DEBATE: Is the county council right to support ‘in principle’ a second runway at Gatwick?

W29501'5H13''Gatwick Airport Feature.  The South Terminal

W29501'5H13''Gatwick Airport Feature. The South Terminal

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In a historic move West Sussex County Council agreed to support ‘in principle’ a second runway at Gatwick today (Friday July 19).

Historically the county council has been against any move to introduce a second runway, and have an agreement in place signed in 1979 not to build one before 2019.

The airport is also making its submission to the Airports Commission today and will publicly reveal plans on Tuesday, which are expected to include a second runway.

While some in the county council meeting felt that the motion was premature and should be deferred to allow members time to look at Gatwick’s submission, the vote was carried by 42 to 10 with 12 abstentions.

Louise Goldsmith (Con, Chichester West), leader of WSCC, said: “The world grows increasingly competitive and West Sussex County Council must rise to the economic challenge or be left behind.

“We need to give businesses a reason to come here. A world class airport does that.”

However some county councillors, especially those from Crawley, raised concerns around the environmental and infrastructure impact a second runway might bring to the town.

What do you think of the county council’s decision? Should they be supporting a second runway at Gatwick? Share your views by commenting below or emailing ct.letters@jpress.co.uk