LETTER: ‘Trial’ is not fair and it is not right

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In addition to the intolerable noise the current Gatwick flight ‘trials’ are causing local residents, Richard Dale (WSCT 13/07/14) rightly draws attention to the elephant in the room. Air pollution.

Aircraft engines produce clouds of polluting emissions. The pollution is greatest when an aircraft takes off. A large aircraft of the type frequenting Gatwick will use some four to six times more fuel - roughly 900 litres every minute, 15 litres every second – when taking off than when cruising at altitude.

Emissions from aircraft engines include:

- Carbon dioxide (CO2) - an important greenhouse gas and a major source of ocean acidification

- Methane (CH4) - a potent greenhouse gas

- Nitrous oxide (N20) - a greenhouse gas and air pollutant

- NOx (Nitric oxide (NO) and Nitrogen dioxide (NO2)) - readily reacts with common organic chemicals, and ozone, to form a wide variety of toxic products, causing premature death in extreme cases. Combines with other compounds to form acid rain. Combines with volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to form ground-level ozone (O3) [Ground-level ozone can damage crops and cause adverse effects in humans, such as damage to lung tissue and reduction in lung function]

- Carbon monoxide (CO) - High concentrations are toxic. Has a role in forming ground-level ozone

- Non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs) - Pollutants. Many NMVOCs are involved in reactions that form ground-level ozone

- Sulphur dioxide (SO2) - a toxic gas which is a major air pollutant and has significant adverse effects on humans and other animals. A precursor to acid rain.

I vehemently object when changes to aircraft flight paths, solely for the financial advantage of foreign owned Gatwick operators, brings noise and air pollution to a wider community which has not before been so closely flown over. It is not fair and it is not right.

Our local and national governments claim they are powerless to stop the ‘trials’. They are certainly hopeless.

If Gatwick build a second runaway then all that noise and air pollution will be a kilometre nearer to all Horsham residents.

At www.airportwatch.org.uk/?page_id=7420 I read there are similar problems at Frankfurt airport. In addition to countless complaints and protestations, almost every Monday night well over 1,000 people go to the airport to protest.

On 19th May, they held their 100th protest with around 4,000 (maybe more) protesters attending. Clearly, just like Gatwick, the airport officials are not listening. Continuing to complain and protest in this way is putting hope before reality. Increasingly, big businesses do not care about people.

It is time to adopt the French tactic. Take direct action which puts our health and well-being before the profits of Gatwick’s foreign based operators. Delay flights and hit them in the only sensitive spot they have - their profits. It’s time to make a stand.

If you agree then tell your local campaigning group, email: CAGNEgatwick@gmail.com


Tennyson Close, Horsham