Angry Warnham villagers woke up one morning last week to find flights taking off from Gatwick Airport flying over their homes.
Since last Monday February 17 residents of the parish have complained of a constant flow of planes overhead from 6am, which they feel is destroying the ‘tranquillity’ of their traditional Sussex village.
However Gatwick Airport has responded by saying that the new six-month trial route will allow planes to climb more quickly after take-off, reducing the overall amount of people affected by aircraft noise.
Warnham resident Sally Pavey said villagers were powerless to stop changes that she and others feel have destroyed their village overnight.
She added: “It’s like we were being bombed with only brief moments of respite when we can hear the bird song again.”
Laura Standing said the noise and vibrations were having a massive impact on her daughter, who suffers from autism and sensory processing disorder, leaving her ‘scared and petrified at times’.
Meanwhile a spokesperson for Warnham Parish Council said it would be lodging a complaint about the trial taking place, and the fact it had gone ahead without any publicity or consultation.
Because the new flight path is a trial, Gatwick Airport says it is not required to undertake consultation, and the changes are directly aligned to the Government’s policy of reducing the amount of people affected by aircraft noise.
The airport said it was leading the trial in conjunction with the National Air Traffic Services, and it had been endorsed by the Civil Aviation Authority.
A spokesperson for Gatwick Airport said: “The departure route, which enables aircraft to climb more quickly after take-off, reduces the overall number of people affected by aircraft noise and overflight and has been specifically designed to avoid overflying the majority of populated areas.”
Another Warnham resident Orla Constant added: “Warnham is a traditional and tranquil Sussex village, well-loved and well-kept by its residents and famous for its country walks, church, and historic pubs.
“This tranquillity has suddenly been destroyed by the bombardment of low flying noisy planes.”