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Farnborough Noise Group

Farnborough Noise Group

Wednesday 29th May 2024

A few things have happened in the past couple of months........

 

First, the local elections have resulted in Labour taking control of Rushmoor Borough Council. The general view is that it is a positive change as there is likely to be less nepotism and the policies and procedures that the airport should comply with may be better enforced. Hopefully there is a balance so that the financial gains of corporate businesses are not prioritised over local issues and the health of people near the airport.

 

Second, the General Election. A change in government will potentially have far reaching consequences. For example, how can the country be following a path to net zero emissions while at the same time planning to double the number of flights (through the national Airspace Modernisation Strategy) and what is going to happen to the planning application to double the number of Farnborough flights when private jets are 20 - 40 times more polluting than equivalent commercial flights? FNG has been in contact with the candidates standing for election and provided a fact sheet as well as arranging Zoom calls with each party to answer their question about Farnborough Airport and aviation expansion.

Third, there has been another consultation around the Airspace Modernisation Strategy and the options for changes to Farnborough's airspace. As usual, the evaluation only considers aircraft using Farnborough Airport and up to 7,000ft but that is only half the aircraft noise and emissions problem in the area. General Aviation (light aircraft, helicopters, etc) and Heathrow/Gatwick aircraft are not included. The airport has tried to discuss what are quite technical issues in public zoom calls, which just isn't feasible. We have asked for a face-to-face meeting to go through the concerns we have. There is more information here.

And there has been a lot in the press about the decline in business aviation, and the unicorn solution of Sustainable Aviation Fuel  being touted by the aviation industry. It is interesting that the aviation sector assumes there is unlimited supply of green electricity while Red Funnel Ferries is ordering three new diesel ferries because there isn't enough supply of green energy in the South East to run electric ships. 

Farnborough Noise Group

Farnborough Noise Group

Today FNG was at the Farnham Sustainability Festival. It was busy, without a break for five hours (picture from the setup at 11.00am before it got busy). People are clearly concerned about the situation. You'd expect people to be environmentally aware at a Sustainability Festival but the awareness was much deeper - more concerned. A number of councillors and MP candidates came for a chat so this is rapidly becoming an election issue.

Sunday 19th May 2024

Farnham Sustainability Fair.jpg

Last week Farnborough International hosted the Sustainable Skies World Summit. The first question asked to the audience was “Are we making progress at the rate needed to make net zero by 2050”. The response was 91% “No”. It seems the aviation industry is concerned as well. The meeting didn't last long for Colin Shearn of FNG as Anthony Earley, Marketing Director of Farnborough International ejected him on the morning of the second day saying "it's nothing personal, we just don't want people like you here". Blatant discrimination when he hadn't done anything. The claim was that he had taken a picture (as everyone was doing, it's a trade event!). A complaint has been submitted to the businesses legal director.

Farnborough Noise Group

Farnborough Noise Group

Sunday 31st March 2024

The FACC meeting took place on 21st February. As usual, the issues that need to be discussed and are important to the public were avoided. There was a demonstration by environmental groups, FNG and members of the public outside but very few people in the meeting or online. That's what happens when public access is blocked, questions aren't answered and information isn't provided. No doubt the airport would rather have it this way so it can carry on making money at our expense. A year ago, FNG concluded it wasn't worth engaging with the FACC but it tried again because of the airport's expansion plans. We will be looking at new and more effective ways of representing the public to the airport. A report on the meeting is here. The referenced reply from the FACC chair is here

We also have a roundup of local aviation news and things that relate to Farnborough Airport here

Farnborough Noise Group

Farnborough Noise Group

Sunday 25th February 2024

Many of you will know that Colin Shearn, who was previously chair of FNG, was in court a couple of weeks ago. Surrey Police started an Anti Social Behaviour Injunction against him in August 2023. The injunction prohibited him from “causing harassment, alarm or distress, nuisance or annoyance to anyone in England and Wales”, and if he did, he could be immediately arrested. Clearly, he had no choice other than to challenge such an extreme injunction. 

Included in Surrey Police's submission was a complaint that stated that he had been “Conducting an aggressive and relentless campaign against Farnborough Airport, the FACC and individuals connected with these organisations over the past 2-3 years”. It went on to say that "Colin Shearn has been bombarding Farnborough Airport Company, the FACC, Rushmoor Borough Council, the Civil Aviation Authority, the National Air Traffic Service and the Department for Transport with endless questions about air traffic which he alleges causes disturbance to him and the people he claims to represent.” And that “Mr Shearn is described as adopting a belligerent and aggressive style, distorting or misrepresenting a point of view to suit his agenda”.

