New TAG Farnborough flightpath plan ‘creates issues for national park communities’

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The South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) has joined groups across the Midhurst area which are opposing ‘superhighway’ flightpath proposals from TAG Farnborough Airport.

The airport is proposing a more concentrated flightpath for planes approaching Farnborough from the South coast which is set to affect 24 parishes many of which are in the national park.

In their official response to the proposals the national park officers said the park believed “implications and impacts of moving airspace and redirecting air traffic far outweigh any benefit that could come from realigning airspace.”

Making the response on behalf of the national park officer Andy Beattie said: “The SDNPA understands the rationale behind the desire to fly planes over areas that affect fewer people, but one of the special qualities of the South Downs National Park is its ‘tranquil and unspoilt places’. He said park policy sought to ‘protect and enhance tranquillity and dark night skies’.

“Tranquillity is an aspect of how people experience landscapes and a positive factor identified as contributing to tranquillity is the lack of noise and disturbance. Conversely, other identified detracting factors include light pollution and overt signs of human impact – which could include regular sight of commercial aircraft in the sky in the same way as cars visible on a motorway would detract from

tranquillity irrespective of whether they can be heard or not.”

He added: “A pilot who has flown many times into Farnborough over the years offered a solution at a consultation event, that planes flying to Farnborough communicate with Heathrow and Gatwick and slot in with their timetables. This would seem to be a simple solution that maintains the status quo.

“The SDNPA does not consider the impacts of the changes to be in proportion to the problem identified and unnecessarily creates issues elsewhere for communities and other users who have previously been unaffected.”

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