which is a pleasure to reside in.

SALLY PAVEY

Mayes Lane, Warnham