Parish councils joins forces to provide a strong voice over aircraft noise issues

APCAG Hare and Drummond
APCAG Hare and Drummond

A new parish council grouping has been launched to provide what it describes as a strong and unified representation for its area in discussions with Gatwick, NATS, the CAA, the Department for Transport, airport and airlines over aircraft noise issues.

APCAG (Association of Parish Councils Aviation Group) has been endorsed by six founder member parishes, representing more than 10,000 residents: Pulborough, Wisborough Green, Kirdford, Loxwood, Plaistow and Ifold and it is planned for more to join.

As an organisation comprising democratically elected bodies, APCAG’s voice is more likely to be heard than the voice of a protest group, it says.

Peter Drummond, the newly elected chairman of ACPAG and a Wisborough Green councillor, said: “Of the many groups focusing on Gatwick’s activities there is only one group combining solely elected representatives, HWCAAG (The High Weald Councils Aviation Action Group). APCAG emulates, to the west of the airport, this highly effective parish council grouping from the east.

“When APCAG speaks to Gatwick Airport, it will be with the formal endorsement of elected representatives.”

The primary aim of the new association will be the protection of people in the APCAG member councils’ parishes areas, and neighbouring areas, from unacceptable aircraft noise.

Whether by minimising the disturbance from existing aircraft movements or by having a strong voice in any discussions about future flight paths or flight techniques, APCAG says it will ardently pursue the best settlement possible and is already working closely with an effective grouping of Gatwick-focused groups.

The chairman of Kirdford Parish Council, Ian Campbell, said: “Kirdford is a small council with huge demands on its time and resources and so being able to sub-contract such an important function to a properly constituted grouping, with developed expertise, is a fillip. We have huge support for APCAG’s aims.”

The new group says it is an inevitable fact that aircraft noise has to go somewhere but APCAG, along with almost every Gatwick action group, subscribes to the doctrine of ‘fair and equitable dispersal’; the principle that, provided noise is minimised, it should be shared around in a fair and predictable manner.

Further, APCAG believes that wherever possible, those not previously overflown should not be subject to noise nuisance especially preserving the tranquillity of the countryside.

The formation of APCAG has coincided with the reporting and implementation of the Gatwick Independent Arrivals Review and the group plans to have a close involvement in the latter.

Ian Hare, vice-chairman of APCAG and a Pulborough councillor, said: “We have formed APCAG to work tightly with stakeholders, from both aviation and communities, to ensure that as many measures as possible are taken with regard to aircraft noise for the benefit of those living in our part of the world.

“We acknowledge that the recent attitude change from Gatwick management has been transformational and that they now see the need to work closely with communities going forwards.

“The establishment of a Noise Management Board is a good first step but now we must hold them to their commitments.”

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