Published on : Saturday, January 11, 2014
NATS, the UK’s leading provider of air traffic services, and Gatwick are nearing completion of a joint consultation on proposed airspace changes, and local people are being asked for their input to help shape the design of routes for the future.
This input could be on noise sensitive sites such as open areas prized for their quietness or noise sensitive industries – specifically any place which could be affected if aircraft were to fly directly over it. Stakeholders are also being asked for their views on how to balance limiting CO2 emissions with noise, as avoiding some places means flying longer routes that produce more CO2.
This information will be used to help establish new routes which offer the most benefit with the least possible impact, with a particular focus on reducing the impact of aircraft noise. However, both NATS and Gatwick are warning people living and working in the consultation areas that while some may not notice a change in flight numbers and some may actually see a reduction in flight numbers, others may experience a significant increase in aircraft flying overhead.
Those who could experience more noise and more flights overhead may be offered some ‘respite’ – periods when there will be no flights directly overhead. This could be at certain times of the day or days of the week – all suggestions both for locations and timings are welcome.
Airspace above the south of England is some of the busiest in the world. This consultation is the first stage in a wider programme of proposed changes to deliver the UK’s Future Airspace Strategy (FAS), which will be legally required to come into effect in 2020. Gatwick is the first major airport to consult on all levels of its airspace and all other airports will be required to follow suit.
Tom Denton, Head of Corporate Responsibility at London Gatwick, said: “Aircraft have to fly somewhere, so we really need local people to look around their communities, imagine the impacts of being overflown more than today, and feedback on sites and businesses this could have a detrimental impact on.
”Even if you are already overflown by aircraft now, you could find that once the lines are drawn onto maps you be affected more, and that is why we really need local people’s help to ensure new routes have the least impact possible. This is the last opportunity to influence where aircraft may fly.”
Paul Haskins, General Manager of London Terminal Control, NATS, said: “In previous consultations, where we have drawn lines on the map, we have primarily received responses from people under them – who unsurprisingly have objected. We are consulting early in the process this time on swathes of airspace within which the routes will have to be positioned, and we are asking people to tell us what local information we should factor into designing final route positions.
“There will not be a second consultation following this as we are asking everyone to assume that a new route may go over them and respond on that basis. That is why it is imperative for people to give feedback on the consultation using the dedicated website as this is their chance to have a say.”
Launched on 15 October, the London Airspace Consultation (LAC) runs until 21 January 2014. It is available online for everyone to view, consider and leave feedback.
source: Gatwick Airport