Reigate MP Crispin Blunt today welcomed the Government’s statement and consultations on airport capacity and airspace policy. The Airports National Policy Statement published as a draft today will lay the foundation for the new runway at Heathrow Airport so that the airport has the capacity to boost the UK’s national and international aviation connectivity.
Separately, the Government has launched a consultation on airspace policy, which will impact the way Gatwick Airport’s flights paths are designed and used. The Government plans to create an Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise to build trust in the way noise is taken into account when airspace decisions are made.
With the ongoing problem of concentrated departure flight paths from Gatwick Airport in mind, Crispin Blunt asked the Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling MP, to prioritise dispersal, saying in the Commons:
“The lethal combination of the new technology and very much more precise paths aircraft fly down with the Government’s current policy on concentration over dispersal is a lethal disaster for people who are right underneath those routes. It should be possible through the new technology to create an artificial degree of dispersal where that happened before under analogue systems… this is a very important issue to address for many, many constituents.”
Chris Grayling replied: “We’ll all very well aware of the issues around Gatwick Airport… My hope is that this consultation will lead to a system that will enable us to be much more careful about managing flight paths so that we can provide respite to communities… I think we will end up with a better system.”
Crispin Blunt will now study the details of the consultation closely and respond supporting a policy which maximises local community involvement in the design of flight paths. In the meantime, he continues to seek relief for residents affected by Gatwick’s ‘precision area navigation’ (PRNAV) departure routes.
Details of the consultations can be found here.