 

As a result of this, Colin stepped down as chair of Farnborough Noise Group. The situation was reported in the national press and international press. This part of the injunction was dropped by Surrey Police two weeks before the trial but the damage had already been done. Colin could not comment while there were legal proceedings but as he has now been issued with a two-year Anti Social Behaviour Injunction, he can. The false statement was made by Philip Riley, chair of the FACC. It did not have the support of FACC members. As Philip Riley was a solicitor, he will be well aware of the implications of making false allegations. The public announcement by Colin is here. We call on Philip Riley to consider his position in the FACC.

Farnborough Noise Group

Farnborough Noise Group

Monday 29th January 2024

Well! That was quite an event! A big turnout to the demonstration on Saturday and Greta Thunberg was there as well. I guess that as a campaigner who is often surrounded by crowds it would have been useful to be a bit taller...... But her presence on the day made everyone else feel a lot bigger. Extinction Rebellion did a great job organising the event (Police liaison, traffic control, first-aid, etc). It really needs a group with experience to organise events like this. There was a lot of coverage on national and international media. Farnborough Noise Group was rather drowned out by XR but that doesn't matter, it is getting the message across that counts.

 

BBC

The Guardian

Hampshire Chronicle

Thanks everyone for joining. Many people hadn't been to a demo before and I hope it has encouraged you to join another one in the future. If you have any pics or video you'd like to share, please send them in. Flight Free has done a great montage to Chris Packham's recorded speech. 

Needless to say, the DfT, CAA and Farnborough airport didn't respond to the invitation and come to talk with us at the demonstration so we will be following up with them.

Farnborough Noise Group

Farnborough Noise Group

Tuesday 9th January 2024

A lot has been happening in the last few weeks. There were articles published in Open Democracy, The Guardian and Private Eye regarding Colin Shearn's Anti Social Behaviour Injunction and several legal firms and KCs have been in touch commenting on similarities with the Post Office Horizon scandal. It is unacceptable that public organisations, using taxpayer's money, take action against individuals who are legally challenging organisations that are failing in their responsibilities.

 

Farnborough Airport is not operating in accordance with it licence (business flights only) so FNG submitted a formal complaint to Simon Geere (FAC CEO), Leo Docherty (MP Farnborough), the council leaders for Hampshire and Rushmoor. As an example, on 29th December (not really a day that business people will be flying), there were 29 departures and 13 of these were to skiing locations in the Alpes. Paul Shackley (RBC) replied, denying any breach of planning permission. The issue here is that when the body that is supposed to apply enforcement can't even recognise the issue when it is raised to them, what hope is there? Farnborough is designated for Business Aviation because the revenue generated by business was the justification for the recognised harm caused by flights in the Secretary of State's approval. Flying pets to Dubai and wealthy individuals for skiing isn't business use and doesn't provide the benefit to justify the harm. Paul Shackley said the complaint had been refused by the Local Government Ombudsman - the fact is that the LGO wouldn't review it (not enough resources and not a material issue). So the LGO thinks an airport operating outside its licence isn't a material issue..... you despair!

FNG has reviewed the consultation documentation provided by Farnborough Airport as part of the Airspace Modernisation Strategy (AMS or FASI-S). It is alarming that things like a holding stack above Farnham and new flightpaths into Gatwick (day and night flights) at 6,000ft above the ground but the public have not been consulted. Most people have no idea of the scale of impact this might have on them and their property prices.

Given that we have exhausted every avenue to discuss issues with all the relevant bodies, and nobody will have a sensible discussion, let alone take any action, a significant demonstration has been arranged at Farnborough Airport on 27th January. Wrap up warm, bring your friends and family (Hampshire Police have been involved in the planning) and let these organisations know how you feel. There will be people and groups from all over the country as well as talks and various entertainment.

Finally, when parliamentary committees start to challenge the sense of Government's New Zero strategy for aviation, you've got to see that things are wrong and change is needed. The Americans have recognised that Sustainable Aviation Fuel isn't sustainable. and there were hopes that all the sh*t from Macquarie's other business (Southern Water) could be turned into SAF, but unfortunately all the sh*t in the UK would only produce 5% of aircraft fuel needed! 

Farnborough Noise Group

Farnborough Noise Group

Wednesday 19th December 2023

There was a meeting last week hosted by FAL as part of the CAA's Airspace Modernisation Strategy / FASI-S. This is the change in airspace to double the number of flights that is combined with Heathrow and Gatwick. The programme is at the "design" stage. The public have not yet been consulted. FNG is concerned for many reasons:

  • The airport has repeatedly avoided having discussions with FNG because once they understand what the issues are, they would have to try and mitigate them, which they don't want to do..... better not to find out.

