Noise and environmental pollution from increased private jet traffic using Farnborough Airport

Petition to ensure a fair and inclusive post implementation review of airspace changes

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Background

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In 2010 Farnborough Airport gained permission to operate 50,000 movements (flights) a year. These are generally private/business jets used by ultra-high net worth individuals, celebrities, etc. Most flights operate to locations served by commercial flights. The growth of private jet traffic has resulted in a significant increase in noise, emissions and pollution for people living near the airport.

The airport operator requested that the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) implement controlled airspace around the airport as part of an Airspace Change Plan (ACP). This came into effect in February 2020 and the final stage of approving the ACP is a Post Implementation Review (PIR) to understand if the objectives of the ACP have been met. This was due to take place in March 2020, was put back to October 2021, and has been delayed again until February 2022.

   

  • The ACP has resulted in many more aircraft flying over some areas at much lower heights causing more noise and disturbance. Churt is one of these areas affected because the introduction of controlled airspace has introduced designated flightpaths for departures and arrivals, one of which overflies Churt.

  • Areas that were previously not (or hardly) overflown now have large numbers of aircraft overflying

  • Rural areas that are supposed to be protected from noise (National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty) are constantly overflown

  • The ACP has resulted in a deterioration in overall air safety, more people being overflown and greater emissions – exactly the opposite of what the ACP intended.

Issues not considered in the initial consultation

  

Three critical issues were not considered in the initial consultation, nor were many of the people impacted by the changes properly consulted:

  1. The Government is legally obliged under the Climate Change Act to reach net zero carbon by 2050. Growth of aviation is not consistent with this requirement.

  2. The World Health Organisation recently reduced the safe limit of pollution. Atmospheric pollution around the airport is double the safe level and sometimes four times the safe level.

  3. Covid-19 has shown the importance of peace and quiet on mental health and this is especially true with more people working from home and a growing 24hr service economy requiring more shift work where people need to be able to sleep at any time of the night and day.

 

Petition launched for the public to sign

   

In an effort to ensure that the post implementation review of the airspace changes encompasses a fair and balanced analysis which is inclusive of the views of the local people who are most affected, Colin Shearn has invited members of the public to sign a petition which is being sent to 7 MPs, including local MPs and Michael Gove. It demands the following from the CAA’s PIR:

  

  • Residents and local authorities that have been impacted by the changes are properly consulted on the full impact of the changes

  • Aircraft noise generated by both general aviation and Farnborough airport traffic is measured in areas where people are impacted. Not just within three miles of the airport

  • Aircraft noise is measured for all types of aircraft. Not just the jets operating in/out of Farnborough Airport but all the other aircraft displaced and flying at lower altitude due to the ACP

  • Air pollution data is recorded and provided

  • Farnborough Airport Limited develops a plan to reduce the climate change impact of operations – including aircraft emissions operating from the airport

   

If you would like to read more details on the airspace change, you can read a paper written by Colin Shearn.

You can access the petition and sign it via this link.