LETTER: UKIP’s stance on Gatwick’s future

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Further to recent articles and correspondence, regarding runway options.

Clearly the possibility of a new airport should not be rejected (because it is expensive) until the present worth of capital and revenue has been estimated for all options.

If a new runway can accommodate projected air traffic (say) over the next 25 to 50 years at a lower cost than a new airport, then that would inform the first stage of an option evaluation.

That cost benefit would then need to be set against the estimated impact on the health and well being of residents, not to mention the impact on their productivity and on the local infrastructure. It should be clear by now that aircraft pollution and noise have a tangible impact on residents.

Since the long-term cost of such impacts could run into many £billions, that should be considered at the second stage of option evaluation, along with any income generation differences.

The projected capacity of peripheral airports (eg Southampton and Luton) must also be acknowledged and it is interesting that when the budget airlines offered many flights from those airports, big carriers had to lower their prices.

We are entitled to expect a full option evaluation against long-term capacity needs, rather than a simple comparison of bids for Heathrow and Gatwick.

Indeed last month the CBI called on the Airports Commission to recommend a single, larger hub airport for the UK, saying that is critical for maintaining Britain’s long-term economic growth. It has also been suggested that a new runway would run out of capacity within a few years.

So we continue to oppose Gatwick expansion, in the absence of evidence that options have been properly matched to the long-term needs of the UK and that the infrastructure funding profile is adequate.

This is not something to be determined by short-term vested interests and we urge the Government not to discard the new airport option, prematurely.

ROGER ARTHUR

Horsham district councillor for Chanctonbury ward and UKIP parliamentary candidate for Horsham, North Street, Horsham