Angry residents protesting at the new Gatwick Airport flight path trial have formed a pressure group which they say has already got 300 members.
The group, Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions (CAGNE), started in the village of Warnham after the group said homeowners suddenly found themselves living under the flight path trial.
Now, less than two weeks after forming, CAGNE says it has a mailing list of more than 300 members.
It said it has received members from Rusper, Broadbridge Heath, Slinfold, Rowhook and North Horsham.
The group has attacked the six-month trial, saying during its duration, “Gatwick Airport is at its busiest and set to bring misery to thousands of homeowners at a time when they should be enjoying the outdoors.”
The flight path trials, which started on February 17, are being run by National Air Traffic Services (NATS), working with the airport.
Nationally, the flight path trials formulated by the Civil Aviation Authority, NATS and the aviation industry in response to a Transport Select Committee recommendation, have the aim of modernising the UK’s airspace structure through to 2030. CAGNE stated its resident members had suddenly found themselves under a flight path on February 17, the trial, it said, “having been forced over a number of parishes in West Sussex not previously affected or overflown by aircraft before.”
CAGNE chairman Sally Pavey said: “We seem powerless to stop these commercial organisations, Gatwick Airport and NATS, from destroying the quality of so many people’s home life.”
She said: “The trial has been badly designed as Gatwick Airport detail that it goes over farmland away from populated areas, whereas the truth is that it goes over populated villages and parishes - otherwise we would not be complaining.
“They seem to have missed that we live in elevated areas and so the planes are even closer than they state.”
The group said planes pass over Warnham at approximately 2,000ft and villagers have said they can be as frequent as every five minutes. Concerns have been raised for the health of the residents – particularly the elderly and disabled. Michael Brookes, resident of Warnham and treasurer and head of aviation for CAGNE, said: “Gatwick are not entering into the true spirit of reducing noise, unlike other European airports that endeavour to keep the noise to an absolute minimum over residential areas.”
He said: “I, and other aviation residents, see no reason for the trial as the system being tested is well-proven and the new flight path ill-conceived. “Aircraft already carry the technology being implemented and the NATS documentation for the trial does not even mention our parishes.”
Ms Pavey added: “I sincerely hope residents will be given the option of no new runway with the current Gatwick consultation, as I would not wish this noise misery on anyone.
“Gatwick do not seem willing to give residents new flight paths route maps that a new runway would demand, and you have to ask why?”
She said people wishing to join the CAGNE mailing list should email postal address and phone number details to: firstname.lastname@example.org CAGNE has set up an online petition at: http://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/stop-new-flight-paths-out-of-gatwick-airport A spokeswoman for Gatwick Airport said at the outset of the flight path trial: “The trial is part of the Future Airspace Strategy, a UK-wide programme looking at modernising airspace routes and improving the efficiency of airspace. “The departure route, which enables aircraft to climb more quickly after take-off, reduces the over-all number of people affected by aircraft noise and overflight.” .