Why Gatwick Airport's runway plans are so important to business in Sussex - Gatwick Diamond business chief

Earlier this month the Gatwick Diamond Initiative, alongside 35 other business groups who collectively represent more than 20,000 businesses across London and the South East, wrote a joint letter to the Secretary of State for Transport to pledge our support for Gatwick Airport’s Northern Runway Project.

It’s no secret that Crawley and, more widely, the Gatwick Diamond region as a whole has been devastated by the effects of Covid-19 and is among the hardest-hit of anywhere in the country.

So many businesses rely on Gatwick locally.

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Brett North, Chairman, Gatwick Diamond Initiative

There are obvious examples such as the airlines, baggage handlers, local hotels, family-run B&Bs, taxi firms and the retailers within the airport terminals. But beyond that, the Gatwick supply chain is substantial, with more than 90,000 businesses heavily reliant on Gatwick.

Gatwick is the epicentre of the South East economy, and plays an important role in attracting and retaining businesses, strengthening the diversity of our economy. Gatwick’s low-impact plans for the Northern Runway and its continuing commitment to invest in its infrastructure offers opportunities for employment, retaining a skilled workforce and the continued economic success of the region.

The need for Gatwick to recover quickly and strongly is evident. Not just for the businesses themselves, but for the vast number of local people they employ – I’m sure we all know many of them personally.

Prior to the pandemic, the airport supported one in 12 jobs across the region and contributed £2.7bn to regional gross domestic product. Its plans to bring the existing Northern Runway into regular use, alongside the Main Runway, would generate approximately 18,400 additional jobs by 2038 and an additional expected £1.5bn GVA to the region.

Obviously, we rightly all have concerns around the environmental impacts of such proposals. Gatwick says it is committed to growing responsibly and sustainably, and has backed this up with clear plans to improve local infrastructure and reduce noise and carbon emissions, still supporting the Government in achieving its commitment to net zero emissions by 2050.

The proposed new road layouts and public transport links will also further support local trade.

We as the Gatwick Diamond Initiative, alongside business groups across Sussex, Surrey, Kent and London, urge everyone interested, who supports or is impacted by Gatwick’s plans to respond to the public consultation, which closes on 1 December.

You can do this either by:

Completing the online consultation questionnaire at www.gatwickairport.com/futureplansEmail comments to [email protected]

Complete a hard copy questionnaire and return it using the FREEPOST address: FREEPOST RTRB-LUUJ-AGBY. Hard copies can be collected from a number of local libraries, town halls and community centres https://www.gatwickairport.com/globalassets/company/future-plans/northern-runway/2021/deposit-locations.pdf Brett North

Chairman, Gatwick Diamond Initiative