On the flight path

A local resident from Dimond Hill gives his opinion on airport expansion and the consultation exercise, and poses some interesting questions.

I live at x Dimond Hill, right under the flight path for Southampton Airport.  I've lived here for more that 10 years, and in that time I've experienced an ongoing creeping expansion of the airport.  There has been an avoidance of real consultation at every stage, and sadly I feel the current so-called consultation is no different.  You probably think the capacity has to go somewhere, and with the failure of London Airport plans we have to merely put up with it.  Not so.

I'd like to know some things, and tell you some too.

First, the problems:

Noise - has increased - too early, too late, too low, too loud.  I used to be able to enjoy my garden but with commercial and private movements every 15 minutes or much less most days and weekends we just have to go elsewhere.  HOW WILL THIS CHANGE?  How much do you know about the effects of this on me now and in the future?  I'd love to measure your estimates now against the reality later (I guess there will be no independent monitoring, and it won't be published).  Do you have a record of exactly how many pilots come in too low or too fast?  Will it take another M27 accident before you care?  How many accidents have you planned for in the master plan and how much collateral damage is acceptable to you?  Who will pay for my extra noise insulation as the racket becomes more and more intrusive?

Jet wash - all the new jet planes don't just make a racket when they come, they make a racket before they come and for about two minutes afterwards.  With flight separations closing this will make for a continuous racket if you double or quadruple traffic.  Damage to my roof tiles hasn't been compensated - you don't even make it easy to know how to claim.

Pollution - I come out of my house in the morning and it smells often like someone has emptied a gallon of paraffin on my front step.  Not every day, but most days.  Do you know the effects?  Do you know how often?  Will you tell me?

Radio Interference.  I listen to the radio and my enjoyment is ruined by pilots calling the tower all the time.  If you can silence a motor bike then why do they cut through all FM transmissions - is there compensation?  I pay my licence fee.

Frightened pets - I'm sure my cat died of fright after enormous Chinooks and massive transport planes came over.  You even seem to think it's a good idea to have WW2 planes.  Is there any limit to the risks you want to put the residents to?  They come over so low, and they care so little about us, merely wanting to hit the time, and take the easiest line in.  What are the precise controls on the flight path?  Do you measure compliance?  How?  Is the result published? 

Distracted drivers/pedestrians - more than once I've seen people watching the planes instead of watching the children or the cars on the way to school (very local, big risk) - how many casualties have you planned for - or can this be explained away as well?

Planning blight - I'll never be able to sell my home for a decent return because you are increasing flights - why will you not compensate me?  What about a flat discount on council tax paid for by BAA?

Traffic problems - We will have more and more traffic on an already pathetic road junction M3/M27.  What are you doing to resolve this within the master plan?

Fear of accident - how many accidents have you planned for?  Is this realistic?  What did you base it on?  How is the compensation scheme funded?


In case you hadn't guessed, I'm implacably opposed to the expansion.

I also require a detailed response to each of the questions raised.  You owe me at least that.  I'll still be here to put up with it long after you have wrapped it up so please do me that service at least.  We'll be able to measure whether this 'consultation' is genuine by your response, and measure the plan against the reality subsequently.

Tony Goodwin

Download the Airport Pressure Group's leaflet, with a letter you can print out and send to the airport, here. (158k pdf file).

There's a public meeting about airport expansion, to be held at Bitterne Park Secondary School, Dimond Road at 7 pm on Friday October 14.

For more information about the aiport's plans, see our other article here.


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