If Kent County Council has withdrawn its support for a second runway at Gatwick, then East Sussex County Council should do the same.
That’s the view of campaigners who are furious ESCC still supports what they describe as ‘the most damaging expansion option.’
Increased aircraft noise this summer from new flight paths has fuelled anger over county’s continued backing for the new runway.
Dominic Nevill, of Crowborough, said: “More than 1,000 people and five local MPs including Wealden MP Charles Hendry attended a Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign meeting last Saturday. Mr Hendry accused Gatwick of being ‘in denial’ and ‘lying’ about its continued insistence there have been no changes to flight paths.” Mr Hendry said: “A second runway does not make economic or environmental sense.”
The decision to support the runway was made by lead member for economy, Cllr Rupert Simmons (Heathfield), who ratified ESCC economy and transport director, Rupert Clubb’s recommendation at a June cabinet meeting. An ESCC spokesman said: “We will continue to broadly support the proposed second runway at Gatwick because it delivers real economic benefits to the county including creation of jobs. If a new runway is built at Heathrow it might lead to an exodus by businesses from the Gatwick area and that could severely damage the local economy. We are fully aware of the issues around aircraft movement, surface transport infrastructure and noise and have made our concerns public. The Airports Commission’s final report, due next year, should address these concerns and we await its findings.”
Citing Kent’s U-turn, Mr Nevill said the main reason was a change in flight paths which made life intolerable for people across the South East.
GACC spokeswoman Miriam Nevill asked: “What are ESCC doing to protect us from this threat? We’ve had a taste of the horrendous reality of more concentrated flightpaths and increased air traffic this summer. Gatwick could ultimately be larger in passenger numbers (87 million pa) than Heathrow is today (72 million pa) and the number of flight movements per peak hour will more than double to 95. Now’s the time to send a very clear message to ESCC about our objection to their continued support for expansion at Gatwick. It’s time for ESCC to show us they can and do listen and support the rights of voters.”