Action groups slam airspace management and air traffic control arrangements

Action groups slam airspace management and air traffic control arrangements

Airspace management and air traffic control arrangements are unacceptable and undemocratic, a collective of action groups covering London City airport, Gatwick and Heathrow claim.

They have come together for the first time today to lobby the Department for Transport in opposition to airspace changes they say are affecting tens of thousands of people’s lives.

They are demanding that government policy be changed to minimise the impact of aircraft noise on residents.

The new protest comes ahead of the Airports Commission announcing which of three shortlisted options should be adopted for airport expansion in the southeast of England.

The campaign groups fear that a Europe-wide programme to make more effective use of airspace will result in excessive concentration of aircraft along selected routes with no consideration for the impact the changes have on health and wellbeing of residents.

Gatwick and London City have been earmarked as first in line for the changes. Heathrow is expected to have its changes in place by 2019 with the rest of the country by 2020.

Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign chairman, Brendon Sewill, said: “We can not see how any airport expansion can go forward with the anger that is being vented at all airport operators due to the current airspace changes.

“All the protest groups coming together should send a clear message to the government that residents are fed up with being ignored and that they will not be disregarded.”

Helen Hansen, of Heathrow community group Communities Against Increased Aircraft Noise, added: "Many of us affected by Heathrow have already had our lives turned upside down by new flight procedures introduced without consultation, exposing us to periods of over 17 hours a day of unrelenting and intolerable concentrated flight noise.

“It's time to put human health and wellbeing before profits for airlines and airports, by instituting proper regulatory safeguards to minimise aircraft noise over heavily populated areas."

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