Aviation Minister reveals official review of concentrated flight paths policy

The Aviation Minister has written to Crispin Blunt MP about concentrated flight paths, giving an assurance that the Government are considering ways to increase dispersal of flights to mitigate noise pollution.


Crispin Blunt wrote to Robert Goodwill MP last month about concerns with the implementation of “performance-based navigation” (PBN) on departure routes from Gatwick Airport. PBN is being rolled out across the world.  This is based on a policy of concentrating flight paths rather than dispersing them.


Local MPs have secured a promise to change PBN on the westerly departure, which has overflown Holmwood and southern Reigate and Redhill, to bring the route further south of population centres. However, the satellite-based technology will still mean flights being concentrated on a precise route, with unrelenting disturbance for those underneath it. This is also having an impact on easterly departures from Gatwick.


Crispin Blunt asked for stronger policy guidance from Government to ensure PBN is implemented in more intelligent ways than seen so far at Gatwick, to avoid the creation of “noise ghettos” by reducing concentration and maximising dispersal and by permitting multiple arrival and departure routes to give respite to local communities affected.


In his response, the Minister agreed that “It is extremely important that we listen to the concerns of communities on these matter” and that there is a perception that current guidance “disincentivises respite in all but exceptional cases”. Mr Goodwill gave an assurance that the Government will consider the issues raised and the need for appropriate guidance to achieve “solutions which are locally suitable when airspace changes must be made”.


Crispin Blunt said:

“I am pleased that Ministers have recognised that poor implementation of this flight technology can have a hugely negative impact on local communities affected by concentrated and persistent aircraft noise. The Government’s willingness to consider new guidance opens up the possibility of sharing the burden of noise through greater dispersal and use of respites. I stand ready to engage with Government to ensure we get fit-for-purpose guidance.”


See correspondence linked below.


Attachment Size
Crispin's letter to Aviation Minister 657.61 KB
Aviation Minister's reply 4.83 MB