CAMPAIGNERS are cautiously optimistic after Gatwick released an action plan committing them to reducing aircraft noise.
Last week, Gatwick unveiled their long awaited response to the Independent Arrivals Review, which detailed 23 recommendations airport bosses should take on board to reduce noise and disruption for communities.
On Thursday Gatwick confirmed it will take on all 23 recommendations, including a new independent Noise Management Board and a widening of the swathe from eight to 14 miles.
The swathe is the area planes enter when they are making their final approach to the airport, the widening of it was a key aim for campaigners as it could significantly reduce noise at ground level.
Martin Barraud, chairman of Gatwick Obviously Not said: “It is a very significant moment in the process.
“It makes all the work we have done along with thousands of others worthwhile and they have accepted all 23 recommendations.”
Mr Barraud emphasised “this is just the beginning” and the second stage for campaigners is to ensure Gatwick fully embrace the recommendations, in particular the widening of the swathe from 8 to fourteen miles.
“We need to make sure they utilise the swathe equitably and fairly,” he added.
Dominic Nevill, spokesman for East Sussex Communities for the Control of Air Noise (ESCCAN) said they welcomed the “positives from the Gatwick response” and hoped the recommendations “can all be translated into actions”.
Mr Nevill added this is only the start of the process, and the caveats placed on some of the recommendations must not hinder their progress.
Nus Ghani MP for Wealden, Greg Clark MP for Tunbridge Wells, Michael Fallon MP for Sevenoaks and Tom Tugendhat MP for Tonbridge and Malling have released a joint statement urging Gatwick to follow through on their promises.
“There is no doubt this is another significant step in the right direction and we are pleased that all the recommendations in the Independent Arrivals Review have been accepted by Gatwick.
“However, the fight is far from over and none of us will rest until these changes are made.
“In particular, terms such as ‘minded to’ and ‘subject to further discussions’ must not be get-outs from the clear recommendations.
“The four of us are united in our determination to see these proposals implemented without delay and we have asked to meet Gatwick Airport Limited, the CAA and NATS as soon as possible to press this case.”
Source: Kent and Gatwick Courier.