There are the three main political parties standing locally in Tunbridge Wells and here is what is in their manifestos:
Conservatives “Parliament has voted in principle to support a third runway at Heathrow, but it is a private sector project. It is for Heathrow to demonstrate that it can meet its air quality and noise obligations, that the project can be financed and built and that the business case is realistic. The scheme will receive no new public money. More broadly, we will use new air traffic control technology to cut the time aircraft spend waiting to land, reducing delays, noise nuisance and pollution. We will also build on Britain’s pioneering work in electric and low-carbon flight”. (p28) To download the whole document click HERE.
Labour “Labour recognises the Davies Commission’s assessment of pressures on airport capacity in the South East. Any expansion of airports must pass our tests on air quality, noise pollution, climate change obligations and countrywide benefits. We will examine fiscal and regulatory options to ensure a response to the climate crisis in a way that is fair to consumers and protects the economy.” (p21) To download the whole document click HERE.
Liberal Democrats "We will reduce the climate impact of flying by reforming the taxation of international flights to focus on those who fly the most, while reducing costs for those who take one or two international return flights per year, placing a moratorium on the development of new runways (net) in the UK, opposing any expansion of Heathrow, Gatwick or Stansted and any new airport in the Thames Estuary, and introducing a zero-carbon fuels blending requirement for domestic flights" (from Clean and Green section). To download the whole document click HERE.
Our thanks go to Rusthall Parish Council for making a successful request for a noise monitoring station.
Among other things, this seems likely to be useful during the Reduced Night Noise trial due to start in March 2020.
Here is a screen shot showing an arrivals flight overflying the station and creating a considerable noise (61dB) in doing so just before 7:30 in the morning.
The shot also shows how the proposed housing development at Ramslye is overflown by arrivals heading for Rusthall, where the number of flights during Westerly winds (historically 70% of the time) is at its peak in the arrivals swathe.
We remain very concerned about the management of arrivals, especially during the late evening and into the night. When this is combined with concentration the effect for those on the ground can be very disturbing.
A TWAANG supporter with a young family drew our attention to the concentration of flights over Tunbridge Wells around 10:00pm on Monday 17th June. The screen image below shows the reason for her concern - and it only shows part of the evening. The lowest of these flights was about 3,400ft above ground, some others were not much higher. We note that three of the eleven flights here had infringed Gatwick's rules for good arrivals practice (the icons circled in yellow); CDO violation. No evidence of Fair and Equitable Distribution (FED) here.
TUNBRIDGE WELLS SKIES UNDER FURTHER THREAT Gatwick’s Master Plan 2018
Gatwick are planning for an additional 50,000 flights by the summer of 2025, and by 2028 to expand flights by up to 30% (over 80,000) and passenger numbers by 40%.
These proposals have serious implications for the whole area surrounding the airport. Particular issues for Tunbridge Wells and the surrounding area include:
More flights make more delays likely, causing arrivals to spill over even more into the night period than at present.
When there are more flights it pushes arrivals Eastwards over the densely populated town. With Gatwick’s plans this would get even worse.
Aircraft are getting quieter, but only very slowly and it is the frequency of overflights that people find most upsetting. More flights means greater frequency throughout the day.
Attempts to distribute arrivals more widely have failed, and future air traffic management technology will create greater concentration - all the worse the more flights there are.
Gatwick’s Draft Master Plan 2018 is a sales brochure for their expansion plans, the claims made in it need to be considered with care.
You can download the Consultation document and full Plan by clicking HERE.
For those living around Gatwick and disturbed by its activities things can only get worse with Gatwick’s increasing activity, which makes it doubly important that Community Groups such as TWAANG continue to hold Gatwick to account robustly and challenge it to do all it can to mitigate the adverse effects of its activities.
The French infrastructure company Vinci has just announced that it is buying a 50.01% stake in Gatwick Airport (GAL) for £2.9 billion from the previous majority stakeholder, Global Infrastructure Partnership (GIP). The figure paid is less than had been anticipated (£6-10 billion for the whole business) so it seems that the limitations of the airport are being recognised.
The new owners talk about growing the airport and have made no mention of its environmental impact. This is a matter for concern.