News Letters

June 2019

Dear Councillor,

As you may be aware, Biggin Hill Airport is planning for further expansion, in spite of not having yet kept

most of the pledges it made in order to obtain a 24% increase in operating hours.

We are very concerned at noting that the Council is making no attempt at ensuring compliance and is not

exercising duty of care towards its residents. We are therefore writing to bring to your attention the fact

that pledges and conditions of approval appear to have been “forgotten” and to ask you, as councillor, to

intervene and rectify this untenable situation.

You are aware that in 2015 Biggin Hill Airport applied to Bromley Council as Landlord for an extension in

operating hours. The extended hours have been in operation since April 2017 and are now longer than

those at City Airport, Northolt Airport and Farnborough Airport, which obviously attracts here air traffic at

unsociable hours when other airports are closed. Please see the table below for comparison.

Northolt Airport Farnborough Airport City Airport Biggin Hill Airport

08.00 to 20.00 on

weekdays

08.00 to 15.00 on

Saturdays

12.00 to 19.00 on

Sundays

12.00 to 19.00 on

Bank Holidays

Total per week: 72.00

07.00 to 22.00 on

weekdays

08.00 to 20.00 on

Saturdays

08.00 to 20.00 on

Sundays

08.00 to 20.00 on

Bank Holidays

Total per week: 99.00

06.30 to 22.30 on

weekdays

06.30 to 13.00 on

Saturdays

12.30 to 22.30 on

Sundays

09.00 to 22.30 on

Bank Holidays

Total per week: 96.50

06.30 to 23.00 on

weekdays

08.00 to 22.00 on

Saturdays

08.00 to 22.00 on

Sundays

08.00 to 22.00 on

Bank Holidays

Total per week: 110.50

NB – The weekly totals in this table do not consider Bank Holidays, which are however included for information

Prior and during the application process, Biggin Hill Airport made 9 pledges to the Council and the

residents. Only the two least helpful ones (Pledge 2 and Pledge 8) have been kept, as noted below.

Pledge 1 – No increase in flights over 2010 levels

This was defined as a cap of 50,000 movements per year. However, the Council accepted a distorted

definition when it came to transcribe the cap into a formal agreement. It linked it to average noise

contours. Only if the number of flights is higher than 50,000 AND some average noise contours are

breached, the Airport would negotiate new parameters with the Council. Is this a cap? In fact, this

definition could cause the number of movements to escalate exponentially. An eminent acoustic expert

(Stephen Turner), who was a government advisor on aviation noise for fifteen years, was appointed by

Flightpath Watch. He stated that “if all the aircraft using LBHA were to become 3 dB less noisy, the

movements could be doubled and the same contour area achieved. It would seem that there was no

difference in impact, but it is highly likely that those living nearby would not perceive the noise reduction

from each individual movement but would notice the doubling of movements and be adversely affected by

it.”(ST Acoustics, Nov. 2015, 3.6).

The Council were provided with the report by ST Acoustics but decided to disregard it. The result is that

there is no 50,000 cap on movements.

Pledge 2 – No new runways – we don’t need them

In fact, the airport closed the smaller of its two runways but this was not beneficial to residents. Runway

R29/11, has now been converted into a parking area for Bombardier aircraft and the flying schools (the

main users of R29/11) have been incentivised to leave. The airport is now replacing light aircraft with large

aircraft. The noise and visual impact is greater for residents, on arrival but also on take-off, which requires

considerable more thrust.

For your information:

In 2016 there were 7,957 jet-charter movements

In 2018 there were 10,539 jet-charter movements (+32%).

Pledge 3 – No commercial airlines – we want to stick to business aviation

Some of you may remember that the Council took the Airport to court in 2000 to have certain clauses of

the Lease clarified in view of certain breaches by the Airport. The Judge at the Court of Appeal found for

the Council and excluded from Business Aviation both i) the sale of individual tickets – only chartering of jets

by one individual or company for its own business purposes being allowed, and ii) flights to holiday

destinations. However i) a request to the Council to monitor how tickets are sold on the large transatlantic

flights that now operate at the airport has been rejected and ii) we know that flights to and from holiday

destinations continue, as demonstrated by Flightradar 24, a well-known flight tracker website.

Pledge 4 – No expansion beyond the existing airport boundary

In September 2013, Regional Airlines, the parent of BHAL, bought the Milking Lane Farm, located at the

Northern end of the runway. During a question-time session at the Council, we asked for the map of the

“existing” boundary of the airport. Cllr Carr (a staunch airport supporter) stopped the officer who was

attempting to reply, from showing the map. It is fair to assume that the boundary of the airport has been

extended to incorporate the Milking Lane Farm.

In addition, the airport has asked for certain green-belt areas within the boundary to be excluded from the

green belt. Some areas were released in the new local plan, but very recently a new massive hangar of 5.2

acres has been approved by the Council on green-belt land that had not been released. Moreover, this

approval was granted in spite of the hangar not being built by Biggin Hill Airport Limited but by a tenant, a

factor that ought to have invalidated Permitted Development Rights and required the plans to be

presented to a planning committee. We are also aware that the Planning Officer initially contacted by the

Airport had rejected the application.

Pledge 5 – New noise monitoring equipment with full public access to the data, and new noise limits

enforced by the Council

In exchange for the considerable (24%) increase in operating hours, BHAL offered to implement a noise

monitoring and track-keeping system, accessible to the public. The system is now in operation but:

1. The noise limits accepted by Bromley Council are so wide and averaged over 16-hour periods that they

are virtually ‘un-breachable’. The Noise Monitoring part of the System is therefore worthless.

2. The track-keeping system does not appear to show the correct location of most flights. Residents who

have experienced a flight right overhead, find that the system records it some 500/600 metres away.

The airport is aware, as is the Council, but residents’ empirical observations are not listened to.

3. One of the conditions for approval of the new hours was that a council officer would be employed to

monitor compliance with the requested conditions – there is no sign that this officer is going to be

appointed.

Pledge 6 – New approach procedures keeping planes higher for longer

The intention was to keep aeroplanes above 3000 ft for longer before they started their descent. A trial

was announced in March 2015 but came to nothing. Now very large aircraft overfly residential areas North

of the airport at less than 2000 ft from the ground. Over the hospital and the Farnborough and Crofton

areas they are at less than 1000 ft from the ground.

The airport also promised a new route to the Southern end of the runway (R03) that would reduce the

impact on the communities to the North of the airport by some 30%. As at today’s date, there is no sign of

this new route being approved by the CAA, let alone implemented.

Pledge 7 – Preventing light aircraft flying over residential areas

Helicopters are classified as small aircraft in the MIL, the document that the Airport itself wrote and is now

attached to the Deed of Variation of the Lease. That document defines a small number of residential areas

that ought to be avoided by light aircraft but they are not. Helicopters are increasing in numbers and do

not respect the noise-sensitive areas listed in the MIL.

For your information:

In 2016 there were 2,677 helicopter movements

In 2018 there were 3,613 helicopter movements (+35%)

Moreover, with the relocation of the flying schools, training circuits by light aircraft have been replaced by

large aircraft, training or testing, circling over residential areas every three or four minutes, sometimes for

hours, at high speed and very low level. The effect is devastating for residents’ homes: these circuits are

extremely noisy, scary and downright dangerous. This practice was stopped for a period, but it appears to

have started again.

