Sussex MPs slam second runway at Gatwick

Gatwick Airport control tower with aircraft in flight in background
Gatwick Airport control tower with aircraft in flight in background

Gatwick Airport says it will fight the government in court if Heathrow is given the green light for another runway.

Gatwick’s CEO Steve Wingate has said Heathrow is in breach of air quality targets and levels will get worse if a third runway is built there. He said that breaches mean there is ‘zero probability’ of another runway being built because of the danger to public health from pollutants.

The Airports Commission issues its final recommendation this summer on whether Gatwick or Heathrow should be expanded. Two thirds of people polled now favour airport expansion in the South East and understand delays will threaten jobs, growth, trade and investment.

However MPs who represent constituencies around the airport vigorously oppose opting for growth at Gatwick. Newly elected Wealden MP Nus Ghani has joined the Gatwick Co-ordination Group set up last year which comprises local MPs concerned at the runway plan.

They are Crispin Blunt (Reigate,) Sir Paul Beresford (Mole Valley,) Rt Hon Nick Herbert (Arundel and South Downs,) Jeremy Quin (Horsham,) Tom Tugendhat MBE (Tonbridge and Malling,) Henry Smith (Crawley) and Rt Hon Sir Nicholas Soames (Mid Sussex.)

They have written to the Cabinet Secretary seeking assurances about how a decision on expansion will be made.

Crispin Blunt MP said: “We are clear Gatwick would not only be a disaster for local communities but not in the national interest either. There is no economic, business or practical case for it to become the same size as Heathrow; no labour force, no surface infrastructure and it is unable to deliver a UK hub.”

Meanwhile a Gatwick spokesman says its strategy is to engage local communities and its case is ‘robust and compelling’. The £5-£9 billion scheme would be financed privately and new runway could be opened by 2025.

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