Airport officials yesterday revealed their final masterplan for Gatwick development over the next 15 years.
They are proposing to convert a backup runway into full-time routine use, and to introduce new technology which would enable an increase in the number of flights on the airport’s main runway.
But members of the campaign group Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions - CAGNE - say the proposals are ‘simply a second runway by stealth.’
However, Gatwick officials say the expansion - which could see a 27 per cent increase in air traffic by 2035 - will mean 20,000 new jobs and a £1billion boost to the regional economy.
But CAGNE hit out: “This clearly illustrates that Gatwick’s greed comes before everything and must now be seen as truly the neighbour from hell for all the communities of Sussex, Surrey and Kent that already find aircraft noise unbearable.”
The group also criticised the proposals’ effects on carbon emissions and criticised plans by the airport to safeguard land for possible future runway use.
However, officials say they have no plans for using that land in the immediate future and have no plans for using it as a ‘third runway.’
Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign - GACC - describe the expansion plans as ‘devastating.’
They say the proposals “will damage and blight the lives of thousands of residents surrounding the airport as well as impacting on those further away living under flight paths.”