NMB 27 June 2018

Gatwick Noise Management Board 11
27th June 2018

The key points from the recent Gatwick Noise Management Board meeting were as follows:

  1. Reduced Night Noise Trial

Once again, the major discussion point at NMB 11 was the proposed Reduced Night Noise Trial. It was clear that community group feedback from NMB 10 and the follow-on workshop held on 23rd May, had been considered as Gatwick presented their latest proposal which critically now included an increase in the number of proposed trial routes to 4 on each side of the airport.

The increase in P-RNAV routes goes some way to addressing our primary concern of increased flight concentration. On that basis, and taking account of the additional feedback received, Community Groups indicated that they were minded to support the proposed RNN trial, subject to further clarification on a number of conditions. These conditions were provided to Gatwick shortly after NMB 11 and a further meeting was held on 10th July to discuss them in more detail along with Gatwick’s initial responses. Discussions centred on 4 key points:

  • equitable allocation of arrival traffic across the 4 P-RNAV routes
  • tightening of the success criteria to include an appropriate noise metric
  • compensation to be payable should the trial routes be used on a permanent basis
  • support for inclusion of an initiative within the NMB’s 2019 work plan to determine the benefits/dis-benefits of reducing the night time ILS join from 10 to 8nm.

Gatwick agreed to provide a formal response to the points raised which we now await.

  1. Fair and Equitable Dispersal

At NMB 11 NATS confirmed they had once again looked at what they could do to deliver a more equitable distribution of arrival traffic. Sadly, the answer was nothing!!

Having received commitments to replicate the pre-2013 swathe as part of the Arrivals Review and, more recently, been encouraged to agree the 2011 arrival swathe as a suitable target distribution, we are now being told that Fair and Equitable Dispersal, within the current radio vectoring environment, is effectively “dead” and that the only way to provide effective FED is via the introduction of multiple P-RNAV routes. Not only will P-RNAV routes increase concentration, they will only be introduced as part of the broader UK Airspace Review (LAMP2) which is only due for implementation in 2024. Consequently, there are now no initiatives (live or proposed) to deliver an FED solution which has been the primary goal for Community Groups. This situation is hugely disappointing, a point that we made very clear at the meeting. 

  1. Noise Action Plan 

Gatwick’s 5-year Noise Action Plan continues to go through the required review and approval process. At NMB 11 Community Groups highlighted that the plan, as currently drafted, failed to meet Defra guidance, which requires it (amongst other things) to quantify the reduction in people impacted by noise as a result of the measures within the plan. Sadly, GATCOM, who have final responsibility for ensuring community comments/concerns are reflected, expressed only mild disappointment at the lack of such targets, but otherwise supported the plan. Worse still, the NMB leadership showed no interest in the Noise Action Plan, particularly concerning given this plan details what Gatwick will do to reduce noise over the next 5 years.

  1. Airport Growth v Noise Reduction 

Having attended a number of bilateral meetings with the Gatwick executive Community Groups had understood that Gatwick had committed to provide a firm, “fair and balanced” proposition as regards the historic and future relationship between the airport’s growth and its noise impacts. Once again, NMB leadership showed no appetite to become involved in such a debate, deeply concerning given Gatwick’s recent announcement regarding a £1.1bn investment in airport infrastructure which will result in a 16% increase in passenger numbers. Gatwick have given no thought as to how this investment can be delivered in a manner designed to ensure a “fair and balanced” relationship between growth and noise. In addition, the Department of Transport, as regulator, is unlikely to become involved unless we or our MPs apply significant pressure.

  1. Departures

The output from the Departures Workshop held on 23rd May was discussed. It was agreed that Departures related activity needed to be given higher priority and that this would be reflected in the 2019/20 Work plan. I will ensure that those departure routes impacting PAGNE members are fully considered and suitably prioritised as the work plan is developed.

  1. 2019/20 Workplan 

The planned CDO workshop, scheduled for 22nd August, is to be postponed and replaced with a workshop to discuss proposals, options and rationale for noise reduction measures and priorities for the NMB’s 2019/20 Work plan.

The next Noise Management Board Meeting (NMB 12) is scheduled for 26th September.

Atholl Forbes

Chairman PAGNE