Residents argue against aircraft ‘beelining’ over Coneyhurst

Coneyhurst Concern Group say no to beelining in response to Gatwick Airport consultation (submitted).
Coneyhurst Concern Group say no to beelining in response to Gatwick Airport consultation (submitted).

Aircraft ‘beelining’ over Coneyhurst on their way into Gatwick would create a ‘major problem’ for residents living there if it were introduced.

Coneyhurst Concern Group has raised several issues in response to Gatwick Airport’s consultation on departure routes which closed earlier this month including the ‘incomprehensible’ consultation document, the way the number of people affected by aircraft noise is measured, and the merits of dispersing not concentrating aircraft.

The hamlet between Coolham and Billingshurst is currently affected by planes flying over it to land at Gatwick, but residents fear that the countryside peace they currently enjoy could be shattered if the flight paths are narrowed as has happened elsewhere.

Martin Spurrier, speaking on behalf of the group of around 100 people, felt that allowing Performance Based Navigation to make planes travel on a single track, or to ‘beeline’ would be unfair to those affected.

He said: “Concentrating flights not dispersing them would be a problem for us.

“We have planes going over but they are spread out. If they were concentrated into one beeline it would go right over us to avoid Billingshurst.”

The group has also objected to population count being used as the sole metric to measure those affected by aircraft noise, as background ambient noise is higher in urban communities compared to those in the countryside.

Mr Spurrier explained that the noise of a plane flying over his house was 60-70 decibels, compared to the average background ambient noise of 45-50 decibels in a town.

He said: “Just to make population the sole criteria which is what Gatwick confirmed we believe is wrong and should be reviewed.”

Residents have also argued against any proposal to reduce the separation time between planes taking off in the south westerly direction from the current two minutes, down to one minute.

Lastly the group has raised concerns over the 124-page consultation document itself, which Mr Spurrier said was ‘incomprehensible at one read’, ‘ridiculously confusing’, and filled with jargon and acronyms. They have written to Prime Minister David Cameron calling for an investigation into the consultation.

Earlier this month Tom Denton, head of corporate responsibility at Gatwick, said: “Gatwick will carefully review all of this information to ensure we put forward the best solution for as many people as possible, in line with Government policy to reduce the number of people impacted by aircraft noise overall.”