LETTER: Request flightpath trial is stopped

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Your letters

Your readers will be aware that a great deal of concern has been generated locally by the experimental changes made to flight paths in the vicinity of Gatwick Airport.

Through your paper I wanted to let your readers (especially those living in the areas most affected by the change) know that I have written to the Civil Aviation Authority, NATS and Gatwick Airport Limited to express concern about the trial flight path changes that were introduced in February.

Without apparently any notice to residents, the flight pattern at Gatwick Airport was changed.

The change in the route has resulted in aircraft flying very close to some urban areas around Horsham and in particular the villages of Warnham and Slinfold.

There has been a flood of letters to me, other councillors and staff at Horsham District Council complaining about aircraft noise.

Unfortunately, while we can certainly make strong representations about this matter, the government has not given us any statutory powers to stop it happening.

One might have assumed that the existing noise complaint helpline at the airport would be the means to measure any increased disturbance but I ask is this system adequate and of an independent and unbiased nature?

I understand that the flight path trial is thought necessary to test increased airspace capacity and efficiency.

However, the trial was supposed to work practically and seems from the criticisms to have been poorly worked out.

It is claimed that the revised flight path may result in less residential properties being overflown but we need to see the evidence to support this.

In my letter I have made it clear that residents are most concerned and have requested that this trial is stopped immediately as it is causing unnecessary disturbance and may affect their health.

Cllr Claire Vickers

Cabinet Member for Living and Working Communities, Horsham District Council