Survey on Gatwick second runway highlights Horsham’s road congestion worries

W29508H13''Gatwick Airport Feature. Planes
W29508H13''Gatwick Airport Feature. Planes

Congestion on Horsham district’s roads was a key worry for respondents to a county council survey on a second runway at Gatwick Airport.

A stakeholder meeting organised by West Sussex County Council and Crawley Borough Council at Crawley Civic Hall on Wednesday July 10 saw representatives from local authorities and residents’ groups briefed on the survey of more than 1,000 residents and 621 businesses across the county.

According to the results, presented by QA Research, the preferred option for residents was a second runway at Gatwick compared to other options for increasing air travel capacity in the South East.

However residents of the Horsham district were more likely to mention a disadvantage to having an airport nearby, with chief concerns transport and more congestion on the roads.

The timing of a survey on business and residents’ opinions of a second runway at Gatwick was compared to ‘finding snakes in the bath’ after being offered an exotic holiday.

Brendon Sewill, chairman of the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC), said: “It’s extraordinary doing a survey before Gatwick has announced its plans.

“Again it strikes me as amazing, it’s like asking people if they would like an exotic holiday before they tell them there are snakes in the bath or it might be expensive.”

Kyran Hanks, strategy director at Gatwick Airport, said: “Talking to businesses and residents, having expected them to be negative is that we’ve been surprised by how open and positive people are, so I’m not surprised quite how positive the results are.

“They’re not in conflict with what we’re hearing when we go around.

“All our proposals will be parallel runways because airports work better when the runways are parallel.”

They will submit an outline proposal on July 19, which will be made public on July 23. If they are shortlisted by the Airports Commission at the end of the year and they expect to be, they will put together an ‘initial proposal’ next year a more in depth report into all the costs and benefits.

Rosemary French, executive director of the Gatwick Diamond Initiative, added: “This is the start of a debate that could last two years and I commend West Sussex County Council for starting this debate and enabling the stake holders to take an early view and debate that.

“The Gatwick Diamond Initiative is absolutely supporting a second runway. Much of this [the survey] mirrors the research we have done.”

To read the full survey results go to bit.ly/18Sb88u