Pledge 8 – Annual Festival of Flight protected

The Festival of Flight is continuing, for now.

Pledge 9 – A new aviation training college

Given that this was advertised by the Airport, we all expected BHAL to build and run the aviation college.

However it now appears that it is going to be paid for by the tax-payer and run by Bromley College, with the

Airport only contributing aviation training.

In addition to the funds provided by the GLA, we note from one of the minutes of the Airport Consultative

Committee that Bromley Council has undertaken to contribute £1 million for the College. However, BHAL

has expressed the view that “this should be used on road improvements to make the site viable”. As we

know from a recent LoCate document “A Case for Growth”, road infrastructure is one of the airport’s main

requirements, so access to the college may not be the real objective of the Airport’s request for public

funding.

In the next letter (we are only planning one more), we will be analysing how the conditions imposed by the

Council (some overlapping the Airport’s pledges) have proved equally unsatisfactory.

We hope you will understand that, after more than two years from the implementation of the extended

hours and many reminders to Council members and officers, residents are becoming increasingly frustrated

at the Council’s unwillingness to keep its promises to the affected residents. We trust you will agree that

this is not acceptable and that you will intervene to ask for the enforcement of all pledges and conditions.

Thank you very much for your attention.

Kind regards

Robert Pattullo

Chairman

Flightpath Watch Ltd

Dear Member

May 2019

Last year, members of Flightpath Watch argued with the Council for several months that, below

2500 feet, it had the powers to move training or testing circuits by aircraft to open countryside, so as

not to disturb densely populated residential areas, particularly during the weekend.

Training circuits by small aircraft have traditionally used Plan B and Plan C in the map below (taken

from the airport website https://www.bigginhillairport.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/BHAFlight-

Routes.pdf ). Plan C became obsolete when runway 29/11 was closed to the flying schools

and given to Bombardier for their own parking and other purposes.

The real problem however started when training by the small aircraft of the private flying schools

was replaced by training on the much larger aircraft now in use at the airport and by testing of all

types of large aircraft by the servicing companies now based at the airport (Bombardier for

example). Those incessant circuits overflying our homes at low level by very large aircraft, every 3

minutes for hours, became unbearable, scary at times and downright dangerous. After several

exchanges with the Council, such circuits appeared to stop. With the new Chief Executive Officer at

the airport, they have started again. The example below happened on Saturday 27th April and lasted

from 14.10 to 15.22 – Not a pleasant afternoon in the garden!

Planning laws give local authorities the power to design and control flying routes below 2500 ft by

imposing plannig conditions, mainly via section 106 of planning laws. Bromley incorrectly refutes

this.

Initially Council officers were convinced that all routes, even below 2500 ft, are controlled by the

CAA, which is not true. The CAA has confirmed repeatedly and unequivocally that below 2500 ft

(Class G), airspace is unregulated and not part of the CAA’s responsibilities. The use of airspace

below 2500 feet is regulated by the airport during opening hours and not regulated at all after the

airport is closed. We leave aside, for the purpose of this newsletter, the dangers that unregulated

airspace causes (terrorism, for instance) and focus on the Council’s responsibility.

Having had to accept that they had been incorrectly informed with regard to the design and control

of routes below 2500 feet, Bromley now states that operations at Biggin Hill Airport are determined

by a Lease, not by planning laws. This is again not completely correct. There are opportunities that

the Council could use to intervene and mitigate the misery of the residents affected. We have

written to the Aviation Environment Federation, of which Flightpath Watch is a member. They

replied: “…. More importantly, perhaps, is the attitude of the local authority […] irrespective of the

lease, this shouldn’t prevent Bromley from seeking additional opportunities to control activities

through the planning system. It does of course require a planning application but there have been

several over the years. This is how Farnborough operates – the s106 has a clause that requires

regular monitoring and reporting. It could be introduced at Biggin Hill but it would require both the

willingness indicated above and the opportunity.” (29.11.2018)

It is sad to see how Bromley has so little interest in protecting its residents. Now that the circuits

appear to have started again, we need to insist with the Council that it has to exercise duty of care.

MEMBERSHIP RENEWAL

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It is £10 for a year.

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April 2019

Dear Member

Is this the quiet before the storm? Flightpath Watch has been keeping an eye on events at the airport and

two unravelling and possibly entwined items are cause for concern.

First, you may have seen in the local press that Will Curtis has resigned as the Airport Managing Director

(effective 31st March 2019) and has been replaced, with the enhanced title of CEO, by David Winstanley,

formerly chief operating officer of Birmingham Airport.

Second, it has been documented many times over the past 25 years that Mr Walters, the leaseholder of the

airport, has aspirations to run scheduled services. This aspiration was seconded by the previous Leader of

Bromley Council, Stephen Carr (as reported in the January 2013 minutes to the Airport Consultative

Committee), in spite of the Council having spent a considerable amount of taxpayers’ money to prove

through the High Courts that this is not admissible under the Lease. We trust that the new Leader of the

Council will be more respectful of undertakings, open or implied.

In 2015, Mark Bowen, legal officer and Director of Corporate Services at Bromley Council, wrote that, by

virtue of law s84 of the law of Property Act 1925, the Airport has the right to ask for a change to the Lease

after 25 years of signing (i.e. May this year). We know, from talking to individual councillors, that

scheduled flights would be the ultimate goal if the Lease were to change. Flightpath Watch has however

obtained a more accurate, albeit currently unofficial, legal opinion from the property partner of a major

London firm, which contradicts Mark Bowen’s interpretation because he had overlooked subsections s84

(11) and (11A) of the Act as amended in 1969. The effect of the 1969 amendment is to disapply s84 in the

case of restrictions in the use of any land as an aerodrome when such restrictions are for the benefit of

public authorities.

It is worth mentioning that this is the same Mark Bowen who accepted that the Airport’s unhelpful

definition of “cap on movements” be admitted to the Deed of Variation of the Lease. As explained in

previous letters (June 2018 being the latest on this topic), the Council made a cap of 50,000 flights a year a

condition of approval of the extended hours. However, the definition of the cap as transcribed in the

document forming part of the Deed of Variation states that the cap on movements is only applicable if

there is a breach to the very wide and averaged noise parameters (which are virtually un-breachable)

granted to the Airport. An eminent acoustic expert appointed by Flightpath Watch, who warned the Council

to no avail, stated that “if all the aircraft using LBHA were to become 3 dB less noisy, the movements could

be doubled and the same contour area achieved. It would seem that there was no difference in impact, but

it is highly likely that those living nearby would not perceive the noise reduction from each individual

movement but would notice the doubling of movements and be adversely affected by it.”(ST Acoustics, Nov.

2015, 3.6).

We are therefore very wary of how the Council’s legal officers may apply their interpretation of concepts

and laws.

We are now in 2019 and the Airport has appointed a new CEO from a national airport. It could be that the

Airport’s campaign for the extension of the hours (led by Will Curtis) has been discredited in so far as none

of the material promises made by the Airport has come true (see Flightpath Watch Newsletter dated

November 2018), and the Council is aware of it, or it could be that the Airport is indeed intending to

challenge the Lease again and apply for scheduled flights to be allowed. In any event, fresh blood in the

person of David Winstanley was probably needed to tackle the next challenge.