  • Information they are presenting is flawed, and they know it is flawed. For example, it is measuring aircraft noise disturbance using a measure known as LAeq16 (average noise measured over 16 hours). But it is only considering Farnborough aircraft noise. I don't know about you but I can't select out aircraft noise when they are flying over depending on which airport they are going to. They are also measuring noise over 16 hours but Farnborough Airport doesn't operate for 16 hours so the averages under-represent the noise people hear.

  • The same design principle is being used as the last airspace change, a "reduction in people overflown" which means the flightpaths would be put over quiet rural areas and national parks that are supposed to be protected under Air Navigation Guidance 2017. 

FNG has repeatedly asked for meetings with FAL to discuss these points and we will keep asking. 

A few more articles in the press:

Advertising Standards Authority calls our airlines over sustainability claims

Demand for private jets tails off (so Farnborough doesn't need to expand!)

Fewer executives are taking the corporate jet

Farnborough Noise Group Logo Solo

Farnborough Noise Group

Monday 27th November 2023

A quick update on a few things that you might be interested in as we count down to COP28.…..

 

GAGNE (the Gatwick Airport group) is running some public talks.

Talk One - Time to rethink airport expansion plans with AEF
Losing Altitude: The Economics of Air Transport in Great Britain with NEF
Thursday 30th November at 7-8pm  Book here

Talk Two - Climate Change: how we got here and where we might be going
Thursday 7th December at 7pm
Guest speaker Tony Whitbread  Book here

Talk Three - Let’s talk UK’s airports are big enough!
Friday 8th December 7pm – 
Guest speaker Steve Clark of Bristol Airport Action Network and newly formed No Airport Expansion campaign in conversation with Lisa Morris    Book here 

Talk Four - The increasing importance of protecting our best landscape and heritage in the 21st Century/our ever-busy world!
Monday 11th December 7pm
With Duncan Leslie Managing Director at Hever Castle, Kent   Book here 

 

In case you missed it, here is the FNG video listing the operational issues with the airport.

 

And articles in the national and international press.....

Greenwashing before COP28 - Virgin Atlantic's flight using SAF

Who is causing the most pollution?

How the 0.001% live

A few common issues at Antwerp airport
 

Farnborough Noise Group Aircraft noise presentation
Farnborough Noise Group Logo Solo

Farnborough Noise Group

Friday 10th November 2023

The latest FACC meeting took place on Thursday. If you’ve been to any of these meetings in the past, they are extremely frustrating events that are effectively used as an opportunity for the airport to “market” itself rather than for the concerns of the public to be raised and for the FACC to challenge the airport or for solutions to be found. There will be various actions taking place following the meeting because things can’t go on like this any longer.

 

The FACC needs a chair that is independent and who performs the role required of a chair in an airport consultative committee. A completely new approach is needed by the FACC. It is especially important now because there are two major events happening at the same time, one is the airport’s expansion planning application that we are told will be “live” next week. The other is another Farnborough Airspace Change Proposal (part of FASI-S/AMS that will be run under CAP 1616 procedures) and this starts on 4th December.

 

The documents for the meeting should have been on the FACC website BEFORE the meeting so that people could ask questions about the content but they still aren’t online, TWO WEEKS AFTER THE MEETING. It sort of sums up the situation….. The FACC restricts people submitting questions and attending the meeting in person, then doesn’t have the questions to hand that were sent a week in advance (as per the FACC’s procedures) and were expected to be answered. They weren’t answered, but everyone had a laugh when the chair reprimanded a member of the public for asking a question saying questions were only allowed in the public question section – without realising it WAS the public question section! Keep an eye on the website for when they are made available.

FNG has spent years trying to get the public’s issues discussed and at the June FACC meeting, it was agreed that FNG would be given the opportunity to present in November. We weren’t on the agenda for the November meeting so had to challenge to get onto it. We were given 10 – 15 minutes which isn’t enough to cover what needs to be covered. So we recorded a video of the sort of presentation we would have liked to have given. Instead, we took the opportunity at the meeting to explain what is not working, why the public are so angry and what needs to be done now, so that the two consultation procedures have a chance of being carried out properly.

 

More information to follow…..

Farnborough Noise Group Presentation
Farnborough Noise Group Logo Solo

Farnborough Noise Group

Thursday 2nd November 2023

Just a reminder, there is a friendly/family demonstration at the airport on Saturday 4th November (10.00am - Noon. All welcome - bring waterproof clothing! It's at Farnborough Airport northern gate adjacent to the Sir Frank Whittle Memorial roundabout. Parking is free in the Ively Road car park).

