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15 October 2013, 11:00
Residents living near Gatwick Airport which is one of the UK's busiest airports could be getting some respite from aircraft noise as part on a new 14 week consultation.
Plans about possible changes to the airspace ``motorway network'' around Gatwick Airport in West Sussex were published for consultation today by the owners of Gatwick and air traffic control company The National Air Traffic Service. Find out more here
The changes could mean less noise for residents, with aircraft climbing higher and more quickly on take-off and staying higher for longer when landing.
The changes could reduce the need for so much stacking - where planes circle while waiting for a landing slot - and could also put more routes over the sea where possible.
The changes could also mean fewer aircraft CO2 emissions and fuel savings for airlines.
After consultation ends on January 21 2014, the plans will be followed by airspace proposals for the areas around other London airports. Today's consultation is the first stage in a wider programme of proposed changes to deliver the UK's Future Airspace Strategy (FAS) developed by the Civil Aviation Authority.
Juliet Kennedy, Nats operations director at the company's Swanwick headquarters in Hampshire, said: ``The airspace change programme is essential if we are to contribute to and ensure the success of the UK's FAS. The airspace above London is the most complex in the world and, as traffic levels increase, change is necessary to ensure safety and service levels.''
Tom Denton, head of corporate responsibility at Gatwick, said: ``Gatwick is committed to leading the way in terms of airspace innovation and operation, which is why we were so keen to be the first major UK airport to work with Nats to fully review and consult on our airspace.''
He went on: ``Gatwick's noise impacts are already well mitigated and significantly lower than at other major airports. However, the airport continues to look at ways to further reduce the number of people affected by aircraft noise in line with Government policy.
``This project gives us an opportunity to further reduce the number of people affected by noise, as well as focus on further reducing CO2 emissions and air-quality impacts. Therefore this is an important time for local people and those who live within our flight paths, who now have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to give their feedback and influence the future of our airspace.''