LETTER: Campaign to stop airport expansion

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Our lives here (between Cowfold and Wineham) are already ruined by the changes in commercial aircraft flights which started this year and are not in any way helped by the flight departure trials ending that have been so bad for Rusper and Warnham.

There are radical changes that seem to have been sneaked past the public radar because of the outrageousness of the trials.

Now the trials have stopped many people have a sense of relief, but here we are still woken every morning by the screaming of low aircraft going endlessly round a stack which stretches from Cowfold nearly down to Barcombe taking in Henfield, Hassocks, Hurstpierpoint, and Bolney along the way and from this stack they leave at any point, cut across the middle and trawl over the countryside to join the arrivals routes, so deafening West Grinstead and Shipley amongst other places.

The easterly arrivals route has also quite apparently shifted to the south of the A272 towards Billingshurst. This means aircraft go over every two minutes at times (in addition to stacking for us) newly affecting all the villages along this route.

It looks like it is not going to change so the peace of these rural areas is also ruined, and planned increases in passenger numbers will only make this worse. This did not happen last year.

As winter comes, although there may be less aircraft, there is nothing to dampen the noise. We don’t hear the roads here, and the leaves will have lost their muffling effect so the new noise will be even more inescapable.

On the of September 3 there were six aircraft going round the stack simultaneously and sometimes four above each other. They are only separated by 1,000ft in altitude, the noise carries together, and the bottom one is by necessity very low.

Sometimes when the noise keeps me awake after midnight I have sat up and watched the aircraft stacking on the internet tracker, both on this stack here and the other near Heathfield, yet little seems to be actually landing at Gatwick.

So what are the air traffic controllers trying to do? Can they not handle the schedules? In the consultation they talk of fuel efficiency yet the stacks are obviously just throwing fuel away and polluting this area of rural Sussex disproportionately.

I don’t know what the statistics are on increased aircraft numbers, but this year it has all changed and greater profit is undoubtedly the motive.

I have never been a campaigner until now but I cannot let this area be ruined in this way and would urge anybody else affected by it to campaign to stop all Gatwick expansion at any cost.


Moatfield Lane, Cowfold