When putting the case for Gatwick expansion over Heathrow in a recent BBC interview, Gatwick CEO Stewart Wingate said his planes were flying ‘mostly over fields.”
What Mr Wingate actually meant to say was that Gatwick’s planes fly over a number of designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB’s) including the Ashdown Forest, described as ‘an ancient area of tranquil open heathland’ in various Tourist brochures. He also forgot to mention some densely populated villages and towns under Gatwick flight paths such as Edenbridge, Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells as well as many other places to the west of his existing airport runway in Surrey.
According to Mr Wingate and the various reports in the media from Gatwick just 14,000 people would be affected by noise from Gatwick’s planes in the event of a second runway. Strangely, the population of Crawley alone, which sits right next to the airport, has a population of 106,597 and more houses are being built. Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells, around 20 miles East of Gatwick and with similar population density have planes typically flying overhead at noise levels over 60dB – every single one more than loud enough to disturb someones sleep,
And with well over TEN THOUSAND NIGHT FLIGHTS to Gatwick per year, Tunbridge Wells already has more night flights concentrated over it than any other major residential area in the country.
A decent night’s sleep anyone? (Or should I say descent?)