A noise pollution group has described the Gatwick Airport drone chaos as 'an early Christmas present' - despite more than 110,000 passengers facing travel misery.
CAGNE - the Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions - also described the disruption from several industrial-sized drones near the runway which has grounded planes since yesterday evening as 'a glimpse of the tranquillity that [residents] used to enjoy before Gatwick introduced concentrated flight paths (2013-14) and increased the number of aircraft movements'.
This comes after the army was mobilised to help the airport deal with the drones which have been blighting it since around 9pm yesterday evening, causing flights to be cancelled and affecting 110,000 passengers and rising. Click here for our live blog of updates.
Here is their press release in full, entitled 'A Glimpse of the Past for Rural Communities':
"Residents woke to silence from Gatwick Airport on 20th December, offering a glimpse of the tranquillity that they use to enjoy before Gatwick introduced concentrated flight paths (2013-14) and increased the number of aircraft movements.
"For tens of thousands of residents of Sussex, Surrey and Kent they enjoyed some respite from the aircraft motorways above their homes that usual, in part, blight their lives day and night, and due to an out of date law, are powerless to take legal action to stop the flights from impacting their wellbeing and house value.
"Although CAGNE, an umbrella community group, does not condone the irresponsible behaviour of flying drones near an airport potentially endangering lives, it was an early Christmas present for those that suffer aircraft noise.
"Residents simply feel powerless to stop Gatwick's desire to increase the number of planes above rural homes of Sussex, Surrey and Kent especially with their current draft master plan for a three-runway airport. The Government green paper on aviation places the consumer and growth of aviation firmly at the top of priorities ignoring the impact aircraft noise has on mental health and wellbeing of those on the ground.
"This incident must question the resilience and vulnerability of Gatwick Airport to such illegal action by unknown person/s."
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