Second Runway at Gatwick
As Chair of the action group of local MPs and civil society against expansion of Gatwick Airport, the Gatwick Coordination Group formed in 2014, Crispin has led the opposition to plans for a second runway at Gatwick, which would be a disaster for local communities.
Crispin welcomed the decision made by the Government in October 2016 to implement the recommendation of the independent Airports Commission for a new runway at Heathrow, which is best able to serve as a national and international aviation hub and is well-served by transport links and a local labour force. A new runway at Gatwick, on the other hand, would have overwhelmed the already overburdened transport infrastructure, would have required thousands of workers to move into the region, putting further strain on local infrastructure and housing, and would yield far less economic gain for the country as a whole. The Gatwick Coordination Group set out its objections to the Gatwick proposal in its response to the Airports Commission’s consultation in January 2015.
The Gatwick Coordination Group will continue to monitor the implementation of the Government’s decision and oppose any moves to resurrect the second runway plans. Crispin hopes that Gatwick Airport can now focus on re-establishing good relations with its neighbours and supporting local business and rail infrastructure improvements.
The implementation of Precision Area Navigation (PRNAV) on departures from Gatwick Airport in late 2013 has caused unremitting noise disturbance for communities overflown. The new technology has concentrated flights along narrow lines and has reduced dispersal.
Crispin is seeking dispersal of aircraft within the Noise Preferential Route and a new approach to designing airspace changes in close consultation with local communities.
Aircraft flying Route 4 (westerly departures which turn to fly eastwards) had been straying outside the Noise Preferential Route affected residents in southern parts of Reigate and Redhill. After much effort to get a commitment for the route to be amended, the route was changed in May 2016. However, the route is still highly concentrated, causing intolerable noise pollution for those underneath it. Crispin is calling for the route to be returned to the pattern of flights prior to the implementation of PRNAV. Route 3 (easterly departures turning to fly westwards) are concentrated on a line more northerly than the previous route.
Crispin wants the regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority, to work with Gatwick Airport on new designs and for a full review to be conducted. The technology can be used to create greater dispersal, for example, through multiple routes which could be alternated to give residents respite. He has also met the Aviation Minister, Lord Ahmad, to relay the concerns of residents and to seek a new solution. Crispin has secured a commitment from Government for a revision of national guidance, which currently tends to favour concentrated flight paths, and the Government will be coming forward soon with proposals for a new aviation noise policy, which will strengthen consultation with and input from local communities. Crispin will continue to press for better national policy, but wants to see local solutions found sooner.