16 reasons for opposing an additional 2nd new runway at Gatwick
Rejected by the Airports Commission and the Government
After three years intensive research, at a cost of £20 million, the Airports Commission reached the clear and unanimous decision that Gatwick would be a poor second best. After further detailed study that conclusion has been confirmed by the Government.
‘Bucket and Spade’
Gatwick has always been mainly a leisure airport, catering for short-haul traffic to Europe. According to the Government: ‘ … expansion at Gatwick Airport would not enhance, and would consequently threaten, the UK’s global aviation hub status.’
Worsening the North – South divide.
It has been estimated that a second runway at Gatwick at full capacity would create around 60,000 new jobs. Since there is low unemployment in the Gatwick area, these would all need to come from abroad or from other parts of the UK, worsening the regional imbalance.
Making Gatwick bigger than Heathrow would mean that many passengers would need to travel from north of London, making congestion on the M25 even worse. Expanding Gatwick would inhibit the growth of regional airports. The South East has one third of the population of the UK but two thirds of the flights.
Severe environmental damage
The town of Crawley with 110,000 residents would suffer severe noise and pollution. The proposed new airport boundary would be only 100 yards from residential areas. The character of parts of Surrey, Sussex and Kent would be altered for ever as a result of urbanisation, noise, pollution and traffic congestion.
About 40,000 new houses would be needed, also many new commercial premises, causing urbanisation and loss of countryside.
Twice as many aircraft in the sky
A second runway is designed to double the number of aircraft in the sky.
New routes over previously peaceful areas or doubling the number of aircraft on existing routes would cause great disturbance, distress and anger.
Worse air quality
The Airports Commission found that a second Gatwick runway would mean that over 50,000 people would suffer worse air quality; more schools and hospitals would suffer pollution than with a new north-west runway at Heathrow; and more households would be placed at risk of health-damaging air quality.
An Air Quality Management Area (where there is a risk that pollution may exceed legal limits) has already been designated in Crawley within 1 mile of the proposed new airport boundary.
Road traffic delays
It has been estimated that a second runway at full capacity would mean around 100,000 more vehicles a day in the Gatwick area, causing serious road congestion and delays.
Gatwick’s aim to achieve a tenfold increase in freight would mean more commercial vehicles, increasing pollution and congestion.
A second runway would mean around 90,000 extra people a day using rail services in the Gatwick area. Most of the improvements planned at present for the Brighton-London line are necessary to deal with natural growth, so the result would be standing room only on some services.
Risk of disruption
With Gatwick served by only one rail line and only one motorway (the M23) any serious incident could bring the airport to a standstill.
Heritage at risk
Seventeen listed buildings would be demolished – more than at any time since the WW II blitz. Five of these buildings are listed grade 2* – of special importance. HS2 would only mean demolishing six listed buildings of which only one would be grade 2*.
14 hectares of ancient woodland would be destroyed.
Climate change damage
Twice the number of flights would mean twice the climate change damage; or worse if there are more long-haul flights. It would be difficult to reconcile a new runway at Gatwick (or at Heathrow) with the agreement signed by 175 nations in Paris 2015 to limit global warming to 20, and to aim for 1.50.
Tax subsidy for airlines
Aviation is subsidised by paying no fuel tax and no VAT. Air passenger duty only represents a quarter of the value of these tax concessions. Gradually increasing tax on air travel would slow the rate of growth and, with full use of existing runways, render any new runway unnecessary.
London has five main runways (2 at Heathrow plus Gatwick, Stansted and Luton). If the average number of passengers per aircraft increases by 20% that would be equal to one new runway.
we have strong opposition
However, a second Gatwick runway is opposed by:
easyJet and British Airways
West Sussex County Council
Kent County Council
Crawley Borough Council
Horsham District Council
Mid Sussex District Council
Mole Valley District Council
Tandridge District Council
Tunbridge Wells Borough Council
Wealden District Council
50 Town and Parish Councils
The Woodland Trust
Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace
RSPB and WWF UK
Campaign for Better Transport
The Aviation Environment Federation
**All ten local Members of Parliament.