The Communities Against Gatwick Noise Emissions (CAGNE) group has launched a campaign urging travellers to fly less and is lobbying the government on the environmental issues surrounding air travel in the UK.

East Sussex resident and vice chair of CAGNE Sue Davidson says she stopped flying more than two years ago over concerns about the impact of her travel on the planet, as well as the noise created by aircraft over homes near airports.

Davidson and CAGNE have today launched the “Fly Less” campaign as part of the national climate change member of parliament lobby day known as #TheTimeIsNow.

The campaign includes a website where individuals, groups and businesses can pledge to use air transport less, with a running total on the site set to show how many people have joined.

CAGNE says it hopes raising awareness of the impact of flying will lead the UK to follow countries such as Sweden and Germany in the trend of “flying shame” to put pressure on airlines to do more to tackle carbon emissions. Research shows this has led to a decrease in passenger numbers at airports and a rise in those using rail travel instead.

Davidson commented: “In an ideal world we would all stop flying until aviation truly found a way not to be such a major threat to our planet, but as a start we are asking residents and businesses to think before they fly; pledge to fly less to reduce their own carbon footprint, as we must become climate-smart travellers.”

CAGNE chair Sally Pavey said: “It is not just about today, the noise, or the pollution we suffer. It is about what future generations will have to deal with as well as other industries that are reducing their carbon footprint whilst aviation is unconstrained in growth thanks to the government policies of allowing expansion via the back door.”

The group joins Extinction Rebellion, which threatened to launch drone attacks at Heathrow in order to ground flights, in lobbying the government to change strategies surrounding air travel to reduce carbon emissions.

The campaign comes after Gatwick airport released a report claiming it had achieved ‘sustainable growth’ throughout 2018. It says carbon emissions in the year were down 50 per cent on 1990 levels and half-way to net zero, with aircraft emissions remaining the same as 2017 and those from ground access falling. Recycling is also up at the hub and 44 per cent of passengers arrived by public transport.

CEO Stewart Wingate commented: “Our Decade of Change programme combines responsible environmental management with strong community programmes and has allowed us to grow while also reducing our environmental footprint. We recognise that there is more to do and we will continue to strive in the years ahead on our journey to become the UK’s most sustainable airport.”

cagne.org; gatwickairport.com

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