November 2019 – Act now before its to late! Have your say within 2019, read on

Growth at Gatwick – Proposed use of the emergency runway and increased use of the main runway


A legal agreement which prevents the airport from using both existing runways simultaneously has now expired. Gatwick released its final Master Plan in July 2019, having put out a draft for consultation a year ago. It proposed to make use of its emergency runway for regular departures.

The plans envisage a 40 per cent increase in flights and a 53 per cent increase in passenger numbers from 45.7 million in 2017-18 to 70million by 2032. The concern is that the proposed expansion will have serious noise, potential climate and congestion impacts.

Cowden Parish Council responded to this concern through the consultation process which was open to everyone, details were provided through the PC Website and the ‘Cowden Matters magazine’.

Current Status

Gatwick is applying for a Development Consent Order to allow it to use both existing runways, but 60% of the additional traffic (the 40% growth) will come from more intensive use of the main runway. However, the use of a Development Consent Order is very different and we believe that these plans should be fully reviewed through an Independent Planning Process not through a Development Consent Order.

Issues are related to overflight and the aircraft noise impacting a swathe of communities across the South East further impacting on the Parish of Cowden. The airport’s Master Plan markets the proposal. However, we are concerned because

  • Aircraft noise – The Master Plan identifies that there will be more flights but emphasise that that although there will be more aircraft they will be quieter.
  • Aircraft noise – Aircraft noise is being measured as an average, not the peak noise as the aircraft passes overhead disturbing us.
  • Aircraft Noise – Cowden is closer to Gatwick than some of our neighbouring parishes to our East. Approaching aircraft over Cowden are typically 1,200 to 1,500 feet lower than over our adjacent parishes further out from the ILS approach point and hence comparatively significantly noisier. The same rational applies to departing aircraft.
  • Respite – Provided as mitigation to Aircraft noise within the expansion plan. However, Cowden Parish Council are still concerned that this has introduced aircraft movements, hence noise, over a wider area and with time the increased flights will be ‘infill’ these new areas.
  • Aircraft emissions – It has been estimated that the expansion would result in 1millon tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year.


  • The proposed substantial growth at Gatwick through increased utilisation of the main runway and use of the Emergency runway to support commercial flights will cause a very significant impact to the surrounding area through, but not limited to: Implementation of and the impact of the required supporting infrastructure and resulting environmental impacts from increased aircraft movements as well as the almost doubling of passenger movements. The further detrimental impact to the quality of life of persons already affected by aircraft noise.
  • Gatwick Airport should be subject to a full assessment of all the impacts of the proposed growth plans, including public consultation covering all aspects associated with that Growth. That growth on this scale without scrutiny is considered to be contrary to Government policy which requires major growth at all airports to be judged by the relevant planning authority, taking careful account of all relevant considerations, particularly economic and environmental impacts and proposed mitigations.
  • That all necessary measures to ensure that Gatwick’s main runway growth plans are brought within the scope of a robust, independent planning process are taken.

What can we do?

Act now before its to late! Have your say within 2019

As a minimum we need as many Parishioners as possible to raise these concerns, and any others you may have to:

Secretary of State for Transport, The Rt Hon Grant Shapps

Kent County Council, Roger Gough –

Member of Parliament, Tom





January 2019:

Please note – A recent leaflet distributed in Cowden regarding the Gatwick Master Plan

The High Weald Councils Aviation Action Group (HWCAAG) has very recently (Jan 2019) distributed a leaflet to properties within the Parish. Cowden Parish Council was not consulted nor contributed to the content of this leaflet and as conveyed below the Parish Council will be responding to the Gatwick Master Plan directly, as any Cowden Parishioner, or person,  is independently able to.

Remember that your Cowden Voice counts.

Contact Gatwick Airport direct if you are concerned over aircraft noise or if in doubt contact your Parish Council Clerk.

