Schools have now broken up and it was a pleasure to see both ends of the age spectrum last week; the wonderful all-age Trinity Cricket Club at Victory Road Rec with lots of young girls and boys (starting as young as 4!) getting into the game and clearly enjoying it. The Horsham National Citizens Service who I met at Roffey Millennium Hall has a particularly strong team this year, who you may well see in Carfax this week, among other projects raising awareness and funds for mental health charities.
I met the Aviation Minister, Baroness Sugg recently as part of a delegation of MPs concerned about the impact of noise from Gatwick. The Chief Executive of Gatwick Airport also attended. It was a candid discussion of the current noise issues we are facing and the strength of feeling was conveyed in no uncertain terms.
The Noise Management Board which Gatwick set up following the Arrivals Review consists of industry and community representatives. Unfortunately, the view that this Board is ineffective is widely shared.
As promised, following the meeting, the Minister is applying pressure on Gatwick to restructure the Noise Management Board and is taking a close interest in ensuring that community groups feel their voices are being heard. I am determined that this properly includes those communities in my constituency that are right on the edge of Gatwick and are often effected by both arrivals and departures.
The Government has also set up a new Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise (ICCAN) whose role will be to provide impartial advice and to produce best practice on noise management which industry will be expected to follow.
There has been much debate about flight paths in terms of concentration versus dispersal. The Noise Management Board is looking at the issue of fair and equitable dispersal in its work programme in the context of the wider Airspace Modernisation Programme on which the CAA are currently consulting.
Modern technology is producing quieter aircraft but with ever increasing demand for air travel this is not issue that is likely to go away and constant vigilance is required to ensure fairness.
Photo caption: Meeting some of the Horsham students signed up to this year’s National Citizenship Service and hearing about their social action project.