Gatwick Airport report offers hope to noise victims

Aircraft landing at Gatwick Airport
Image caption Flight paths at Gatwick were narrowed about two years ago, increasing the impact on those living under them

Campaigners who have said their lives have been blighted by noise from Gatwick Airport are welcoming a possible breakthrough after a report recommended a series of changes.

Airport operators say they will try to implement as many of the proposals as possible "as quickly as is practical".

Campaigners say complaints have soared since flight paths were altered.

Authors of the report, which was commissioned by Gatwick, say changes could be in place within a year.

The Independent Review of Arrivals recommended that the flight paths be amended again to cover a wider area, diluting the impact on people living close-by, some of whom have aircraft flying over their homes every 90 seconds.

'Not everybody happy'

Campaigners welcomed the suggestion but acknowledged that more people will be drawn into the area affected by the noise.

Brendan Sewell, chairman of Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign, said: "Probably they had it until two years ago, when the flight paths were concentrated [on a narrower area], but at the moment they haven't got it, so not everybody's going to be happy about this."

However, he felt other recommended changes, such as modifications to planes to make them less noisy and training pilots to minimise the time flown at low levels, should be more straightforward.

Gatwick spokesman Charles Kirwan-Taylor said: "We're never going to be able to make the problem go away completely... but if there are ways where we can make the practices better or ways in which we can make the distribution better, we will be happy to look at that."

Representatives of those who have complained about the increase in noise will be included on the body being set up to consider the recommendations.

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