On September 20th a ‘Call to Action’ meeting was held in Churt Village Hall, which was attended by around 100 local residents who are very concerned about the growing noise disturbance from the ‘private jets’ operating from Farnborough Airport and other aircraft noise.

The meeting was organised by local members of Farnborough Noise who are campaigning with local Councils, local MPs, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) , Farnborough Airport and Farnborough Airport Consultative Committee (FACC) to address this growing nuisance.

There was a presentation by Colin Shearn who is a well-recognised expert in the field of Aviation and the Environment. There were a very large number of questions from the floor which is a clear measure of the level of concern locally, not only about noise, but safety and pollution and the negative impact on local business, such as tourism and the film industry.

The purpose of the meeting was to bring residents up to date on the current status and to outline plans to reduce this growing problem.

The recent CAA introduced Airspace Changes have created a much changed and adverse flight path pattern over Churt and surrounding villages.  This too has had a knock-on effect for Heathrow and Gatwick flights over the area which now fly over lower and more frequently, In addition there are now ever larger numbers of private and business helicopter flights at very low altitude – directly as a result of the CAA Airspace Change.

Critically the overall situation is exacerbated by the granting of an increased operating permit of up to 50,000 movements per annum granted to Farnborough Airport Ltd (FAL) by Rushmoor Council. Currently this is running at about 32,000 so it’s going to get much worse!

Within the ‘private jets’ permit FAL has been granted permission for 1500 larger aircraft like Airbus A 320 and Boeing 737 – that means almost 30 flights per week. Of late the number of these larger airliners has been increasing. FAL are seeking to increase the number the flight movements even further, including weekends.

Farnborough Noise is working with the related authorities including the CAA and FACC to bring mitigation to our community which is largely an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). This mitigation is largely focussed on the current 12 month Post Implementation Review (PIR) which assesses variance from the originally granted permission – this review will close March 2023. In addition, there is a wider review of UK airspace, known as the Airspace Modernisation Strategy, which has the potential to massively increase flights over rural areas.

A properly run PIR is essential and should consider issues including:

  • Having the FAL aircraft fly higher to reduce noise
  • Rerouting where practical to ensure lower impact to rural areas- e.g consider major trunk roads as alternate flight paths- these roads have much higher ambient noise anyway
  • Preventing further expansion at Farnborough and where possible reduce the number of current flights, if the noise disturbance cannot be reduced. Particularly noisy aircraft, such as the Challenger 350 and Piaggio Avanti should be banned from using the airport.

Farnborough Airport is now owned by the large Australian private equity and investment bank Macquarie, who are focused in making Farnborough the premier hub for private and business jets in Europe. That said, there is very little local economic benefit, because of offshore tax avoiding structures of many aircraft owners, and that the majority of the airport’s income is from the sale of aviation fuel which is not taxed or subject to duty.

For more information about Farnborough Noise, please visit: www.facebook.com/groups/farnboroughnoise/about/