Gatwick Airport second runway bid scrutinised

Gatwick Airport
Gatwick Airport

A consultation document released by the Airports Commission has confirmed fears a second runway at Gatwick Airport would double aircraft movements there.

On Monday November 11 the commission launched a three month consultation on its analysis of the three airport expansion proposals it shortlisted last year: two options for expansion at Heathrow Airport and one for Gatwick.

The document covers studies into the cost of each proposal, property loss and construction, the economic benefits and environmental and noise impacts. It says Gatwick’s proposals were ‘considered adequate’ to deliver an increase in aircraft movements from 280,000 currently to 560,000. On housing, the report says at the lower end the requirement for additional housing ‘is estimated to be negligible’, and the upper end estimates of 18,400 homes across 14 local authorities are considered ‘deliverable’ by 2030.

Chief executive of Gatwick Airport Ltd Stewart Wingate said: “The Airport Commission’s consultation published today underlines why momentum is gathering behind Gatwick’s case for airport expansion in the South East. The Commission will have to consider a range of factors in making their final decision. Their report today indicates why expansion at Gatwick best answers all the questions. It can give the country two world class airports.”

The Gatwick runway debate has proved divisive here with businesses supporting expansion. Residents’ groups, however, have concerns about the impact on environment and infrastructure.

Rosemary French, executive director of the Gatwick Diamond Initiative said: “We encourage business leaders to respond within the three month period so that business views can be heard and taken into account in the final recommendation. This is the opportunity to influence decisions which will decide aviation capacity until 2050.”

Sally Pavey from the Campaign Against Gatwick Noise Emissions (CAGNE) said the commission’s report shows Gatwick still has questions to answer. “We don’t know whether there will be a doubling or trebling of the number of local people affected by noise – whatever the reality, the Commission says Gatwick’s plans will have an adverse impact on local communities.”

The consultation ends on February 3. To respond go to ends until February 3.

Letters: pages 40-44

Francis Maude: page 77