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GATWICK - LATEST UPDATE (October 2023)
DEAR LANGTON RESIDENTS.
You may have seen from a number of press articles that Gatwick has proposed to build a second runway, increase flights by 35% above pre-pandemic levels and almost double the number of passengers it handles annually. The negative impact on everyone living in Langton and other effected communities would be disastrous to appalling. The village Society has registered its objections with the planning inspectorate, as have most other effected communities and as have a large number of individuals living in communities that would be affected by Gatwick’s plans, should they be implemented.
Langton Green village Society’s detailed submission to the planning inspectorate is below. In addition, at the end of the submission you will find a shortened form covering the main points of objection with contact details should you wish to submit your own objections. From previous Gatwick planning exercises we know that numbers are very important. The more objections the Inspectorate receives, the greater chance we have of having our voices heard.
WE HOPE MANY OF YOU WILL SUBMIT YOUR OWN OBJECTION LETTERS.
DEADLINE SUNDAY 29.10.2023.
LANGTON GREEN VILLAGE SOCIETY
SUBMISSION TO THE GATWICK AIRPORT EXPANSION & 2nd RUNWAY CONSULTATION.
Langton Green. Our village.
Langton Green is a village in the west of Kent, to the west of Tunbridge Well and in the parish of Speldhurst. Langton sits astride the A264 and borders on to East Sussex
The village has some 1,300 households and approaching 3,000 residents. Early records refer to Langton’s existence at least as far back as the early 1300’s.
In relation to Gatwick’s expansion plans, Langton Green Village Society speaks for the vast majority of Langton residents. We know that there is a small handful of residents who see no harm in the expansion plans and even one or two who might even welcome them, but we can say with absolute confidence that this group contains only the smallest of numbers.
The village of Langton is 22 miles from Gatwick Airport. Langton is directly under the flight assembly point for planes landing at Gatwick from the East as they line up for their final approach to land at Gatwick. Because the prevailing winds are 70% from the West, 70% of planes landing at Gatwick congregate and fly over our village. Even though Air Traffic Control try to maintain planes on a constant standard rate of descent Gatwick admits that in the final analysis plane height decisions are the responsibility of the pilot. Many planes fly over Langton as low as 3,200 feet and these planes are highly intrusive for Langton residents. Additionally, limited night flights are permitted – unlike Heathrow – and Langton residents can be disturbed by planes at any time during the night. Langton residents frequently have poor nights’ sleep because of aviation disturbance through the night. The writer has been woken by fights across the whole night.
Gatwick is the most highly used single runway airport in the world. Nevertheless, Gatwick continues to push for increased flight volumes through tactics such as landing/approach path consolidation, late flight overspills, Noise Management Board limitation on effectiveness etc.
Pre the pandemic, the Speldhurst Parish and Langton Green Village Councils ran a consultation programme asking villagers to list their likes and dislikes about living in Langton. By far the biggest single complaint topic was the frequency and intrusion of aircraft. Back in 2019 residents were seriously complaining about the negative effect aircraft were having on their quality of life. Gatwick are now proposing a 35% increase on top of that peak intrusion. Gatwick’s expansion case can be shown to be based on half truths, lies and economic greed.
Aviation planning controls
When central authorities – Government, County or borough councils – are asked to implement changes to local infrastructure – be that road, rail or waterways, authorisation for such changes are subject to very firm planning guidelines that take into consideration the impact of those changes on the local citizenry. Air transport planning and management seems to have conveniently divested itself of the need for such considerations. The groundwork for Air Traffic planning and management seems to hide behind the original ATC legislation, passed in 1924, when Imperial Airways was launched. In the early 1920’s the total number of annual flights to and from all the UK was at the most a couple of thousand; that figure is less than the current total daily flights to and from the UK. We have an infinite flights movements increase, governed by a set of regulations that have little relevance to the current aviation management requirements.
Langton Green, a village which has been here for approaching 800 years, is being “blitzed” by seemingly unaccountable forces. Gatwick Airport seem to act as if the affected communities are simply an outright nuisance to be shooed away and ignored at every turn possible. Gatwick Airport’s only concern seems to be how fast and far they can grow their share value, regardless of any damage they cause to people or environment en route. The government seems wedded to taking short term actions which it hopes will improve the financial/business growth situation immediately and to its political advantage…e.g. HS2, aviation strategy, doctors and consultants pay, static tax thresholds etc. The net result is that communities like Langton Green are at risk of being steamrollered on very important infrastructure questions like Gatwick expansion. Gatwick is being driven by commercial lust…….and blow the communities. We hope the Government is not prepared to support a drive for growth regardless of the serious negative impact its decisions might have on affected communities. The vast majority of village residents believe that Gatwick’s case for growth by a second Runway is very weak and fails to support other and probably more important commitments such as the Environment, the net Zero drive and the wellbeing of long established communities and residents.
Langton Green’s position in regard to Gatwick’s proposal for a second runway are attached:
UK AVIATION EXPANSION BUSINESS CASE AND NEEDS.
THE NEED FOR INCREASED SHORT HAUL FLIGHTS FROM GATWICK.
LOCAL DEMOCRATIC SUPPORT FOR THE PROPOSITION.
GROWTH OF LOCAL BUSINESS THROUGH THE CREATION OF A SECOND RUNWAY
ENVIRONMNTAL IMPACT ON THE LANGTON AND OTHER AFFECTED COMMUNITIES.
THE GATWICK AIRPORT COMPANY.
THE LANGTON GREEN VILLAGE WOULD LIKE TO STATE MOST EMPHATICALLY THAT IT OPPOSES GATWICK’S APPLICATION TO BUILD A SECOND RUNWAY; THE WRONG APPLCATION, IN THE WRONG PLACE, ANSWERING NO UK NEED, FROM A COMPANY THAT HAS NO INTEREST IN THE UK COMMUNITIES IT IS EFFECTING AND FROM A COMPANY THAT SENDS THE MAJORITY OF IT’S PROFITS OUTSIDE THE UK.
Application for charitable status
Charitable status was applied for in 2022 but was rejected. A further application is being considered.
You may have seen this previously, but even so it still makes pleasant reading! Country Life magazine mentioned Langton Green as one of the best places to live in Kent. Their full article was entitled 'The 50 Best Places to Live Near London' with 6 villages in our county getting a mention. Langton Green was first out of those six on the list, just in case that makes a difference ;-)
You may read their article HERE