Protest groups team up to fight Gatwick proposals

First published in News

Residents' pressure group Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions (CAGNE) has joined forces with a Kent protest group in its fight against new flight paths and a second runway being built at the airport.

CAGNE has teamed up with homeowners who were formerly the Bidborough Environmental Action Group.

The move has broadened the front of village and parish groups opposed to what CAGNE has called “the Gatwick Superhighway.”

CAGNE formed up earlier this year out of residents angered by the start of six-month trials of new flight paths at Gatwick, which saw many of them suddenly being overflown by aircraft.

A release from CAGNE stated: “A group of residents, formerly the Bidborough Environmental Action Group, will become CAGNE East, in an effort to stop new flight paths.

“The Gatwick Superhighway of planes will fly day and night over historic areas of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, most of Tunbridge Wells and Southborough, Bidborough, Rusthall, Penshurst, Chiddingstone and Hever.”

Simon Byerley of CAGNE East, said: “Gatwick Airport plan to place a constant stream of low flying planes over historic sites and many homes that have not suffered aircraft noise before, and this is all before a second runway, which would bring additional damage to these areas.”

CAGNE chairman Sally Pavey said: “By working together we aim to raise community awareness of what is planned by Gatwick Airport, not only through the current changes to flight paths, but how a new runway will alter the Home Counties forever.”

While CAGNE was primarily formed to protest at the flight path trials over areas of West Sussex not previously overflown, affecting residents in Warnham, Rusper, Kingsfold, Winterfold, Rowhook, Slinfold and North Horsham, CAGNE East extends the area of opposition.

The group stated: “CAGNE East strongly supports the High Weald Parish Councils Aviation Action Group (HWPCAAG) initiative - the alliance of the parish councils across East Sussex and West Kent who oppose Gatwick’s bid for a second runway.

“Both CAGNE and CAGNE East are also working very closely with Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC), a volunteer group that has opposed Gatwick expansion since 1968.”

GACC chairman Brendon Sewill said: “GACC is continuing to lead the battle to protect the environment around Gatwick, opposing the outrageous plans of Gatwick Airport for new flight paths and a second runway.”

Mr Sewill of Stan Hill, Charlwood, said: “We are delighted to have two new protest groups from the West and East working with us as members of GACC, but bringing new strength to the battle in their own areas.”

Regarding the second runway issue, Gatwick was included in the Airports Commission’s short-list of potential locations for the next runway in the UK, published last December. Gatwick Airport Limited (GAL) held a public consultation on its proposals, which it said would be used to refine the plans for the second runway, and help it decide which option to put forward for further consideration by the Airports Commission. GAL submitted its proposals to the Airports Commission in May.

Speaking at the time, a Gatwick Airport spokesman said the public consultation had made it clear that the plans were a “work in progress,” that figures would be refined as more detailed options were worked up, as required by the Airports Commission, that a report of consultation for submission to the Airports Commission would be prepared next month, taking account of local people’s views raised during the consultation, and that a formal consultation will be run by the Commission later this year, giving local people the opportunity to submit their views. He said: “Further consultations will also take place if Gatwick is selected as the location for a new runway.” The three second runway options GAL is consulting on are: Option 1 - a new runway 585m south of the existing runway, Option 2 - a new runway 1,045m to the south, and Option 3 – a new runway also 1,045m to the south, but with the two runways being used independently. Under Options 1 or 2, one runway would used for landings and the other for take-offs. Under Options 2 or 3, a new terminal would also be built between the runways. Gatwick has established Option 3 as the preferred first choice. The Airports Commission focused on this option for last December’s Interim Report, describing it as offering “the greatest increase in capacity while still having relatively low environmental and noise impacts compared with some other potential sites.” It continued: “The Commission will, however, keep this under review as it takes forward more detailed development and appraisal.

“The proposal also includes related new terminal facilities and taxiways between the new and existing runways.” Website: www.cagne.org, cagne.east@gmail.com , www.gacc.org.uk and www.gatwickairport.com/consultation

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