The question is, are we residents ready to oppose the next threat to our environment? We will keep you

informed as soon as we hear whether our concerns are justified.

Meanwhile, the extra charges during airport shoulder hours (early mornings and late evenings), which were

devised to discourage early and late air traffic, have been cancelled by the Airport.

Please keep reading our newsletters for more information and please renew your subscriptions (or

donations) when they become due in May. A reminder will be sent. It is your contributions that enable

Flightpath Watch to continue its research and obtain professional advice. Thank you.

Kind regards,

Flightpath Watch Ltd

November 2018

Dear Member

,

There was a good attendance at the Flightpath Watch Open Meeting held on

1st October 2018 and a lively discussion which is summarised below. There

was clear concern that further expansion at Biggin Hill Airport (BHA) presents a

threat to our environment and to our everyday lives.

Transport

Concern was expressed about the effect on the local roads infrastructure

resulting from increased activity at BHA and the extended hours. An increase

in traffic has already been evident in Shire Lane, Keston and in Farnborough

Village. The possibilities of widening of Shire Lane and / or the development of

a link road from the M25 were discussed and questions were raised about

where the funding for such projects would come from.

Scheduled Flights

In allowing the Lease to be modified to extend the operating hours at the

Airport, LBB has opened the door to the possibility of it being further changed

and the removal of the restriction on scheduled flights would be one area which

would greatly benefit Biggin Hill Airport Limited (BHAL). There was a

discussion about how much support there would be from LBB Councillors to

prevent any further changes to the Lease, particularly in relation to scheduled

flights. Because the whole borough is not impacted by development at the

Airport, it is difficult to get the necessary majority of opinion to prevent

it. Residents in those areas which are affected must convince the new Leader

of the Council that airport expansion is still a real issue for them.

Helicopters

The increasing number of helicopters flying over this area is clearly causing

some concern, but BHAL is keen to attract more business and a helicopter link

to central London supports this. Helicopter flights are unlikely to decrease.

BHAL pledges

At the time of its request to extend the operating hours at the Airport, BHAL

made a number of pledges, many of which have yet to come to fruition and

some of which were not within its remit anyway. The discussion particularly

centred on aircraft-related noise. Flightpath Watch gave assurances that it

continues to keep pressure on LBB to ensure that BHAL keeps its side of the

bargain, but so far there has been little in the way of response from LBB.

Handling of complaints

Many people expressed frustration at how complaints to BHAL had been

handled. This is also a matter that Flightpath Watch has raised with LBB.

Support from LBB Councillors

With the exception of the local Councillors in Petts Wood, the reluctance of

other LBB Councillors to engage with residents on issues regarding the Airport

is a cause for concern. Although promised as part of BHAL’s campaign to win

the extended hours, a Monitoring Officer working at the Council has yet to be

appointed and there appears to be a definite bias in favour of BHAL in

decisions.

THE FLIGHTPATH WATCH COMMITTEE THANKS YOU FOR YOUR

CONTINUED SUPPORT.

Kind regards,

Flightpath Watch Ltd

June 2018

Dear Member

You will remember that Biggin Hill Airport made nine pledges to residents when it

launched its survey in support of extended operating hours. The new operating

hours were implemented on 1st May 2017. A year later, we think it useful to look

at how many of these pledges have been kept.

Pledge 1 – No increase in flights over 2010 levels

This was defined as a cap of 50,000 movements per year. However, the council accepted a distorted

definition of this cap, so that it is only valid for five years (presumably from the date of implementation of

the new hours on 1st May 2017, but this is not clear). After the first 5 years, the cap is linked to an average

noise metric that could effectively see the number of movements escalate exponentially since modern

aircraft are becoming relatively less noisy. An eminent acoustic expert appointed by Flightpath Watch

stated that “if all the aircraft using LBHA were to become 3 dB less noisy, the movements could be doubled

and the same contour area achieved. It would seem that there was no difference in impact, but it is highly

likely that those living nearby would not perceive the noise reduction from each individual movement but

would notice the doubling of movements and be adversely affected by it.”(ST Acoustics, Nov. 2015, 3.6). It is

also worth highlighting that the January 2018 minutes of the Airport Consultative Committee put the yearly

total for 2017 at 49,457 movements.

When questioned on this point (repeatedly) by a resident, Council’s solicitor Marc Bowen finally admitted

on 23rd June 2016 that: “I would acknowledge that the test will come if at a future date the Council needs to

‘enforce’ the provision”. In spite of having been warned about this weakness in both language and

methodology when defining and enforcing the cap, the Council proceeded to sign the Deed of Variation

approving the increase in operating hours without any amendment or clarification.

THE REALITY: we have a cap that cannot be enforced.

Pledge 2 – No new runways – we don’t need them

It actually transpired that the opposite was true: the airport did not even want the second of the two

runways it had. The smaller of the two, R29/11, has now been converted into a parking area for

Bombardier aircraft and the flying schools (the main users of R29/11) have been given six months to

relocate to other airports. After all the support the flying schools, their pilots and clients, gave BHAL at the

time of the survey, they must feel truly betrayed.

THE REALITY: the airport is increasingly replacing light aircraft with large aircraft. This will help maintain the

cap for a while longer, but the substitution is not advantageous to the local residents.

Pledge 3 – No commercial airlines – we want to stick to business aviation

There are two aspects to this statement:

A) If BHAL intends to keep to business aviation, will it stop flights to holiday destinations?

B) Is BHAL intending to renounce its aspiration for scheduled flights?

A) Whilst we believe that it is the airport’s intention to avoid the cheaper end of tourism, we know that

flights to holiday destinations (Sardinia, Cote D’Azur, Malaga, Alicante, Sevilla, ski resorts, etc) are

often advertised on the Empty-Leg sections of operators such as FlyVictor or PrivateFly. This

contravenes the Permitted User Clause in the Lease, as defined in 2000 at the Courts of Appeal. While

trying to unravel certain definitions of Business Aviation proposed by the Airport, the judge stated

(clause 122): “This is all the more so when one appreciates the true extent of the “Paris” point, that it

would enable BHAL for example to operate weekend or Christmas flights to Paris which clearly have no

likely business connection whatever”. After spending considerable time, energy and money to take the

Airport to the High Courts, the Council now seems inexplicably reluctant to enforce the judgement it

fought for.

B) In October 2014, at the same time as it was making the above pledge, the Airport made a submission

to the House of Commons Transport Committee (published in March 2015), on the subject of Small

Airports (written evidence number 30, item 4.7): “The London Borough of Bromley as Freeholder, will

need to approve the forthcoming application by the tenant (BHAL) to [increase the operating hours

and] allow passengers who paid a fare to have access to the airport on a quantified basis … “ BHAL

have now obtained the increase in hours. An application for the second part of the proposal, i.e. the

introduction of fee-paying passengers (prohibited by the Permitted User Clause of the Lease as defined

at the Court of Appeal in 2000) may follow. It is then just a small step to the introduction of

commercial/scheduled airlines.

