Gatwick Pledges Noise Limit

Gatwick has pledged to limit how many residents are affected by aircraft noise if it is granted permission to build a second runway.

No more than 15,000 people would be subjected to 57 decibels, which is the level at which the Government believes ``significant community annoyance'' begins.

Latest figures show the number currently affected to this extent at the West Sussex airport is 3,300 compared to 270,000 at Heathrow, which is also bidding to build an additional runway.

Gatwick is proposing that the number of residents experiencing 55 decibels of noise would be limited to 40,000.

In a letter to Prime Minister David Cameron, Gatwick chairman Sir Roy McNulty claimed the airport is ``acutely aware that noise is a ''major environmental concern``.

He wrote that the pledge on noise would ``materially affect how a two-runway Gatwick would operate in the future'' and would be an important consideration in planning flight paths and aircraft frequency.

Sir Roy also stated that Gatwick has carried out further analysis of its plans resulting in an ``accelerated timetable'' for the project.

This means ground could still be broken before the next general election expected in May 2020 - and the new runway operational by 2025 - despite the Government's delay in making a decision over which scheme to back.

Gatwick has submitted ``a considerable amount of new and updated material'' to the Department for Transport over the past five months, Sir Roy added.

The Airports Commission recommended in July last year that a third runway should be built at Heathrow alongside a package of measures to make its expansion more acceptable to nearby residents.

In December the Department for Transport confirmed that the Commission's shortlisted options - new runways at Heathrow or Gatwick, or extension of an existing runway at Heathrow - were ``viable''.

But it also announced that further work on noise, pollution and compensation - which it expects to be concluded ``over the summer'' - will be carried out before it makes a decision on which project to support.

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