Fresh criticism of new TAG Farnborough consultation

TAG Farnborough | Ken Lipscombe (Flickr CC2.0)

TAG Farnborough | Ken Lipscombe (Flickr CC2.0) - Credit: Archant

The Hampshire business aviation airport wants controlled airspace, to change flight paths and increase the number of overall flights - but its plans have met with continued resistance

TAG Farnborough is undertaking a second consultation in their bid to introduce an area of controlled airspace around the Hampshire airport.

It is an amended version of the consultation launched in 2014, which was paused by the CAA, with changes to the proposed routes for aircraft arriving from the south.

The Additional Airspace Consultation runs until Wednesday 2 November and a decision is expected in early 2017.

If approved, TAG Farnborough claims the changes offer ‘predictability and consistency’ in operations at the business aviation airport, allowing for the scheduling of more flights.

It is claimed that improving efficiency will also reduce the amount of time planes are flying low, which will lead to reductions in noise and CO2 emissions.

“Blight on the countryside”

But like the first, the new consultation has met with criticism from the East Hampshire District Council, the South Downs National Park Authority, general aviation groups and enthusiasts and local MP Damian Hinds.

Lasham Gliding Society, the UK’s largest gliding club, is one of the strongest opponents as they may not be able to keep running if the proposals are implemented.

The new flight paths would affect people living south of TAG Farnborough, namely in Liphook, Milland, Midhurst, West Dean and even parts of West Sussex. There is a concern that more planes will be overhead at South Downs National Park too.

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East Hampshire District Council leader Ferris Cowper, who has called the consultation a “blight on the countryside”, says this will affect tourism and damage the local economy.

“Imagine sitting for a quiet lunch with friends in the garden of one of East Hampshire’s beautiful rural pubs and having to stop mid-conversation while a flight goes overhead. That’s not what I would want, and it’s not what I think local residents want,” he said.

TAG Farnborough, however, maintain more efficient operation will actually allow inbound aircraft to remain higher for longer, resulting in a “net reduction in people overflown”, according to an airport spokesperson.

Check the consultation, which runs until 2 November, here.