There has been much anger and disquiet within the village concerning the sudden increase in aircraft noise since the southerly departure route trials began in May. Initially route 5 presented a sharp increase in noise but Route 6 has been much worse. The airport claim that this is because aircraft are not following the designated routes as a result of inaccurate co-ordinates being entered in the navigation systems. We are told that this has now been corrected and a further 3 month trial of option 6 will commence on November 13th. The public consultation concerning flight path options preceded any trials and consequently information about their impact might be considered insufficient for the public to have made informed decisions.
In addition with the end of the runway being 300 m nearer the village the noise from aircraft taking off to the north is much worse especially in the early morning with windows open and some residents in Old Station Road are aware of ground testing of engines in the new maintenance hanger.
Well over 150 residents attended the ‘Hello’ held by the airport on 21st June and made their feelings known in no uncertain terms, many people felt that little heed was taken by the junior employees who represented the airport. Incredibly the airport say that whilst they are noting comments there is no further public consultation, the data from the trial is information for the CAA only.
Subsequently a petition was drafted by two pilots living in the village, which has been presented to Parliament by our M P Caroline Spelman, requesting the Minister of State for Transport reviews the trial of options 5 and 6 and instructs the airport to look at other possible routings which will mimick the Hampton Turn and be quieter for residents of the rural communities. Within 10 days 2200 signatures had been collected from Hampton 880, Balsall 1300 and Barston 25. The reply by the Transport Minister concerning the petition can be found in Hansard.
On initial analysis the airport felt that option 6 was less disruptive to the community and this will remain in operation until the CAA make a formal decision.
In 2014 the airport proposed that the constitution and operation of the Airport Consultative Committee was fundamentally changed with a much reduced representation from community bodies. However following a great deal of pressure, not least from The parish council and Hampton Society, it has been re-established. We will be fighting to ensure that both bodies are represented on it in future so that we have a strong voice with which to protect our community from further environmental damage.
The parish council response to the ACC consultation can be viewed here.