In additon to the Parish Council’s engagement with the various bodies associared with aircraft noise the residents can also get directly involved:

  • Gatwick Airport publish what ‘they are doing’ – click here
  • Gatwick want to hear if we (Cowden) have a aicreaft noise problem – click here
  • Or you can write, phone or email – Click here
  • Track a plane and get exact details to support a noise complaint -Click here

18 October 2018- Gatwick Master Plan

Gatwick sets out ambitious future growth plan, including routine use of its existing standby runway as part of their ‘’Draft Master Plan 2018.’’

This is major increase in flights, potential for further night flights and the associated disruption both bring. The current continuing use, growth and development of respite may result in acceptance of flights traffic and noise over a wider area near term (now) that is subsequently ‘filled in’ through the increased resulting capacity this would bring is approved.

There will be consultations open to all in the future so its paramount this is supported by all. Cowden Parish Council, as in the past, will respond to any consultation but the public can respond to.

The London Gatwick Airport official Press release issued 18 October 2018 can be accessed by clicking Here

The master plan can be accessed by clicking here and an overview accessed by clicking here . This site includes a link to enable the Draft Master Plan Consultation. This consultation will run from 18 October 2018 to 5 pm on 10 January 2019



July and August 2018 was an exceptionally ‘noisy’ time for both arrivals and departures over Cowden. The relative wind speed was very low so not a factor wrt which runway was used, the aircraft altitude (via the Gatwick Airport Aircraft Tracker) showed a much lower altitude too – have your say and use the link above to register any concerns!


January 2017 – The Department of Transport have released a consultation document regarding night Flight Restrictions at Gatwick, Heathrow and Stansted. Cowden Parish Council will be responding, however anyone can respond and the consultation process is accessible here


Runway expansion ”decison” 25 October 2016

The ”decision” is located here, however there are a number of decison gates and a consultation process that will now be undertaken so our involvement remains key.


Gatwick Arrivals Review Overview and Proposed Action Plan 31st March 2016 (click here)

As a result of an increase in the number of complaints received by Gatwick, especially with respect to arriving aircraft, the airport’s board of directors commissioned an Independent Arrivals Review. The review is available here

Cowden Parish Council will be responding to this consultaiton and would encourage parisioners to do the same as well as contacting Gatwick through the links on this page to lodge noise complaints. Every complaint lodged counts, multiple complaints on one submittal cout as a single complaint, all complaints have equal weighting.

Third Runway

July 2nd 2015 Airport commision report recomende heathrow, click here for the news release made 7am on July 2nd 2015. Its not over but hopefuly a step closer through the hard campaigning from many communities. However, Gatwick consultations are on going, in particulat night flights and with a total ban on Heathrow night flights recomended by the commision through any expansion this remains a real threat to all..

The article states that

The Airports Commission has backed a third Heathrow runway, saying it will add £147bn in economic growth and 70,000 jobs by 2050.

It would also connect Britain to over 40 new destinations around the world.

Sir Howard Davies’s report said that the new runway should come with severe restrictions to reduce the environmental and noise effects.

Night flights would be banned and the government would make a Parliamentary pledge not to build a fourth runway.

An aviation noise levy would fund insulation for homes and schools and a legal commitment would be made on air quality



On November 11th, 2014 the Airports Commision published an open consultation titled ”Increasing the UK’s long-term aviation capacity”. Cowden Parish Council will be responding to this Consultation document as any indivual can. To access the consultation document then click ‘here‘ . The consultation closes on February 3rd, 2015 at 23:45 hrs.

Remember that you can also contact your Parish Council and your local and district Cllrs along with our MP regarding concerns associated within the consultation documents that may impact Cowden and the quality of life within the Parish.

Kent County Council opposes Gatwick’s plans for a second runway – Click ‘here

Tunbridge Wells Borough Council oppose plans – Gatwick Expansion, Click ‘here


Phase 2 Consultation – Noise preferential routes and respite options

On the 23 May 2014 Gatwick Airport launched a Gatwick led phase 2 of the consultation engaging with communities affected by impacts not consulted on as part of phase 1 of this [Airspace Consultation] consultation. These impacts include: changes in noise contours; changes to or new noise preferential routes; and rotating respite options.

