Gatwick to pay “Band A Council Tax” to all households affected by noise from second runway

LONDON, 2014-03-11 — /Travel PR News/ — All households most affected by noise from a second runway at Gatwick would receive annual compensation equivalent to Band A Council Tax (currently £1000) if and when the runway becomes operational, Gatwick Airport announced today.

This represents the next stage of Gatwick’s industry leading approach to noise management at the airport (Minimise, Mitigate, Compensate). It underlines the importance that the airport attaches to addressing environmental issues and acting as a responsible neighbour.

Commenting on the proposal Stewart Wingate, CEO of Gatwick Airport, said: “Expansion at Gatwick would, without doubt, deliver many upsides for our local community in terms of jobs and investment. But we must also recognise the negative noise impacts on local people from more flights. Gatwick’s location obviously means that comparatively fewer people would be affected by a new runway. However, I believe we must do more to help those that would be affected.

“How we best compensate communities affected by major infrastructure projects is an issue facing a growing number of sectors – from aviation to energy. Our proposal would see the people most affected by expansion at Gatwick receiving monetary compensation.

“Under the scheme, we are pledging £1,000 towards Council Tax for qualifying households in the local area, if and when a second runway became operational. Our current estimate is that as many as 4,100 households (i) could qualify for this scheme and so this would provide a real and positive benefit to a significant number of people.

“Environmental issues are at the centre of the debate about runway capacity in the South East and noise reduction, mitigation and compensation are therefore at the heart of our expansion plans. This scheme will be a cornerstone of our planned package of measures for local residents.”

Gatwick’s location to the south of London means the potential impact on people is at a much lower level than at Heathrow. According to the Civil Aviation Authority, 3,650 people living in 1,600 homes around Gatwick are affected by aircraft noise today (ii). At Heathrow, on the same basis, almost 240,000 people living in 100,000 homes (iii) are impacted by aircraft noise – more than the total number of people impacted by all other major Western European airports combined.

Gatwick has long recognised that people who live near airports have concerns about noise and takes its obligations to the environment seriously. The airport is at the forefront of industry noise management initiatives, and its ongoing noise reduction scheme has already set new standards in protecting local communities against noise pollution. For example:

• Last year Gatwick became the first – and so far the only – UK airport to trial, and get permission to implement, Precision Navigation which allows aircraft to fly on much narrower flight paths rather than in wide swaths enabling aircraft to fly over areas with the least amount of people living under its flight path.

• Gatwick has also recently become the first UK airport to fully consult on modernising its airspace, which it believes could potentially reduce noise annoyance for over 65% of households currently affected, and

• Earlier this year Gatwick announced plans to roll-out one of the largest and most innovative noise mitigation schemes of any airport in the UK and across the rest of Europe, offering hundreds more local homes up to £3,000 towards double glazing and loft insulation. Over 40% more homes will be protected from noise than were covered with the old scheme.

Addressing the impact of noise on local communities will be a critical issue in winning local support and for the Airports Commission’s assessment of its short listed options. How scheme promoters address noise reduction, mitigation and compensation will be a primary focus of public debate on the benefits and impacts of a new runway being built in London and the South East.

Notes to Editors

(i) Gatwick Airport Limited modelling of the 2040 57 dB(A) Leq noise contour by the Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) Environment Research and Consultancy Division (ERCD).

Details of the proposed Council Tax Scheme 

  • £1,000 per annum payment (indexed at CPI) to Council Tax payers resident at the time of runway opening, whose homes are within the airport’s two runway 57 dB(A) Leq noise contour.
  • This contour is the UK Government’s measure for the onset of noise annoyance. The scheme will use actual measured contours produced annually by the CAA, providing an independent benchmark, and will be updated every 5 years to reflect changes in noise performance.
  • Recognising the increased intensity and frequency of noise with a second runway, the scheme will be open to residents already within the single runway 57 dB(A) Leq noise contour.
  • We estimate that by 2040 there could be 4,100 eligible homes within the two runway contour (i).
  • Just under 100,000 households sit within Heathrow’s 57 dB(A) Leq noise contour today. (iii)
  • The scheme will not be open to residents who move into the noise boundary contour after Gatwick applies for planning permission, which would follow the Airports Commission support and Government approval.
  • The scheme will only be applicable to the existing housing stock today, and not to any new housing which might be built in the intervening period.
  • We will consult locally on this scheme if Gatwick is chosen for runway expansion by the Airports Commission, and the Government takes that recommendation forward.
  • The scheme would be in addition to any statutory compensation and blight scheme(s) we would implement if Gatwick is taken forward for runway development by the next Government.

 About Gatwick’s new noise insulation scheme
Gatwick’s noise insulation scheme goes further than any other airport in the UK and Europe. It has reduced the noise threshold for the scheme, with the boundary line drawn flexibly to ensure entire roads and communities are included. The boundary has also been extended along the flight paths by 15km to both the east and west of the airport. This will mean that over 40% more homes are now eligible than under the old scheme.

For more information please click here.

About the London Airspace Consultation
Between 15 October 2013 and 21 January 2014, Gatwick and NATS – the UK’s leading provider of air traffic services – asked people living across Sussex, Surrey, Kent, Essex, Suffolk and Hampshire to have their say on the positioning of new flight paths in their local area.

This information will be used to help establish new routes which offer the most benefit with the least possible impact, with a particular focus on reducing the impact of aircraft noise.

Airspace above the south of England is some of the busiest in the world. This consultation is the first stage in a wider programme of proposed changes to deliver the UK’s Future Airspace Strategy (FAS), which will be legally required to come into effect in 2020.

For more information please click here.

Fly Quiet and CleanFly Quiet and Clean is a unique framework that pulls together all Gatwick’s noise initiatives. Launched at the annual Gatwick noise seminar in December 2012, it includes both on-going initiatives and new thinking.

For more information please click here.

For more information contact:

Gatwick Airport press office

t: + 44 (0) 1293 505000

About Gatwick Airport
Gatwick Airport is the UK’s second largest airport and the busiest single-runway airport in the world. It serves more than 200 destinations in 90 countries for around 35 million passengers a year on short and long-haul services. It is also a major economic driver for the South-East region, generating around 23,000 on-airport jobs and a further 13,000 jobs through related activities. The airport is 28 miles south of London with excellent public transport links, including the Gatwick Express. Gatwick Airport is owned by a group of international investment funds, of which Global Infrastructure Partners is the largest shareholder.

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Farrell's London - image of a two-runway Gatwick

Farrell’s London – image of a two-runway Gatwick