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24 February 2014, 14:29 | Updated: 24 February 2014, 14:47
Villagers in Warnham have suddenly found themselves beneath a new flight path trial.
Since the 17th February the Parish of Warnham, West Sussex, has been bombarded by flights over head. From around 6am each morning the skies over Warnham are full of planes constantly flying overhead which has never been the case, and Warnham residents are very angry.
‘With no consultation we suddenly found ourselves under a constant flow of very noisy and low flying planes overhead. Warnham is not on the flight path’ said local residents Sally Pavey. ‘It was only on investigation did I find out that a new flight path trial was taking place without consulting us. We have rights to our rural life and what right has one commercial company to decide to destroy it.’
According to the Civil Aviation Authority the new flight path routes are to be tested for the next 6 months and they are powerless to stop them as the trial is sponsored by Gatwick Airport and NATS.
'My daughter suffers with Autism, Sensory Processing Disorder with severe stress and anxieties and any change to her surroundings has a huge impact on her. The sounds of the planes and the vibrations they cause going over the house have already had a massive impact on her. She feels scared and even petrified at times,' said Laura Standing of Warnham.
‘Warnham is a traditional and tranquil Sussex village, well-loved and well-kept by its residents and famous for its country walks, church, and historic pubs. This tranquility has suddenly been destroyed by the bombardment of low flying noisy planes’, said local resident Orla Constant. ‘Warnham has never been on the flight path and to suddenly find that Gatwick Airport is uni-laterally running a six-month trial overhead without consulting any of the local residents is quiet simply unbelievable’.
It is documented that those that live in a rural location suffer noise to a greater extent than those of an urban location.
According to the GACC report it is because the background noise is lower; and the expectation of peace and quiet is higher. This factor has for many years been acknowledged in the noise regulations for factories used by local authorities and contained in British Standard 4142.
Chairman Brendon Sewill of the GACC said, ‘GACC is concerned that the trial of the new flight path over Warnham is designed solely in order to get more aircraft off the Gatwick runway. It is intolerable that new misery and decline in house values should be caused just to create extra profit for the owners of Gatwick. There is no national need for this change - Stansted airport is operating at less than half its capacity.’
‘It’s like we were being bombed with only brief moments of rest bite when we can hear the bird song again’, said Sally Pavey.
As a large proportion of Warnham are elderly and do not have access to the Internet. A major concern as all the Gatwick Airport flight path consultations have only taken place on-line and so the elderly, and those without Internet, are discriminated against.
‘Working at our home yesterday, we felt bombarded by aircraft. The larger planes were low and the designated flight path seemed almost random,’ said Ms N Curtis.
‘Residents must complain to illustrate that they do not accept the new flight path nor the unbearable noise. The need to show that those that live in the rural areas do not want to have a new flight path over them especially as if Gatwick obtains a second runway it will be as busy as Heathrow is today. There is also a plan to introduce a new flight path system that gives the chosen route no rest bite which will mean all planes in and out of Gatwick will be on one route,’ said Sally.
The trial you are referring to is being run and managed by NATS. It is not a joint trial with Gatwick although clearly we are aware of it.
For your information, it is a six-month trial. As it is a trial it does not require a consultation or an airspace change proposal. It is also fully endorsed by the Civil Aviation authority.
I also wanted to flag that this is not connected to the trial Gatwick and NATS jointly ran end of last year/early this year which asked local people to give their views on noise sensitive sites in their areas to be used when large-scale airspace changes happen in the next few years (this is something happening across the UK and indeed Europe).