 

And there is a gathering at the FACC meeting that is on Thursday 9th November (1.15pm - 2.00pm. Fleet Council offices, The Harlington, GU51 4BY). If you want to attend the meeting in person, you need to register at least five days in advance with admin@facc.org.uk.

Farnborough Noise Group Logo Solo

Farnborough Noise Group

Sunday 1st October 2023

We need your help! Many people attending the six airport consultations were not aware of the changes at the airport until they received the Farnborough Airport letter. Some areas did not receive the airport’s letter. Can you help by distributing the Farnborough Noise Group flyers in your street or area? If so, email farnboroughnoise@gmail.com and we can drop some leaflets to you. FNG will be responding to the airport's survey https://farnboroughairport2040.com/share-your-views/. Our text for each of the questions is here.

 

The six airport consultation meetings have concluded. What more do we know?

  1. About 1,500 people attended the sessions and about 95% of attendees were against the proposals. The majority had very strong views.

  2. Information provided by the airport was incomplete, misleading and had no data or sources to justify the statements being made.

  3. It is clear that the main growth in flights is weekend leisure flights and the airport does not have a licence for these. Weekday flights have hardly increased over several years. The proposal to increase flights from 50,000 to 70,000 is only because Rushmoor Borough Council has set a maximum percentage of weekend flights.

  4. The claim that an extension of weekend operating hours is needed to manage congestion is simply not true as can be seen from WebTrak flight data for weekends https://webtrak.emsbk.com/fab.

  5. Airport representatives couldn’t answer many of the questions raised. In fact, quite often, representatives agreed with the concerns of the public.

  6. The balance of benefit vs harm is completely disproportionate with all the benefit being on the airport’s side and all the harm on the public’s. If the airport were to pay for the carbon capture of the emissions it is responsible for, it would cost £25m (2022 flight numbers) which would make it unviable. We will ultimately have to pick up the cost of removing this carbon dioxide.

  7. It is inconceivable that given the urgent need to reduce emissions, the airport is considering and increase in highly polluting flights for a very small number of wealthy people. Most of the public were unaware that there are on average only 2.5 passengers per plane and 40% of flights fly empty.

  8. The proposals are in direct contradiction to the climate emergency that most local councils have declared.

  9. There is inadequate information regarding safety, noise measurement and pollution caused by the airport’s flight operations.

  10. The noise insulation grants and sustainability grants are greenwashing. Few people are eligible for insulation grants and you can’t insulate gardens/outdoor spaces. There has been inadequate assessment of the environmental harm caused by the airport’s operations.

 

Many people felt the area should be developed to create jobs in sustainable industries and use the technology, IT, engineering and sustainability skills available in the M3 corridor. The land would also be better used for affordable housing, schools and services that would reduce the pressure on the green spaces in the area and avoid housing being built in the wrong places (e.g. areas prone to flooding).

Farnborough Noise Group Logo Solo

Farnborough Noise Group

Monday 25th September 2023

What have we learned so far from FAL’s consultations?

 

The first three sessions have taken place and another three take place this week. The deadline for comments is Wednesday 18th October. You can email Contact@FarnboroughAirport2040.com, complete the online form at https://farnboroughairport2040.com/share-your-views/ or complete a paper copy (available at meetings).

 

What have people said about the sessions so far?

 

There are very strong feelings against the proposals with some people in tears at the Maltings event. 90% of people attending the events are against the proposals. There has been a steady increase in people signing the petition.

 

Very little data has been provided by FAL to substantiate the statements being made and many of the challenges by members of the public have resulted in airport representatives agreeing with the public’s views. Some statements by the airport are deliberately misleading. People have commented that the airport’s text regarding emissions gives the impression that flights as well as ground operations aim to achieve net zero. This claim only relates to ground operations. The 98% of emissions from flights remains unabated and will grow significantly with increasing flights.

 

The economic benefits of flight operations have been deliberately mis-represented. For example claiming that “the airport” provides 3,000 jobs locally and £200m GVA but only £2.8m in Corporation Tax was paid in 2021 and only 156 jobs relate to flight operations (HMRC accounts 2021). The majority of jobs and economic value have nothing to do with flights so increasing the number of flights will have marginal benefit but cause considerable harm. Of the direct on-airport jobs, only 18% of them are filled by people living in the borough of Rushmoor (Lichfields 2022 report 6.11).

