LETTER: Objective clarity in important debate

I fail to see how your poll about a second runway at Gatwick will be any less misleading than the recent, biased, YouGov poll sponsored by Gatwick.
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Surely it is unreasonable to expect any meaningful responses when the facts related to a second runway are variously categorised as absent, inadequate, misleading or contradictory?

A prerequisite of a meaningful poll is that responders have been provided with, and understand, all the relevant facts. Otherwise the poll results are likely to confirm the saying ‘lies, damned lies and statistics’.

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There are significant implications nationally and especially for the communities surrounding Gatwick and people living and working under the flight paths. Those individual, local and national implications have to be fully and accurately established, measured and balanced.

As Martin Spurrier said (WSCT 2/10/2014) we need objective clarity, not obfuscation, questionable research and profit-driven propaganda.

WSCT staff would serve the community well by establishing and publishing all the facts. In the meantime, individuals can only contribute by making others aware of the issues as they see them.

An individual who is seeking new employment might find appealing the prospect of a second runway bringing tens of thousands of new jobs to the area. An unbiased and transparent local government would recognise existing high levels of employment mean that, whilst a few individuals might benefit, tens of thousands of new jobs would require tens of thousands of new migrant and immigrant workers, plus their families, along with their need for additional housing, transport and services, and generate associated infrastructure and ongoing maintenance costs. (As if we don’t already have enough difficulty agreeing which acres and acres of our precious and irreplaceable green and pleasant lands will be concreted over to meet the housing demands unfairly imposed on us through central government policy.)

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An individual frequent-flyer might find appealing the prospect of having access to nearly three times as many flights and 97 million passenger movements each year – which would make Gatwick the largest or second largest passenger airport in the world! The countless thousands of individuals who would have to suffer additional health-impairing noise and air pollution might consider that Gatwick is already big enough.

An unbiased and fair national government would consider whether it is appropriate to add such a large development to the already overheated South East of England and to the detriment of other parts of the country desperate for employment opportunities; and whether there is need for any airport expansion when there is more than enough capacity in the South East, and nationally, for the foreseeable future.

Individuals who put people and the planet first and who care about the future object to the subsidy effectively enjoyed by the aircraft industry (duty-free free fuel and Gatwick has not paid any corporation tax for three years) which unfairly favours flying and results in increased pollution of our atmosphere. A responsible government would consider ways of reducing the aircraft industry’s significant contribution to global warming instead of adopting counter measures which are adding to the general cost of living for everyone in the country.

People should be under no illusion that the sole aim of the Gatwick operators is to maximise their profits irrespective of any negative impact on people or the environment.

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For example, Tom Denton, head of corporate responsibility at Gatwick, said they are ‘looking at Noise Preferential Routes designed to affect as few residents as possible’ and options to ‘rotate respite to help 11,000 residents most affected by noise’ (not to mention air-pollution) when it is the very route changes unilaterally imposed by Gatwick, resulting in aircraft flying low over thousands of people in homes, businesses and schools which have never been flown over before, which are causing those additional people to suffer in the first place.

Mr Denton maintains they have ‘reduced noise generated by the airport in recent years’ (for which read ‘airlines have introduced more fuel-efficient engines for their own financial benefit’) but, unlike other operators, has not required Easy-Jet to go to the marginal expense of modifying the air-frames of their fleet of A320 aircraft (by far the majority of planes using Gatwick) to reduce avoidable noise.

There has been an announcement that (following widespread public protest) the introduction of recently trialled departure and arrival flight-paths has been postponed but no announcement that concentrated departure tracks, which continue to cause misery for people up to 20 miles away, are continuing.

For some hard facts readers can go to www.gacc.org.uk/ and a GACC meeting at the Apple Tree Centre, Ifield Avenue, Crawley, RH11 0AF at 2pm to 3.30pm on 22nd November. Ample parking. Doors open 1.00 pm.


Tennyson Close, Horsham

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