Promises to reduce the impact of aircraft noise to East Sussex residents has been welcomed by the county council.
Gatwick has pledged to act on all 23 recommendations made after an independent review looked at noise issue created by flights arriving at the airport.
The move has been welcomed by East Sussex County Council bosses who have been pushing for action over a number of years.
Cllr Rupert Simmons, lead member for economy, said: “We welcome Gatwick Airport Ltd’s pledge to act on the report and are delighted that recognition has been given to the 13 recommendations requested by East Sussex County Council following communication with residents.”
He added: “The county council was able to work with the review panel and feed in the significant number of issues raised by residents, particularly those in the north of the county.”
The review report, published in January, stated that 20 of the 23 suggestions could be implemented in just 12 months.
In response Gatwick Airport published an action plan for the implementation of each recommendation but said further work may be needed on two of the recommendations after more detailed technical and planning work, and after analysis of community feedback.
As part of the action plan, a noise management board will be established, with representatives such as the Department for Transport, the Civil Aviation Authority, National Air Traffic Services and Gatwick Airport, as well as local authority and local community representatives.
Other actions to be taken forward include modifications to aircraft to address the whining noise created on descent, the steeper ascent and descent of aircraft from and into the airport, and variations to flight paths to offer residents respite from aircraft noise.
Cllr Simmons added: “We appreciate that there is a great deal of work needed in order to act on the recommendations, but the fact that Gatwick Airport Ltd has accepted the review’s findings is the first step to improving the lives of people in East Sussex affected by aircraft noise.
“East Sussex County Council will continue to lobby for measures to reduce the impact of flights on its residents and is looking forward to working with the noise management board.
“The onus is not only on Gatwick Airport Ltd to implement these actions, but is reliant on the Civil Aviation Authority, the Department for Transport, Air Traffic Control National Air Traffic Services, airlines, local authorities and the airport working together to ensure the action plan is delivered.”
Gatwick Airport Ltd is required to publish a progress report by January 31, 2017.
The county council continues to back proposals for an expansion of Gatwick which it said offered ‘an unmissable opportunity’ for the area’s economy, but believes action needs to be taken to address issues that impact on East Sussex residents, such as noise from aircraft.
A spokesman for Gatwick Airport Ltd said it accepted all 23 recommendations the independent arrivals review made in a report in January 28 which stated ‘it is clear that there is scope for the improvement of the present situation’.
A Gatwick spokesman said: “Gatwick has allotted six weeks for local community feedback and to allow all those who took part in the review to consider its proposed action plan.
“One recommendation of the review was to put in place an independent noise management board including the main aviation stakeholders and representatives of local communities.”
Bo Redeborn, who led the arrivals review, said: “I was very pleased by the response of all those concerned to the arrivals review and I am now delighted that Gatwick has announced that it will accept all of our recommendations.
“There is clearly a good deal of work to be done to bring this about and I am very pleased to have been proposed to be chairman of the independent noise management board.
“In that role, one of the first things I would be doing is to monitor how Gatwick, and the other stakeholders who contributed to this review, implement the recommendations that have now been accepted.”
Sir Roy McNulty, chairman of Gatwick Airport said: “The independent arrivals review has proved to be a very constructive process and I am very pleased both by the positive nature of its recommendations and by the positive reception it has received.
“We have published today an implementation plan for each recommendation and I believe that in aggregate these actions will make a significant difference to the noise impacts experienced by residents around the airport.
“So that the very constructive engagement established by the review will continue in the future we are keen to establish the independent noise management board it recommended as soon as possible.
“I think most people have been impressed by the balanced and judicious manner in which Bo conducted the review and there seems to be strong support for the proposal that he be the first chairman of the independent noise management board. Gatwick is committed to making that Board a successful and effective influence in the management of noise issues in future and we will give it whatever help it needs to make that happen.
“Gatwick has also noted the Review’s recommendation in respect of the in-house resources necessary to implement its proposals.
“We have already established a team to do this and will be adding further resources in the near future.
“Once we have assessed community feedback and any further comment from the stakeholders involved in this review, we will be in a very good position to take swift and effective action on its recommendations.”
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