THE REALITY: Flights to holiday destinations already operate at the airport, contrary to a High Court

judgement, and we fear that scheduled airlines will come next.

Pledge 4 – No expansion beyond the existing airport boundary

In September 2013, Regional Airlines, the parent of BHAL, bought the Milking Lane Farm, located at the

Northern end of the main (now the only) runway. During a question-time session at the Council, we asked

for the map indicating the “existing” boundary of the airport to be made available. A council officer was

prepared to show it but Councillor Carr, a staunch BHAL supporter, stopped him from doing so. We still do

not have an answer to our question but it is fair to assume that the boundary of the airport has been

extended to incorporate the Milking Lane Farm. In addition, the airport has asked for certain green-belt

areas within the boundary to be excluded from the green belt.

THE REALITY: The airport is likely to have already expanded beyond the original boundary and construction

may occur on green-belt areas if the Council authorises the Airport’s request.

Pledge 5 – New noise monitoring equipment with full public access to the data, and new noise limits

enforced by the Council

In exchange for the considerable (24%) increase in operating hours, BHAL offered to implement a noise

monitoring and track-keeping system, accessible by the public. The system is now in operation but:

1. The noise limits accepted by Bromley Council are so wide and averaged over 16-hour periods that they

are virtually ‘un-breachable’. The Noise Monitoring part of the System is therefore worthless.

2. The system also allows for track-keeping of aircraft (of which there are many breaches) however the

Airport has not made the correct tracks available on the system, so that it is difficult for the average

resident to know when an aeroplane is off track. The airport’s flying routes are however available on

its website and we have become familiar with them. Even when we are sure that there is a breach, the

airport either denies it or, more recently, refuses to answer by providing a general statement.

3. The track-keeping system does not appear to be calibrated correctly. Residents who have experienced

a flight right overhead, find that the system records it some 500/600 metres away. The airport has

been alerted but is refusing to acknowledge or address the point.

4. One of the conditions for approval of the hours was that a council officer would be employed to

supervise compliance with the requested conditions – there is no sign yet that this officer is going to

be appointed.

THE REALITY: The noise-monitoring and track-keeping system appears to be a tool for the airport to silence

residents rather than for the residents to be offered protection from malpractice.

Pledge 6 – New approach procedures keeping planes higher for longer

The intention was to keep aeroplanes above 3000 ft for longer before they started their descent. A trial

was announced in March 2015 but came to nothing. Now very large aircraft overfly the hospital and

residential communities around Crofton and Farnborough at less than 1500 ft.

The airport also promised a new route to the southern end of the runway (R03) that would reduce the

impact on the communities to the North of the airport by some 30%. Two years later, on 31st May 2018,

the CAA informed us that the proposal had finally reached them but no timing has been offered for its

approval. We are informed that the analysis of the proposal will take 16 weeks once started.

THE REALITY: Planes are NOT flying higher and, because of the size of aircraft now using Biggin Hill, the

impact on residents has increased considerably.

Pledge 7 – Preventing light aircraft flying over residential areas

With the relocation of the flying schools to other small

airports, training circuits by light aircraft have reduced and

will continue to reduce. However, it appears that a new trend

has started, with large aircraft now using those circuits for

their training and maintenance testing. The effect is

devastating, as large aeroplanes have started to circle

repeatedly, at speed and at low level over the homes of many

residents, particularly in the sky over Keston and Hayes (see

image to the right).

THE REALITY: light aircraft will reduce in numbers but large aircraft flying and circling at low level are on the

increase.

Pledge 8 – Annual Festival of Flight protected

Festivals of Flights have indeed been organised every year over the past few years. The next will be on 18th

and 19th August 2018.

THE REALITY: This pledge is the only pledge being kept.

Pledge 9 – A new aviation training college

Given that this was advertised by the Airport, we all expected BHAL to build and run the aviation college. At

a recent public meeting in Green Street Green, an airport officer was still stating that “BHAL” would be

starting work in January/February 2019.

However, it is now known that:

A) the cost will be in the region of £12 million, mainly provided by the tax-payers via the GLA.

B) Bromley Council will provide at least £1 million, but it is revealing that, in the minutes of the January

2018 meeting of the Airport Consultative Committee, BHAL expressed the view that “this should be

used on road improvements to make the site viable”. As we know from a recent LoCate document “A

Case for Growth”, road infrastructure is one of the airport’s main requirements, so access to the

college may not be the main objective.

C) It is believed that Bromley would be restructuring and refurbishing the ex RAF officers’

accommodation (previously on a long lease to Formula One) and that those buildings would

accommodate the College. However, most courses would be run by Bromley College, which already

has large and well equipped premises on Hastings Road. This prompts the question of whether there

is need for more premises to be funded by the public purse.

D) In the minutes of the January 2018 meeting of the Airport Consultative Committee, the airport

expressed an interest in making use of the Formula One lands and buildings (ex RAF).

E) BHAL will provide aviation and engineering expertise.

THE REALITY: Bromley and London taxpayers will pay for the college and courses will mainly be run by

Bromley College. BHAL will add aviation and engineering expertise.

Kind regards

Flightpath Watch Ltd

April 2018

Dear Member

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1. Cheque to Chairman of Flightpath Watch, 125 Cudham Lane North, Orpington, BR6 6BY

2. Bank transfer to account 58604227, Sort Code 60-08-14 (NatWest)

3. Paypal account via our website http://flightpathwatch.co.uk/

THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR SUPPORT

THE APRIL NEWSLETTER

The local elections are soon approaching. Flightpath Watch Ltd is an apolitical group in the sense that we do

not promote any wide-ranging political policies and have members belonging to all political parties, however

we are of course keeping abreast of statements made by candidates, both at local and national level, on

matters that may affect our environment and the enjoyment of our homes. We cannot and do not want to

influence your choice on any local political matters but we list below our understanding of each candidate’s

position in the Biggin Hill ward, the most relevant, albeit not necessarily the most affected, when it comes to

development at the airport.

These are the candidates:

Julian Benington and Melanie Stevens, previous Conservative candidates but now standing as Independent,

have always been staunch supporters of development at the airport, against, it would appear, the wishes of

the people of Biggin Hill. During Flightpath Watch’s campaign against the extension of the operating hours,

which we correctly feared would have helped increase traffic of large aircraft and helicopters, 83% of the

residents of Biggin Hill who responded to our survey voted against the increase in hours, yet Julian Benington

and Melanie Stevens voted in favour. They also supported the current development of the St George’s Chapel

against wide local protest.

Linda Hewitt and Toby Sims, the new Conservative candidates, have expressed awareness that the airport

causes serious environmental issues and have criticised their own party for the treatment of the residents’

wishes on both matters of extension of the hours and the choice of the architectural design for the St

George’s Chapel. Controversially, they also stayed away from a debate organised by the Biggin Hill Residents

Association (which we understand has some 300 members), who have received a donation of £5000 a year

from the Airport since at least 2009 and often speak up in its favour. However, the Conservative candidates

have recently participated in a visit to the airport by the Leader of the House of Commons, Andrea Leadsom.

Karen Wheller and Paul Enock, representing the Green Party, have not openly pronounced themselves on

their stance on development at the airport in this instance but we are aware from our campaign against the

increase in the hours that they have spoken up against damage to the environment and sleep deprivation.

