Report on Penshurst Parish Council’s Involvement with Airport Consultations and other related matters.
High Weald Parish Councils’ Airport Action Group (HWPCAAG)
Since the autumn of last year Penshurst Parish Council has been at the forefront with Chiddingstone, Hever and Leigh parish councils in the creation of a combined action group which has given all councils a larger voice to fight the over-development of Airspace in West Kent and East Sussex and the resulting nuisance from excessively noisy aircraft, night flights and the over-development of Gatwick Airport. This committee is expanding on a monthly basis with new members and representatives from other councils and action groups . Attendees at monthly strategy meetings will include the original four councils and the following: Bidborough Parish Council, Bidborough Environ. Action Group, Chiddingstone Castle, Dormansland Parish Council, Gatwick Airport Conservation Campaign, Kent Couty Council, Sevenoaks District Council, Sevenoaks Weald Parish Council, Speldhurst Parish Council, Tunbridge Wells Borough Council and Weald Action Group Against Noise (inc: Riverhill House.) and others.
Our parish council is also a member of Gatwick Airport Conservation Campaign (GACC), an action group that has played a leading role in the AirPort Watch Campaign, against airport expansion and the effects on people, the environment and infrastructure sustainability.
The parish council has made powerful arguments to the AIRPORTS COMMISSION against locating the Second Multi-hub runway in the South East, against Noise and Night Flights Consultations, against the LONDON AIRSPACE MANAGEMENT PROGRAMME and the follow-up LONDON AIRSPACE CHANGE – GATWICK LOCAL AREA CONSULTATION, Issue 1, May 2014. In this final consultation, to which we are now requesting Penshurst residents to engage, the council opening comments in response are unequivocal:
Firstly, we are extremely concerned at the proposal to narrow the current swathe within which arrivals for RWY 26 are channelled. Narrowing the swathe will intensify the frequency with which our community is subjected to the nuisance of over-flying. It is inequitable, unjust and unnecessary to concentrate flights over any community within the current broader swathe. We challenge the rationale for the changes, including the notion of CO2 emission savings. Whilst the impact on our community, being within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is already significant, we believe that all communities in the area should continue to share the burden of overflight in the same way as they do today.
Secondly, we have concerns as to the implementation of the “consultation” process to date. In our view, the stated purpose and formula for fair consultation have been ignored. Vital information was not provided to stakeholders at the time their views were sought. Responses from stakeholders have been substantially ignored, particularly in relation to the overwhelming desire of respondents to continue with the broad swathe approach to ensure that one community and environment is not unfairly blighted by aircraft noise.
Any process which does not clearly and openly provide relevant information, seek stakeholder’s input in a straightforward and easily comprehensible way, and then act upon the majority views of stakeholders cannot validly be considered a “consultation”.
…….. Penshurst Parish Council, July 2014
Engagement with Members of Parliament
The Council will approach local MPs on issues that affect Penshurst’s residents. More recently, in the focus on the latest Gatwick Airport Consultations, Sir John Stanley has kept the council fully informed of correspondence between himself and Patrick McLoughlin, Secretary of State for Transport and related issues and acknowledged PPC’s ongoing support and involvement with Gatwick Airport action groups.
The council is also making direct representation to Gatwick Airport and airlines on the disturbing airframe whine of the Airbus
A 319/320/321 series of aircraft which affects us all in the High Weald. Please view the PPC minutes where matters are fully reported.
Michael Knowles July 2014hurst