Gatwick: Reaction After Airport Makes Runway Shortlist
17 December 2013, 14:26
Heart's been getting all the reaction to today's report from the Government's Airports Commission which has recommended Gatwick as an option for a new runway.
It's to ease pressure on airports in the region with growing numbers of passengers.
A final decision though is not due until after the next General Election in 2015.
Read all the reaction below and click here for more on the announcement.
'Economic Benefits' of plans welcomed
Stewart Wingate, Chief Executive officer at Gatwick Airport said: “I am very pleased that the strength of London Gatwick's case has been recognised by the Airports Commission and that the short list has been narrowed down to two main locations.
"Expansion at London Gatwick can give the country the economic benefits it needs at an environmental cost it can afford with the lower fares and greater choice that passengers want. It can be delivered more quickly and at lower cost.
"London Gatwick is also uniquely placed to help meet all the different aviation needs of the future. It is the only option which can the deliver the right type of capacity for the UK as it is the only airport serving all airlines models including both low cost and legacy airlines as well as both transfer passengers and people flying direct. I believe the critical importance of this to the aviation debate will become far more widely recognised over the coming months.
"I welcome the growing local support over the last year for our proposals. We do not take any of it for granted and we will do everything we can to engage with local people in the months ahead - including formal consultation on our proposals in the spring.
"The real debate starts now, not least on the environmental impacts and business case of each option. There is a lot of hard work ahead and intense scrutiny ahead but we are confident that by Summer 2015 there will be a wide recognition that expansion at Gatwick is the right choice for the future.”
Meanwhile, West Sussex County Council said it's also pleased that the Commission has included Gatwick Airport on its shortlist of airports with the potential to meet the nation’s aviation needs in the long-term.
They've issued the following statement: "Gatwick Airport’s initial proposals will be the subject of further work so that decisions about future airport capacity can be well informed.
"Now that we know the Commission’s position the County Council will strive to influence Gatwick Airport Limited, the Commission and the Government in supporting the expansion at Gatwick Airport whilst having due regard to the potential environmental and infrastructure issues. Where possible, it will to take a lead in addressing these issues and securing benefits for the communities in the county.
"The County Council voted to support in principle the expansion of Gatwick Airport on economic grounds. The Council supports a vibrant, growing economy and the Government’s drive for growth for the future economic prosperity of the country.
"The Council, in principle, supports such a proposal as conducive to economic growth and prosperity in West Sussex, and is equally cognisant of the environmental and infrastructure issues that may arise from a future increase in airport capacity.
"On balance there are compelling economic arguments for a second runway because of the benefits to everyone in West Sussex.
"There is a clear need for long-term, sustainable business growth in order to protect the local economy, and create new jobs."
West Sussex County Council voted in favour of expanding Gatwick 'on principle' Hear our interview with cabinet member, Pieter Montyn
Campaigners say they will continue to fight plans
The Gatwick Area Conseravtion Campaign say it's no surprise that Gatwick has been included in the shortlist claiming the 'wide-spaced runway option' would cause the most environmental damage.
Brendon Sewill, chairman of GACC, said: "Now the battle is for real. The battle lines are drawn. Now the spotlight is on Gatwick the next step will be to examine the runway plans in detail, and it will be found that Gatwick is an unsuitable site. It is too small, it can never be a four-runway hub, and the 'constellation' concept (London with three airports each with two runways) is coming unstuck."
Hear our Interview with Sally Pavey of GACC
Georgia Wrighton, Director of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (Sussex) said: "A second runway at Gatwick, together with sprawling development and urbanisation anticipated on a massive scale, would concrete over cherished open countryside. A heady cocktail of increased flights, HGVs and cars would erode the tranquillity of rural communities, and the health and quality of life of people living under its shadow. The national obsession with expansion will land a disaster on the countryside whilst making runaway climate change unstoppable. Instead of airport expansion we need genuine support for and promotion of alternatives.'
Andy Smith, Director of CPRE Surrey: "Surrey is already struggling to cope with being squeezed between Heathrow and Gatwick airports, with serious environmental impacts in terms of noise and air pollution, both from flights and from road traffic. These problems would become significantly worse with a new runway at either Heathrow or Gatwick, which would undoubtedly make the quality of life worse for communities across Surrey, and would lead to new pressures on the beleaguered Green Belt.'