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“Gatwick flight path changes are astounding and insulting,” say campaigners

PUBLISHED: 11:46 09 December 2014 | UPDATED: 15:54 09 December 2014

Virginia McKenna backs PlaneWrong campaign

Virginia McKenna backs PlaneWrong campaign

Archant

Actress and wildlife activist Virginia McKenna, founder of the Born Free Foundation, has shown her support for local action group PlaneWrong and voiced dismay and concern at recent permanent Gatwick flight path changes.

PlaneWrong was formed in September 2014 by local residents to campaign against permanent flight path changes introduced by Gatwick earlier in the year to the areas south and east of Dorking, which were previously unaffected by aircraft noise.

“I have lived up in the Surrey Hills, near Coldharbour, for 57 years, and have never ceased to appreciate deeply the beauty, sights and sounds of this AONB,” says Virginia.

“Together with the other residents of the area south of Dorking, I am now bombarded from dawn to beyond dusk by the fearful and hideous sound of low-flying planes – often every two to three minutes.”

By uniting communities, PlaneWrong, which includes the villages from Coldharbour to South Nutfield, and Dorking, Reigate and Redhill, now has in excess of 2,000 supporters.

The campaign group is currently seeking advice from legal and aviation experts to submit evidence to the CAA supporting the injustice inflicted on this area.

“Leith Hill rises to a height of 965 feet,” continues Virginia. “Coldharbour village inhabitants have always thought (obviously mistakenly) that the status of AONB afforded special protection not only from the ‘invasion’ of the commercial world on the ground, but also from invasion in the air.

“It is astounding and insulting that the flight path of planes taking off from Gatwick has been changed, with no respect given to those this will affect. The beauty of the natural environment is not only earthbound, it is airborne as well. Perhaps the decision-makers don’t care about bird-song, leaves rustling, the bark of a deer, the hoot of an owl. I now realise ever more how enriched our lives are by these natural sounds.”

“May I request that those who take these seemingly arbitrary decisions come up here before dawn and listen as the low flying aircraft shatter the peace of those early hours and, often, the sleep of thousands who are affected by this hideous and fearful noise.”

The message from PlaneWrong is very clear, the CAA are now conducting a post implementation review of these changes and this will be the last opportunity for residents to tell the CAA how the noise is affecting them.

• All complaints must be received by January 5, 2015. For full details visit the PlaneWrong website at www.planewrong.co.uk

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