The Surrey Hills Board at their recent meeting voiced concern about the impact of increased development at Gatwick airport including aircraft noise on the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
Although the proposed site of Gatwick’s second runway does not lie within the Surrey Hills AONB, the additional transport infrastructure will have an impact. This will include major road and rail links connecting to the M25 Motorway and potential improvements to the North Downs Line. As the existing infrastructure is already so stretched, further traffic generated by Gatwick could have a further detrimental impact on our already busy country lanes and villages which are used by cars and high volumes of cyclists, particularly at weekends, who are very vulnerable users of the Surrey Hills. The implication of this traffic generation should be fully assessed through traffic modelling and mitigation measures appraised.
The impact of noise was another issue raised by the Surrey Hills Board. Despite the setting of the Surrey Hills AONB in the busy South East region and largely within London ‘s Metropolitan Green Belt, its relative tranquillity is highly valued by residents and visitors. Concern over the intrusive noise of aircraft is increasing and the AONB Management Plan consultation in 2014 identified Aircraft Noise as a major pressure on the AONB.
Their comments are in regard to the Airports Commission Consultation Report and it was agreed that the AONB Director Rob Fairbanks would formulate a response to the Commission on behalf of the AONB Board.