They are also aware of the plans for growth that the Airport have recently presented (this was also the topic

of our January and February newsletters).

Julian Granger and Emmett Jenner of UKIP have not mentioned the airport in their current campaign but

expressed themselves in favour of development on previous occasions.

Clive Gunby, representing Labour, has recently complained to the Biggin Hill News about the recent decision

by Biggin Hill airport to terminate the leases of its resident flying schools. His running partner is Tim Fisher.

Geoff Gossht of the Liberal Democrats sits on the General Committee of the Biggin Hill Residents Association.

It is also of interest that an employee of the airport, Colin Hitchins, is standing as a Conservative candidate in

Cray Valley West.

Whoever your preferred candidates, the points that are relevant to our cause and that you might want to

communicate to them (in other wards as well of course) are:

1. The airport has recently published its “Plan for Growth”, which includes more hangars and expansion of

roadways (please see our January and February newsletters)

2. The number of helicopters on their shuttle service from the airport to London has already significantly

increased and is likely to continue to do so as air traffic from larger aircraft continues to grow, taking the

place of the light aircraft of the flying schools and of private owners

3. The Piaggio Avanti continues to grate on residents’ ears. Given the very wide and averaged noise

measures allowed by Bromley Council, this aircraft is well within the limits, however there is a clause in

the Lease (Clause f on page 65) that allows the Council, should it receive a large number of complaints

from residents (which they already have) to ban unwanted aircraft. The Piaggio is supposed to have

been replaced by a new, less strident, model, therefore banning the old model from using Biggin Hill

should be feasible, particularly as a couple of airports in the US have already done so.

4. Bombardier have announced that their new aircraft Global

Express 7000 will now be using Biggin Hill. The picture

shows the Global Express 7000. With a wingspan of 32m

and a length of 34m, it is only marginally smaller than a

Boeing 737, which also visits the airport regularly in its

business version, the Boeing Business Jet, which is built in

the body of a commercial B737.

Although aircraft are becoming less noisy, the visual impact is obviously compensating for that. Also, we

cannot forget that Bromley Council have allowed a noise measure (the LAeq16h) that allows a doubling

of the number of aircraft at every 3db reduction in noise. We know from several experts that such a

minimal reduction in noise will hardly be noticed, while the doubling in numbers will have a considerable

impact on residents.

Considering that the cap in movements at 50,000 per annum accepted by Bromley Council is based on

the same measure, there is a serious danger that this cap is not going to be respected for long. We need

to continue to exercise pressure on the Council to keep the airport to the spirit rather than the letter of

their undertaking, which was not presented correctly to our councillors by the council officers.

Thank you

Flightpath Watch Ltd

March 2018

Dear Member

You may have noticed the recent announcement by Biggin Hill Airport to Bromley Council that the flying

schools have six months to relocate to other airports nearby (Redhill, Surrey and Damyns Hall Farm, Essex).

The move is supposed to ensure greater safety by reducing the mix of large and light aircraft, but the Falcon

Flying School, which has operated at Biggin Hill for 70 years, disputed this in an interview with the BBC

(http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-43432123).

The other possible reason is that the landing fees for large aircraft can be 10 times larger than the landing

fees for light aircraft. Therefore the Airport’s aim may be to attract a larger number of business jets and

reduce the number of light aircraft. The extension of the operating hours that became effective in April

2017 marked the beginning of this important shift. Flightpath Watch had warned pilots of small aircraft

(strong supporters of the increase in operating hours) that they were promoting the end of their term at

Biggin Hill as well as causing damage to the local residents and environment. We derive no pleasure in

having been proved right.

In its message to the Council, the Airport envisages that aircraft movements will decline from around

50,000 movements per annum to about 30,000 movements per annum. Of course this may be only short

term as the gap may now be filled by large aircraft, such as the Global Express, the Gulfstream 650 and the

Falcon7X. The airport is also visited by Boeing 737 and Airbus 320, not to mention the small but irritating

(according to many comments by residents) Piaggio 180 Avanti.

It is also worth mentioning that, on 19th December 2017, the Airport commented on a 23% increase in

departures in the last quarter of 2017 compared with the same quarter in 2016. Robert Walters, Business

Development Director, stated: “In addition to a surge in corporate aviation movements, this time of year is

also popular for pleasure travel, with flights out of London Biggin Hill heading to seasonal destinations

across Europe”. We of course know that tourism is NOT allowed in the Lease and will need to return to

remind Bromley Council of this.

And now some information related to Flightpath Watch itself. Thanks to the continuing interest and

support of its members, Flightpath Watch, now Flightpath Watch Ltd, is continuing to progress and develop

in order to be better positioned to pursue its aim to protect our environment from pollution from the sky.

Two specific events are noteworthy:

FLIGHTPATH WATCH IS NOW A MEMBER OF HACAN (http://hacan.org.uk/)

Most of you probably know that HACAN was founded in the 1970s to monitor expansion at Heathrow. The

group has grown over the years and is now well reputed and considered by both the CAA and the Ministry

for Transport. It was the only campaigning group in the South East of England to be heard by the Airports

Commission.

In 2016 HACAN incorporated the group fighting expansion at City Airport under the name HACAN EAST.

Flightpath Watch will not be incorporated into HACAN but operate as an associate member. Such

association will allow us to receive vital information on all aviation matters and also to have our area

represented in discussions about the impact of Heathrow on residential areas.

As we explained in our November Newsletter, our area is affected by the stacking of large aircraft circling at

low level before initiating their descent into Heathrow. Such stacking is particularly noisy and intrusive in

the early hours of the morning, sometimes from 4.30 am, when large jumbo jets from across the Atlantic

circle as low as 5000 feet. We believe that HACAN will help us to gain visibility in discussions about

flightpaths at Heathrow when so far we have had none.

FLIGHTPATH WATCH IS A MEMBER OF THE AVIATION ENVIRONMENT FEDERATION (AEF)

(https://www.aef.org.uk/)

AEF was founded in 1975 when aviation began to grow rapidly and is now the principal UK body

campaigning exclusively on the environmental impacts of the sector. As aviation is exempt from noise

nuisance legislation, AEF seeks to influence national policy.

Flightpath Watch has now access to all the research produced by the AEF and our representatives attend

its seminars regularly.

As mentioned in the most recent newsletters, our membership year will begin again in April, therefore

please see attached our membership form for 2018/2019. The membership annual fee remains at £10.

We hope you will continue to support our efforts to protect our living environment and mitigate the impact

of aviation noise and pollution in our area.

THANK YOU

Flightpath Watch Ltd

February 2018

Dear Member

You may recall that last month’s Newsletter addressed the first three of six two-pronged courses of

action by Biggin Hill Airport for its continuing growth. This month we will focus on the second three,

which deal mainly with infrastructure and the need for more Green-Belt land to be released for

development.

