Have your say on airport expansion

Gatwick Airport
Gatwick Airport

Residents in Crowborough, Uckfield and Heathfield were able to view Gatwick Airport’s expansion plans at a consultation exhibition yesterday evening (Thursday April 17).

The airport has launched a consultation into the position of the second runway in a bid to answer questions and seek views of communities living around the airport or on the flight paths.

The consultation exhibition was held at Crowborough Community Centre and residents who wish to comment on the plans can visit www.gatwickairport.com/consultation.

Gatwick Airport was included in the Airport Commission’s shortlist of potential locations for the next runway in the UK, published in December 2013.

Responses received during the consultation period will be used to refine the plans for the second runway and will help Gatwick Airport Limited decide which option to put forward for further consideration by the Airports Commission.

East Sussex County Council has previously given its backing to Gatwick Airport’s proposal for a second runway.

Cllr Rupert Simmons, the county council’s lead member for economy, said: “A second runway at Gatwick Airport will help to deliver our key council priority of economic growth and creating jobs for our residents.

“While we support Gatwick Airport Limited’s bid, there needs to be investment in the area’s infrastructure to ensure any expansion delivers a real benefit to surrounding towns and counties.”

Earlier in the year the airport and NATS launched a consultation into changing flight paths at the single runway airport and how it could affect communities including people living in North Wealden.

Uckfield and Crowborough fall within the airspace used by flights to and from Gatwick Airport where it is proposing flight path changes between 4,000ft and 7,000ft. Residents were asked if they supported a proposal for extra routes to act as respite for other routes to and from the airport.

The consultation report said responses were balanced but the majority of residents in the Crowborough and Maresfield areas strongly opposed this proposal. But the majority of residents in Heathfield, Uckfield and Framfield supported it. Those who supported the proposals said the system would manage noise more efficiently and that the burden of noise would be spread out.

Those who opposed said noise would be spread over a wider area and that the number of people affected would be increased. The consultation asked if residents supported an idea to realign Gatwick Runway 26 departures routes below 4,000ft in order to help make better use of the existing runway , which Crowborough residents strongly opposed.

See letters page 30.