An action plan released by Gatwick Airport to reduce aircraft noise levels has been hailed as a significant breakthrough by Tonbridge & Malling MP Tom Tugendhat.
He explained to the Times that the past two years of championing the issue, which has caused a major problem for both residents and business across the area, had proved challenging in making tangible progress.
But Mr Tugendhat believes the combined efforts of campaign groups including Gatwick Obviously Not, as well as local authorities including Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council, had been effective.
Since 2013, Tonbridge, Edenbridge and surrounding villages such as Penshurst, Chiddingstone and Hever, have been subject to unacceptable increased aircraft noise from a narrowing of flight paths.
However, he said Gatwick’s Final Action Plan contained measures that if implemented will reduce noise levels to those seen prior to 2013.
Among the key proposals were plans by the airport to broaden the approach routes of aircraft, as well as reduce aircraft holding over land. Gatwick pledged to develop a specific management board to formulate noise management strategies and directly handle residents’ complaints.
Mr Tugendhat described the action plan as a welcome step in recognising the need for quieter skies in West Kent.
He said: “The time for talking is over, and it is time for action. Many of the recommendations Gatwick has agreed on can be implemented within weeks.
“It’s taken two years to get to this point, but this has been down to the work put in by Gatwick Obviously Not, as well as councils across the area, and we will be looking for Gatwick to take action immediately.”