Facilitate lasting and sustainable

infrastructure for the region to enhance the

value of Biggin Hill Airport

7. Create better access to the M25 to

support new investment and growth in

South East London, Kent and Sussex

8. Extend the Bakerloo line to Hayes – this

will transform South East London’s

accessibility

Provide local policy and investment support 9. Align the policy environment to support

future investment and employment

growth at Biggin Hill Airport

10. Support the strategic realignment of

Green Belt to capitalise on the airport’s

growth potential within the airport’s

boundary

Retain Biggin Hill Airport SOLDC status to

optimise the value of improved surface access

and training for young people

11. Enhance the local road network to

provide better visitor and employee

access to the airport

12. Support the airport’s education and

training initiatives as well as its plans to

build an aviation college

INFRASTRUCTURE

A) The idea of a connection to the M25 (point 7) is

not new. The Airport first raised it some 15 years

ago. Those who thought that Biggin Hill Airport

would be satisfied with the new operating hours

for a number of years were clearly too optimistic.

As feared, the increase in hours is only the first

step.

There is a map in the Locate document (not a

clear map) that seems to indicate a straight route

South from the airport to just above Westerham.

Considering that this is likely to be at the expense

of the tax-payers, it is legitimate to ask how many

residents and businesses would benefit from this public expense. It is similarly legitimate to

ask whether the public should fund the infrastructure around another London airport when the

fierce competition among Biggin Hill, Northolt and Southend airports seems to indicate that

there is more supply than demand at present. Both Northolt and Southend are well located to

serve the need for private and business air traffic to London, with infrastructure already funded

and built.

B) The extension of the Bakerloo Line to Hayes (point 8) is favoured by the Airport over the wishes

of Bromley Council, which would rather have the DLR extended to Bromley North and South or

trams-link services to Crystal Palace. Cllr Colin Smith, now Leader of the Council in replacement

of Cllr Carr, stated in mid-2017 that the extension of the Bakerloo Line would take over the

National Rail lines and deny access to London Bridge, Cannon Street and Charing Cross, which

are far more useful stations to the residents of Hayes. This seems to be corroborated by

responses from Hayes residents to a general survey run by the Department for Transport. Sadiq

Khan is the main supporter of this venture, which is said to cost some £3bn. According to Cllr

Smith, the preferred DLR route to Bromley North would have been cheaper and more useful to

Bromley.

C) The improvement of the local road network (point

11) was raised in a document prepared for the

Airport by planning consultants Lichfields in 2014

(Lichfields, Letter to Bromley, March 2014 and to

the London Mayor, April 2014). It clearly stated

that this private airport, in order to succeed and

expand, needs public money to improve access. It

would be helpful to know which roads in

particular would be enlarged or added and

whether this work would be beneficial to the

community. The map provided in the Locate

document is attached, but it is not clear. The

description says:

1. Invest in the A233 to improve access to Bromley and Orpington town centres.

2. Upgrade road infrastructure and public transport to Vulcan Business Park.

3. Improve the road network to improve access to Fort Halstead.

4. Improve the road network to improve access to Croydon.

Meanwhile we understand that a new access point from Downe Road/New Hill Road to the

airport is being considered.

GREEN BELT

The text in this Locate document only refers to use of the green belt within the airport’s boundary

(point 10). The Council appeared to be very reticent to answer when the question of whether such

airport boundary is now including the farm land bought by the airport in 2014.

Even more concerning is the reference to the need for more green-belt land to be given (donated?)

to the airport in the already mentioned Lichfields’ report: ”There is very little available non-Green

Belt land on the Airport and non-Green Belt land is required to facilitate development …”

The document goes on to specify:

1. “Removing West Camp from the Green Belt will remove one layer of constraint and

potentially make the site more attractive for inward investment… Land with airside access

must be retained for future aviation use”.

2. East Camp – “BHAL therefore requests that … the area is removed from the Green Belt”.

3. “To enable future hangar development which has a requirement for airside access there is a

necessity to extend the boundary of South Camp northwards and remove this section of land

from the Green Belt”.

4. Terminal Area – “BHAL requests that proposed policy for this area allows for the

redevelopment of the terminal building and aviation development to the north of the

terminal building and that this land is also removed from the Green Belt”.

5. “The map also shows boundaries for West Camp, South Camp and East Camp. BHAL requests

that those boundaries are amended following completion of the on-going work between the

Airport and the Council”. (Lichfields, Letter to Bromley, 24 March 2014, Annex 4, pages

12/15).

It is ironic that, in the 1990s, when the Council was considering whether to retain the airport or

sell the land for development, residents supported the retention of the airport as a green and

open space. It will not be so open now … and we also have large, low flying aeroplanes to ruin

the peace.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THE RENEWAL OF THE MEMBERSHIP TO FLIGHTPATH WATCH WILL BE DUE IN

APRIL 2018. THE MEMBERSHIP FEE REMAINS AT £10. THANK YOU FOR YOUR CONTINUING

SUPPORT.

Kind regards,

Flightpath Watch

January 2018

Dear Member

Some of you might be already aware that Biggin Hill Airport has published, on its Locate website, a new study

entitled “The Case for Growth”. The link to the full document is https://locateatbigginhill.co.uk/wpcontent/

uploads/2017/10/LOCATE_BROCHURE_WEB.pdf.

In the document, the Airport lists 6 two-prong courses of action for its development:

Support business aviation nationally and

internationally – in the interests of exports and

global connectivity

1. Promote inward investment and export services

focused on business aviation

2. Align government aviation policy so that it

reflects the strategic importance of business

aviation

Factor the value of the aerospace industry into

strategic planning around the London and South-

East region

3. Provide government support for Biggin Hill as

London’s only specialist business airport

4. Reinforce Biggin Hill Airport’s designation as a

Strategic Outer London Development Centre in

the new London Plan

Acknowledge Biggin Hill Airport’s significance in the

new London Plan – and London’s infrastructure plan

5. Support South East London – the city’s “empty

quarter” – as a growth corridor

6. Re-balance investment in the road network to

support productivity and growth in South East

London

Facilitate lasting and sustainable infrastructure for

the region to enhance the value of Biggin Hill Airport

7. Create better access to the M25 to support new

investment and growth in South East London,

Kent and Sussex

8. Extend the Bakerloo line to Hayes – this will

transform South East London’s accessibility

Provide local policy and investment support … 9. Align the policy environment to support future

investment and employment growth at Biggin

Hill Airport

10. Support the strategic realignment of Green Belt

to capitalise on the airport’s growth potential

within the airport’s boundary

Retain Biggin Hill Airport SOLDC status to optimise

the value of improved surface access and training

for young people

11. Enhance the local road network to provide

better visitor and employee access to the airport

12. Support the airport’s education and training

initiatives as well as its plans to build an aviation

college

As a preamble to the recipients of the document (presumably politicians in the main but possibly also investors)

Biggin Hill Airport defines itself as a World Class Business Aviation Airport and states that its vision for growth was

supported by 79% out of 15,000 residents consulted (page 22). As Flightpath Watch established by means of an

extensive survey, 90% of the local population was in fact opposed to development at the airport and in particular

to the longer operating hours (longer than at all of City, Farnborough and Northolt airports).

We also demonstrated that the survey by Bromley Council was severely flawed, to the point that even the then

Leader of the Council, Cllr Carr, a staunch supporter of development at the airport, had to advise the Executive, at

a meeting held after the full Council meeting on 25 November 2015, to disregard the survey in their

considerations (unfortunately too late to change incorrectly based opinions).

