East Sussex: Council backs Gatwick Expansion Plans

East Sussex County Council has voted to back plans for a second runway at Gatwick. Both the full council and the cabinet have decided to support the proposal.

The council statement

The economic benefit an expansion of Gatwick Airport would bring to the county is an opportunity that cannot be missed, East Sussex County Council has decided.

Cabinet reiterated the council’s commitment to supporting local businesses by confirming its support for a second runway at the airport provided it comes with action to limit the impact on residents of East Sussex and to improve the county’s infrastructure. This followed a special full council meeting which also voted in favour of expansion.

“One of the county council’s key priorities is to support economic growth and job creation in East Sussex,” said council leader Cllr Keith Glazier.

“We have an opportunity here to back a scheme which will provide better links for business to trade across the globe, as well as encouraging inward investment, securing new jobs and attracting more tourists.

“We have listened to the views of the business community and believe our support for the second runway demonstrates our commitment to business growth and economic development.

“As well as those directly employed at Gatwick Airport, we anticipate a growth in the job market with businesses relocating to the county or expanding to take full advantage of the opportunities a second runway would deliver.”

Following Tuesday’s cabinet meeting, Christina Ewbank from the Alliance of Chambers in East Sussex said: “The business community of East Sussex is delighted that the county council is continuing its support for Gatwick Airport.

“We believe a second runway and the resultant expansion are vital to the economic growth and sustainability of the county for many years to come.”

The council is being consulted on the possibility of an additional runway at Gatwick. The Airports Commission shortlisted Gatwick’s proposal along with two from Heathrow.

The county council, along with other consultees, have until February 4, 2015 to comment on the proposal for Gatwick. In the summer, the Airports Commission will put its recommendation to the Government, which will make the final decision.

The Airports Commission suggests 63,000 jobs could be created by an expansion of Gatwick Airport. There are currently around 1,100 East Sussex residents employed directly at Gatwick and this is expected to rise to around 3,400 should a second runway be built.

While the authority would welcome the benefits of a second runway, councillors are adamant that Gatwick Airport Limited fully fund and deliver mitigation and compensation measures promised at the beginning of the consultation.

These include;

• £46.5m to help fund infrastructure to support new housing

• £3.75m to help create 2,500 apprenticeships for local young people across the south east

• £5m for a noise insulation scheme for homes affected by aircraft noise

• £45m for a council tax initiative to compensate houses significantly affected by noise

• £10m to fund local highway improvements

“We appreciate that there are people in East Sussex with concerns about the impact an additional runway will have, particularly those living under or near the flight path,” Cllr Glazier added.

“But proposals for expansion give us the perfect opportunity to ensure measures are put in place to mitigate the impact, including investment in infrastructure and money being made available for noise insulation.

“Should the Gatwick expansion be selected, as well as the measures set out for those who would be significantly affected by the proposals, we will insist on specific mitigation measures for East Sussex residents adversely affect by noise from a second runway.”

As well as reiterating its support for an additional runway at Gatwick, the county council welcomed ongoing discussions with the DfT, Gatwick Airport and the Gatwick Consultative Committee over the impact of noise from existing flight paths.

The council agreed to oppose a narrow, concentrated arrival flight path which was trialled by the National Air Traffic Service and the Civil Aviation Authority, and which had a negative impact on residents in the north of the county.

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