MANY residents in the Woking area are suffering increased noise and other pollution because of changes to the airspace regulations around Farnborough Airport, according to a local campaign group.

Farnborough Noise has asked the Civil Aviation Authority to widen the scope of a review into the matter to take account of the impact they are having on people who live under the flightpath.

Colin Shearn, the group’s chairman, said that the airspace around the airport was previously open to all aircraft, but two years ago, at the request of the airport, the CAA brought the airspace under the control of NATS (National Air Traffic Services) above 2,000 to 2,500 ft. Over Woking and surrounding villages, this is at the lower level.

“The intention was that most aircraft would fly through the controlled airspace, but they aren’t. They are flying under it,” Colin said.

“The effect has been two-fold; people are now getting 100 to 150 flights over them per day when they used to get five and aircraft such as helicopters and light aircraft are now flying at half the height they used to, so creating a lot more noise.

“It isn’t just the noise. There are an average of 2.4 passengers per plane using Farnborough so that equates to about 18 times more fuel per passenger compared with a commercial flight on the same route.

“Private jets are at the top of the pile when it comes to greenhouse gas emitters.”

Colin said the CAA carried out a consultation in 2014 to change the airspace, but not many people knew about it and it was before current legislation on greenhouse gases.

Farnborough Noise has asked the CAA to expand its year-long review, due to start this month.

“At the moment there are only a limited number of grounds on which you can question the original proposal,” Colin said.

“One of the key ones is safety. The consequence of the changes is that there are aircraft flying in a much smaller area.

“There are helicopters flying at 200 mph in the same airspace and at the same height as microlights flying at 40 mph. The non-controlled airspace has got considerably more dangerous.”

Colin said that the CAA will only engage with the people who took part in the original consultation, but the changes have affected a huge number, who are effectively being prevented from voicing their concerns.

Farnborough Noise has received the support of local MPs, including Jeremy Hunt, MP for South West Surrey, and Jonathan Lord, MP for Woking.

Mr Lord said: “I’m very supportive of residents who feel they have been affected by increased noise and increased numbers of flights by aircraft using Farnborough and I hope that their concerns will be properly and fully evaluated during the current review.

“Farnborough Noise is working hard to draw attention to these concerns, and I know of several parish councils in Surrey who are very grateful to this group for their campaigning efforts.”

Simon Geere, the Farnborough Airport CEO, said: “A post implementation review of the change in airspace will be undertaken by the CAA in due course. The scope of that review is a matter for the CAA.”