Without wanting to halt good business for the airport, it is important that the truth about the extent of the local

support is told and that we remind our politicians of the above. We will be writing to all relevant political figures

to try and re-establish the correct balance and would ask you to do the same.

Moving on to the 6 courses of action indicated in the Airport’s report, we address the first three here and the

other three in our next Newsletter.

ONE This is generic in nature. Our only interest in the growth at the airport is in how this can

be accommodated within our living environment, which is more accurately described in

the following steps

TWO Biggin Hill claims to be London’s only specialist business airport. Recently news has

surfaced that business aviation is also being sought by Southend Airport, which offers

the same helicopter shuttle to London, and by Northolt Airport, where the Council

Leader is vehemently arguing to maintain commercial flights to Northolt Airport and

openly accuses Biggin Hill of underhand tactics to foment adverse public opinion in order

to move their commercial flights to Biggin Hill (Hillingdon People magazine, Jan/Feb

2018 edition, page 12 https://www.hillingdon.gov.uk/hillingdonpeople).

We cannot comment on such accusations, apart from being mindful of the surveys run in

Bromley and the fact that the majority of the population here is not supportive of an

increase in flights over us. It would be beneficial to our environment if not ALL business

flights flew to Biggin Hill, particularly as business aviation is “a fast growing market” and

“80% of aviation flights are for business purposes” (Locate, page 25).

As we all know, we have been offered a cap of 50,000 flights per year, but that cap has

not been properly recorded in the MIL, as all of the Council, our local MPs and the

Ombudsman have been made aware of by Flightpath Watch.

THREE Our residential areas are referred to as

the city’s “empty quarter” and defined

as a “growth corridor”. The graph on the

right, taken from page 27 of the Locate

document, shows where Biggin Hill

Airport is intending to change the nature

of our living environment (see area

marked in green) by asking the public

purse to increase infrastructure and

curtail our green belt.

Of course, air traffic cannot be limited to

the area marked in green as residents in most of Bromley and some adjacent boroughs

know well as they are already being affected by the increase in large aircraft and

helicopters.

We would also like to comment on the phrase “Re-balance investment in the road

network to support productivity and growth in South East London”. Considering that the

airport is the only business in the area (a private business) requiring greater access, it

seems unjustifiable to spend public resources to support very modest employment,

particularly as other airports in the South-East have already been provided public

funding for sufficient infrastructure to serve the current aviation needs. This is

demonstrated by the acrimonious competition between airports we have already

referred to (Hillingdon People magazine, Jan/Feb 2018, page 12).

These will be the subject of our next Newsletter.

To conclude, it appears that our need to be aware of events at the airport continues relentlessly. We have

therefore decided to continue our membership scheme.

The current year’s membership expires in April and we

will be circulating our renewal reminder in the next couple of months. The membership fee will remain at £10.

Thank you for your continuing support.

Flightpath Watch

November 2017

Dear Member

As you are probably aware, the sky over and around Biggin Hill airport is also affected by air

traffic directed to Heathrow airport. This is particularly noticeable in the early morning (as

early as 4.30 am) and is particularly disturbing because large aircraft circle over us at

decreasing altitudes (sometimes as low as 5000 feet) while waiting to be given permission

to land. It is not unprecedented to be subjected to a couple of jumbo jets circling four or

five times over us – the earlier they are, the more they need to circle because Heathrow

only has a limited number of night-time slots. Also, the closer they are to the busy time of 6

am, again the more they need to circle until they are allowed to land. Please see recent

screenshots below, taken from the Biggin Hill recording system but related to Heathrow

traffic.

All surveys and publicity by either government or press refer to residents living under the

final landing route. Whilst there is no denying that noise and sleep disturbance for such

residents is severe, as you can guess from the images above, this does not mean that our

area should be disregarded.

So much so that BHAL offered, as a condition for the approval of extended hours of

operation, to have the beacon located at Biggin Hill (the one responsible for attracting the

circling and stacking of aircraft over our area) relocated. Bromley Council listed this

condition as Condition 16 and declared it “satisfied”. It is however obvious that it was not in

the power of BHAL to offer this condition. Moreover, recent information seems to suggest

that there would be no material decrease in the circling and stacking by Heathrow air traffic

over us even if the beacon were to be removed from the airport’s grounds. Bromley Council

were clearly hasty in considering this condition satisfied.

There have been several surveys this year and Flightpath Watch has contributed to nearly all

of them, however most did not allow commentary that could be tailored to our area.

Now there is a survey by the CAA (this is a short one), which closes on 5th January 2018.

We would kindly ask you to take the time to click on the attached link

https://consultations.caa.co.uk/policy-development/aviation-noise-impacts/ and spend a

few minutes filling in the questionnaire. Again, the survey is not related to our area but

there are a few occasions when tailored commentary can be made by clicking on the

“Other” button. For instance:

Question 4 – if you click “Other” you can make the point that, as well as big jumbo jets

headed for Heathrow, we are also affected by large aircraft of a size equivalent to a B737

(Gulfstream 650, Falcon 7X, Global Express 6000, as well as B737) flying below 2500 ft to

and from Biggin Hill.

Question 5 – In addition to selecting three causes of concern, there is a box called “Other”,

where the point can be made that, coming from the experience of a Noise Action Plan

recently introduced at Biggin Hill, it has become apparent that noise is considered as an

average and that this deviates from the reality of how residents experience noise. Any noise

limit based on averages gives rise to an exponential increase in number of flights (which we

would notice) for every small decrease in decibels (which we would not notice). By way of

explanation, you may remember that some of the money generously donated to Flightpath

Watch was used to employ a very well reputed Aviation and Acoustic Consultant (who was

also employed to advise the Government). He stated that: “If all aircraft using BHAL were 3

dB less noisy, the movements could be doubled and the same contour area achieved […] It

is highly likely that those living nearby would not perceive the noise reduction but would

notice the doubling of movements and be adversely affected by it.” (ST report, 3.16)

Question 7 – You can click as many options as you consider appropriate but do not forget to

click on “Other” and make the point that there is need for an independent body, which is

capable of taking into consideration noise generated by an accumulation of both local air

traffic, large jumbo jets circling at 7000 ft (sometimes as low as 5000 ft) from 4.30 in the

morning as well as an increasing number of helicopters. As we are not under the final

landing stages into Heathrow, we are not considered in their “noise contours” but

experience serious disturbance nonetheless.

Question 8 – here the point can be made again in “Other” that all the authorities listed in

the offered selection are self-motivated and that an independent body is needed to ensure

objectivity.

Question 9 – this asks about “anything else”. Here we have the opportunity of stating that

Biggin Hill air traffic is below 2500ft and that no authority other than Bromley Council is

responsible for routes and noise. We know that Bromley Council is too busy and, in

fairness, inexperienced, to monitor the airport in any meaningful way. For your

information, we have already raised this point with an officer at the CAA. The point has

been acknowledged but put on the back-burner. It would help if this issue were to be

reinforced by your comments to this survey.

Thank you.

