Campaigners claim Gatwick Airport expansion consultation was ‘misleading’ on climate change

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Campaigners fighting plans to expand Gatwick Airport say that climate change costs of expansion have been ‘substantially underestimated.’

Both the group Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions - CAGNE - and the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign - GACC - say that a report by economic advisers the New Economics Foundation has revealed that the airport’s expansion consultation, which closed in December 2021, used out-of-date values for carbon emissions generated by the proposed project, ‘substantially underestimating the true climate change costs of expansion.’

A spokesperson for CAGNE said: “This must now seriously question Gatwick plans for expansion and the results of the public consultation as decisions were based on flawed data according to this new report.”

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The group says that all active UK airport expansion should now be paused “in light of this new evidence.”

Gatwick's runwaysGatwick's runways
Gatwick's runways

GACC chairman Peter Barclay said: “It is now clear that Gatwick’s consultation was misleading in fundamental respects.

“By using carbon values that it knew or should have known were out of date, and by excluding other climate change costs, the airport has given a false impression of the climate impacts of its proposed expansion.

“The economic case for expanding Gatwick has collapsed. The airport should now acknowledge that expansion is a non-starter and focus on reducing its already huge climate, noise and other impacts.”

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A Gatwick spokesperson said: “We are acutely aware of our responsibilities on climate change and the environment and we will grow in a way that supports the Government in achieving its commitment to net zero emissions by 2050.

“Our Northern Runway plans are designed to unlock new capacity from our existing infrastructure, much of which is already in place.

“We believe our Northern Runway plans can be compatible with UK climate change targets given a strong industry focus on reducing emissions through market-based measures and innovation, including improvements in engine efficiency, the use of sustainable aviation fuels and hydrogen and electric-power technologies.

“New processes and technologies obviously require investment to develop and we will continue to work collaboratively cross-industry to ensure we stay on-course to meet the Government commitment of net zero emissions by 2050.”