West Sussex County Council took a U-turn, voting against plans for a second runway at Gatwick Airport yesterday (Monday January 19).
This comes just one day after the airport said if its wins a bid for a second runway, it will be the ‘world’s most efficient two-runway airport’.
East Sussex County Council supports the plans, saying it would support long term economic growth in the area, but West Sussex is the second council in the area to withdraw its support for a second runway.
Kent County Council also opposed the plans in November.
Yesterday, in West Sussex, councillors voted by a margin of 37 to 26 against the authority’s leadership in favour of a motion expressing ‘its opposition to a new runway to expand Gatwick Airport’.
This comes 18 months after the county council voted to support a second runway ‘in principle’ subject to environmental considerations.
Some supported expansion at Gatwick due to potential economic benefits, but the majority raised serious concerns about the current state of West Sussex’s infrastructure.
Caroline Ansell, Conservative parliamentary candidate for Eastbourne and Willingdon, came out in support of the expansion, and said, “Aviation is vital as a driver and catalyst to the wider economy.
“And, in Eastbourne terms, a second runway at Gatwick represents future prosperity. It’s totally strategic to our Tourism, conferencing and language schools.”
“It could be game-changing in our ability to attract new, high end business to the Town, the particularly with improved road infrastructure as part of the roll-out.”
“To build the second runway and terminal - and all the related services - Gatwick is commitment to 40 per cent local procurement. Companies in Eastbourne qualify and serious contracts could follow. There is a pledge to create a raft of new apprenticeships.
“Eastbourne simply cannot afford to see this opportunity go by.”
But the final decision is up to The Airports Commission, which is considering three shortlisted options for a new runway in the south east of England – two at Heathrow and one at Gatwick.
View the commission’s consultation documents, and suggest your views on the Gatwick expansion here.
The consultation ends on February 3.
See East Sussex County Council’s view on Gatwick here.