Kindest regards,

Flightpath Watch

October 2017

Dear Member

We have been made aware that responses to complaints made to BHAL by residents are

failing to address the issues raised adequately. Thank you to those who have passed on

examples to us and apologies about not responding to everybody individually. We have

however noted certain trends in both complaints and responses.

The main issues appear to be:

HELICOPTERS NOT RESPECTING NOISE SENSITIVE AREAS

DEPARTURES OFF TRACK BY BOTH LARGE AND LIGHT AIRCRAFT

CIRCUITS OVER RESIDENTIAL AND NOISE SENSITIVE AREAS

If other issues (such as ground running) present reasons for concern, please let us know.

You may remember that many of the conditions imposed by the Council are ineffective or

irrelevant. The only defence mechanism offered to residents is the use of the airport’s Noise

Monitoring and Track Keeping system.

We made the point in the past that Noise Monitoring is irrelevant, because of the very wide

and averaged-out noise parameters granted by the Council to the Airport. We therefore

suggested focusing on track-keeping, of which there are many infringements. Mr Curtis has

now started to reply: “You will be pleased to know that all aircraft movements are monitored

by the airport Noise Monitoring and Track Keeping System. Those that do not comply with

our required track limits are automatically logged for further action and consideration of a

penalty, therefore you do not need to raise complaints concerning track keeping, and can rest

assured that all these will be dealt with SANARB.” There is however no way of verifying

which aircraft is being reported to SANARB nor whether penalties are being issued.

Meanwhile, infringements continue, which seems to indicate that monitoring of the Track

Keeping system by the Airport is inadequate or that SANARB lacks effectiveness in stopping

aircraft from creating unnecessary disturbance.

In the MIL (Management Information Letter), a document produced by the Airport and

incorporated into the Deed of Variation that granted the Airport a 24% increase in operating

hours, it is stated that certain Noise Sensitive Areas would be established and that both light

aircraft and helicopters using a visual approach (VFR, or Visual Flying Rules) would avoid

such areas. The map of such Noise Sensitive areas is shown below.

When complaints have been made about aircraft flying over Noise Sensitive areas, they have

received a standard response from BHAL as follows: “Having reviewed the radar data, I can

confirm the aircraft you reported followed a standard VFR departure. The aircraft was

following standard procedures, therefore no further action will be taken.” Yet the MIL

requires aircraft using VFR to avoid Noise Sensitive Areas!”

At the Executive Meeting of 15th June 2016, the Executive undertook to appoint a Monitoring

Officer. No such officer has been appointed, therefore please continue to address

Andrew.rogers@bromley.gov.uk. In fact, as some complaints refer to infringements of a

legal document (the MIL), and in particular Section 21, it might be helpful to alert the Senior

Solicitor at susan.fraser@bromley.gov.uk. With regards to helicopters, section 21 of the MIL

states: “The vast majority of helicopters operate under VFR and are therefore treated as light

aircraft and will follow light aircraft routes. Helicopters will therefore be subject to all the

restrictions placed upon light aircraft.”

We have also been informed that Dr Robert Hadley, Chairman of the Bromley Residents

Association Federation, sits on SANARB as the residents’ representative. Therefore it might

be beneficial to alert him about any unsatisfactory reply received from the airport. Please email

him at the e-mail address published on the Council’s website robert.hadley@bt

internet.com.

Residents’ mitigation requests have been consistently rejected by the Council but the Track

Keeping system and the MIL are official commitments by the airport, so we are within our

rights to inform the Council of our concerns.

Flightpath Watch will send a statement to the Council summarising the issues we have been

made aware of, but it would be beneficial if the Council and Dr Hadley were also to hear of

your concerns directly.

Thank you for your continuing attention and support.

Flightpath Watch

August 2017

Dear Member

You may remember that in our July edition we circulated the routes currently in use at Biggin Hill

airport for the larger aircraft. The map is repeated below for ease of reference.

In this edition, we want to show you the routes used by lighter aircraft. Please see picture below or

click on https://www.bigginhillairport.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/BHA-Flight-Routes.pdf for

a clearer image.

Plan A shows all the departure routes for light aircraft. Plan B shows the circuits used for the

training of pilots. Plan C is no longer in constant use since the airport closed the smaller of their two

runways (the one going from West to East) in order to provide aircraft parking for Bombardier’s

activities.

Light aircraft is now openly encouraged by the airport to use Redhill for training purposes in order

not to interfere with the larger aircraft increasingly using the airport, however the circuits described

in Plan B still appear to be in use. Unfortunately, recent experiences suggest that Plan B is now also

used to test large aeroplanes or train pilots on business jets. These have been seen to circle six or

seven times in close succession, at speed and just over 1000 feet, with the circuit now extended over

Keston, Hayes, Crofton and, needless to say, the hospital. Those who have witnessed the effect this

creates over their homes and gardens will no doubt confirm that it is startling and even frightening.

The most frequent culprit is the Cessna Citation 510 jet (see example below) but circling at low level

by the very large Global Express and the medium-size Lear Jet is also occurring. Occasionally two

aeroplanes circle together, providing no respite for about an hour. Sometimes, the “lesson” begins

again a short while later, for another hour.

We have been told by the CAA that below 2500 feet the routes used by the airport are the

responsibility of the local authority. The Council has already been alerted by at least a couple of

residents that such circuits should not take place over densely populated residential areas and a

major hospital, for safety as well as noise reasons, but no information about the action the Council

intends to take (if any) has yet been received. It is important that you notify the Council as the

responsible party if you happen to witness any more of these exercises. Please contact your local

councillors and Andrew Rogers at Andrew.rogers@bromley.gov.uk if these circuits continue to be

used by jets and other large aircraft.

Kind regards

Flightpath Watch

July 2017

Dear Member

We thank all of those who attended the Flightpath Watch Annual General meeting last month and

showed their continuing interest and support.

The main topics were:

1. The majority of the promises and undertakings made by the airport have not been kept and

the Council has not done its duty in upholding those promises.

2. In particular, the main undertaking to keep the number of movements below 50,000 a year

has been worded in such a manner that it now does not represent a cap at all. The number

of movements has now been linked to a noise measure that in fact allows for an exponential

multiplication of movements over and above the promised 50,000 and, worse, has taken

away the ability of the Council to intervene. We wonder how many councillors are aware of

this, considering that even the Leader is still under the impression that there is a cap.

3. The Noise Monitoring and Track Keeping (NMTK) system is now operational. Unfortunately,

the noise allowance is so wide and based on averages that complaining about noise is futile.

Track keeping is more worthwhile, since there are many examples of breaches, some

acknowledged by the Airport. It is therefore worth using the system to complain. The

access page is on the airport’s website on the bottom right corner (see screenshot). The

steps to access it are self-explanatory but remember that there is a 45 minutes delay, so you

need to make a note of the flight and check it out later.

4. When complaining about aircraft track keeping, it is worth noting the published flying routes

for the larger planes (we will talk about the smaller planes in the next newsletter). These are

shown below. If you note that an aircraft deviates from these routes, please do use the

complaint system and let the airport know.

There is much more, but we do not want to overburden you with too many issues, so we will

reserve a few for the next newsletters.

If you are disappointed by the Council’s handling of the promises made and not kept

(particularly the issue of numbers of movements), please let your councillors know.

Kind regards

Flightpath Watch

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