Fringe Box



Gatwick Airport Expansion Inquiry Commences

Published on: 2 Mar, 2024
Updated on: 3 Mar, 2024

Gatwick Plans Image PINS / Gatwick)

By Chris Caulfield

local democracy reporter

The six-month inquiry into Gatwick Airport’s plan to double capacity is underway and comes while there is also a proposal to increase the number of flights at Farnborough Airport.

Airport chiefs at Gatwick, the country’s second busiest airport, want to modify its northern runway so that it can increase passenger numbers to about 75 million a year on 386,000 flights.

It says this will help minimise delays, bring in about £1 billion into the region’s economy every year, and create 14,000 jobs – all while staying within agreed noise levels.

It also has a carbon action plan for how the airport will be net zero for its own emissions by 2030.

Opponents, who staged a protest outside the Crawley hearing ahead of its February 27 opening, said the expansion will “have a devastating impact on both people’s lives and the environment.”

Also opposing the current plan is a coalition of 10 councils in Surrey, Kent, East Sussex that surround Gatwick.

Communities Against Gatwick Noise Emissions campaigners (left to right) Sally Pavey, Tony Read, Ray and Judy Butler Image: CAGNE

Sally Pavey, chairs the Campaign Against Gatwick Noise Emissions (CAGNE) an umbrella aviation community and environment group for Sussex, Surrey, and Kent.

She said: “If this application to build a new runway is permitted, it will have a devastating impact on both people’s lives and the environment.

“That is why it is so important that CAGNE are here – not just today, but every day of the hearing, with our qualified team of Kings Council, plus surface transport, aviation noise and air quality expert team, as well as supporting non-government organisations tackling the subject of jet zero and the environmental destruction of our planet.

“This fight is not over until the Secretary of State for Transport makes his decision.

“Whatever political party will be in power then, come elections, local or general, we hope that residents here today will reflect their feelings when it comes to the ballot box and the impact that aviation is having on our planet.

“We could not have put together such a strong team, acting for communities and the planet, if residents had not put their hands deep in their pockets and donated to CAGNE.”

Crawley Borough Council, East Sussex County Council, Horsham District Council, Kent County Council, Mid Sussex District Council, Mole Valley District Council, Reigate and Banstead Borough Council, Surrey County Council, Tandridge District Council, and West Sussex County Council make up the consortium of councils opposing the plan.

They are concerned the proposals, as they stand,  fail to provide sufficient controls to noise and air quality levels are not exceeded.

The councils are also worried about how a doubling of passenger numbers would impact the transport network – and over the impact the huge surge would have on meeting sustainability needs.

The statement read: “We have been working together to ensure that if the proposal were to be approved, the required controls, mitigations and where appropriate, compensations are put in place to limit the environmental impacts and to maximise the economic and community benefits that should be sought from such development.”

Gatwick Airport said it was not taking part in any interviews but a full round up of its argument is available here.

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