Noisier skies over Brightling? – Brightling, East Sussex – village website

Many people have commented on the reduction in noise from jets flying over Brightling in the last two years.

The reduction in flying is indeed huge: during the final quarter of 2021, air traffic movements at Gatwick were still 70% down on 2019 levels. And few planes means less “stacking”, so the ones that are still up there don’t hang around as long.

This situation clearly won’t last for ever, although it is still expected to be 2024-2025 before traffic fully returns to 2019 levels.

The above information is taken from the newsletter of GACC, the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign, whose stated aim is “to protect and improve the environment in the area affected by Gatwick Airport’s operations with particular regard to noise, congestion, air quality and light pollution. ” GACC is supported by many local councils, including Brightling. It is totally law-abiding and relies on rational argument to influence government and aviation authorities. Individuals who support these aims can support GACC by subscribing to their newsletter.

The GACC January newsletter contains a lot of detail about the proposed expansion of Gatwick, more than can be summarized here. One ridiculous detail jumps out, though: the return of “ghost” flights.

UK regulation states that airlines must use their landing slots more than 80% of the time in order to keep them. This was suspended at the outset of the pandemic but is now 50%, with plans to return to 80% by March 2022.

Consequently, airlines have been flying planes empty simply in order to retain their landing slots. It is hard to disagree with the statement that these ‘ghost’ flights are a shocking waste of resources and a needless source of emissions. Those who agree may choose to sign a petition on the Government website.