 

Not surprisingly, there is no mention of the negative impact of the proposals. People who have lived near the airport for many years talk about the constant noise and smell of jet fumes. It is particularly bad at weekends. Before the airport was privatised, there were very few flights on a Saturday and practically none on a Sunday. Now there are up to 20 an hour and people can no longer enjoy being outside. The proposal to increase sound insulation grants only benefits a very small number of people and does nothing to address the increase in noise disturbance outside. The CAA would never approve a new airport in a congested urban area like Farnborough so it is hard to understand why expanding it would be acceptable with the increasing risks to health and safety. Rushmoor Borough Council (and most other councils in the area) objected to the previous increases in flights and presumably those concern have increased, not reduced. There was no measurement of noise or pollution during the PIR, even though the CAA committed to MPs that noise would be measured. It would certainly be inappropriate for a planning authority to consider any increase in flights until adequate noise and pollution monitoring has taken place.

 

The change in flightpaths in 2020 resulted in many people not previously disturbed by aircraft now raising concerns regarding the current number of flights let alone proposals to increase them. The view across all areas is that it is unreasonable that so many people should have their lives blighted by a very small number of people who want to use private jets when almost all the destinations are serviced by commercial flights.

Farnborough Noise Group Logo Solo

Farnborough Noise Group

Thursday 14th September 2023

Stay Grounded

Hi everyone,

Private jets became a target in this year’s Spanish elections in protest at the lack of climate policies by political parties. French and Dutch governments have also made changes to reduce the number of private jets. Stay Grounded is running an online meeting on Thursday 21st September at 16:00 - 17:00 BST for groups working to ban private jets. It will:

  

1) Understand what has happened elsewhere on the issue.

2) Understand what plans there are.

3) Get support - we have people, time, knowledge and some money to share.

  

If you are interested in joining this meeting, please email farnboroughnoise@gmail.com. For obvious reasons, attendees will need to be known by or within an aviation action group.

Farnborough Noise Group

Farnborough Noise Group

Monday 4th September 2023

Sign the petition - https://chng.it/fdKyB4sMWM

Farnborough Airport expansion proposal

Farnborough Airport has today announced that it is starting a consultation that will significantly change the number, time of flights and size of aircraft:​

  1. Flight limits from 50,000 movements to 70,000 movements per year on weekdays and 8,900 movements to 18,900 movements on non weekdays.

  2. Non-weekday operating hours from 08.00-20.00 to 07.00-21.00.

  3. The restricted weight category from 50-80 tonnes to 55-80 tonnes and increase the allowable flights within this category.

This will have a huge impact on the surrounding areas and people with regards to noise and pollution. Given that private jets are up to 40 times more polluting than commercial flights (CO2/passenger mile), it will also further increase CO2 levels and global warming that impacts everyone.

FNG is reviewing the material and will provide further information. The link to Farnborough’s website is here Our proposal – Farnborough Airport (farnboroughairport2040.com)

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Farnborough Noise Group

Tuesday 22nd August 2023 

Surrey Police

On 17th August 2023 Surrey Police issued Colin Shearn, the chair of Farnborough Noise Group, with a 93-page summons to court for anti-social behaviour. Part of this related to complaints made by various aviation groups and the FACC. The intent was effectively a “gaging order” where if he caused “any harassment, alarm, distress, nuisance or annoyance to any person in England and Wales”, he would be arrested.

 

In the witness submissions to police, it is stated that “he” has been “Conducting an aggressive and relentless campaign against Farnborough Airport, the FACC and individuals connected with these organisations over the past 2-3 years”.

 

It goes on to say that Colin Shearn has been “bombarding Farnborough Airport Company, the FACC, Rushmoor Borough Council, the Civil Aviation Authority, the National Air Traffic Service and the Department for Transport with endless questions about air traffic which he alleges causes disturbance to him and the people he claims to represent.” And that “Mr Shearn is described as adopting a belligerent and aggressive style, distorting or misrepresenting a point of view to suit his agenda”.

 

As a result of this, Colin has stepped down as chair of Farnborough Noise Group and John Eriksson will temporarily hold this position until the case is heard. This may not be until 2024 or later. In the meantime, legal representation is being sought to challenge these claims.

 

Further updates will be provided.

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Farnborough Noise Group

Wednesday 16th August 2023

Congratulations image

Wednesday 16th was a big day for the Farnborough Noise Group! The website launched and special thanks must go to Myra and Alex Johnson for building it. The website will replace the monthly newsletters and it will allow more people in the group to contribute as and when things happen. There will be a few things to tidy up and additional sections added over the coming weeks.

 

If there are questions you want answers to or if you have topics you want to be covered, just email farnboroughnoise@gmail.com.

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