The consultation will run for 12 weeks and Gatwick Airport is looking for feedback on the following design options:

  • Options for departure routes and associated Noise Preferential Routes (NPRs) for departure flight paths – this includes options for realignment and options for respite
  • Night-time respite options for arrivals
  • Updating existing Noise Preferential Routes and their associated swathes to take account of changes to flight path concentration as a result of the switch to Performance Based Navigation (PBN) routes implemented in November 2013

Cowden Parish Council will be responding to this consultaiton on behalf of the Parish. The consultaion can be found by clicking here.


Public Domain – the second runway at Gatwick

What the Sunday telegraph reported on September 15th 2013 about the second runway, click here


March 2013

Gatwick Airport flight performance team (FPT) – previously called the flight evaluation team – produces a variety of publications, including quarterly and annual reports and noise studies.

The reports contain detailed data about aircraft activity at Gatwick, including adherence to noise mitigation measures, night flying, an update on the community noise monitoring programme and an analysis of complaints and enquiries received. The reports can be accessed here


Feb 2013

Cowden Parish council continues to lobby Members of Parliment, District and Local Cllrs regarding aircraft noise and the effects and concerns within the community. Gatwick register community concerns primarily by individual concerns raised by parishioners over aircraft noise through the noise line. Please use this service, details below, to register any concerns that you have. Please also let the Parish Council know if a complaint is submitted to the noise line.

The dft have issued a night flying consultation, the Parish Coucil will be responding to this document. If you have any points that you would like to raise then please write to the parish Clerk, contact details are on the site home page.

Night Flight Consultation

This initial consultation seeks views on night flying restrictions at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted.

As a first step to setting the next night flights regime, the dft are using this consultation to gather evidence to inform both our development of options for the next regime and the work of the Airports Commission.

This is an open call for evidence and the dft want to gather evidence now to help us assess the relative feasibility of different options.

 On 22 January the Civil Aviation Authority published 2 documents, commissioned by the department as part of the dft review of evidence on the costs and benefits of night flights: a review of the sleep disturbance and health effects of aircraft noise; and a proposed methodology for estimating the value of sleep disturbance and health effects


CAA and the Environment – Improving Aviation’s Sustainability Now and for the Future

In April 2012 Cowden Parish Council submitted a response the consultation document,  “CAA and the Environment – Improving Aviation’s Sustainability Now and for the Future”.  The consultation document scopes the role of the CAA in assisting the aviation industry to improve its environmental performance.

Update Dec 2011

Gatwick Airport completed a series of workshops within the area that may be affected by these proposals, Cowden PC attended.


Gatwick state that: We want to find out what you think of our plans and, where we can, we will take action to address any issues you raise. That is what this site ( is for. We’ve designed it to enable you to access as much, or as little detail, on our proposals as you want and to tell us what you think of them.And don’t forget, if you want to come along in person and ask us questions about this plan, you can. During October, November and December we are holding drop in sessions in the area around Gatwick. We’d be really pleased to see you.



Since 1991, annual passenger numbers have increased from 18.7 million to a high of 35.1million in 2007.  The plan (note this is a large file , section 6.2.3 page 48, identifies an increase to 40 million passengers per annum by 2020, growth still well within the airports capability – significantly more flights in and out. More flights = more noise which may adversely affect your quality of life.



The public are invited to attend this meeting at Edenbridge WI hall December 9th, 2011 between 2 and 3-30pm.




We have received a number of concerns from residents regarding Aircraft Noise, are you concerned? The Government are considering options to change the way airports operate, this could result in Gatwick implementing a dispersal startegy. The dispersal strategy spreads aircraft over a wider area than currenlty, this could result in more aircraft over Cowden and hence more noise. What can you do?

Contact the Parish Clerk and register your concern and contact Gatwick Airport direct via or phone Freephone 0800 393 070 (please note, this is a voicemail facility).

UPDATE 16 Ocrober 2011

Whilst a change to the glide path of approaching aircraft is good news, any dispersal strategy may increase the effects of noise over Cowden


An increase in aircraft will only result in more noise! See the latest information about a potential  large increase in flights to Gatwick


Visit to view the dedicated consultation website.

Please contact the Clerk if you have any concerns on this matter