Controversy surrounding a second runway at Gatwick was re-ignited today (Wedbesday October 17) with the airport’s owners confirming that detailed work on its viability had begun.
“I believe a new runway at Gatwick could be affordable, practical and give passengers a greater choice of routes to key markets,” said Gatwick Airport chief executive Stewart Wingate.
Under his direction, the implications of a new runway are being looked at in detail, the findings of which will be submitted to the recently announced Independent Commission on Aviation Connectivity, chaired by Sir Howard Davies.
However, for those who have opposed Gatwick’s expansion for the last 50 years, the exercise is futile.
Brendon Sewill, the chair of the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign is adamant ‘all the options for a new runway have been examined many times before and have always been found impracticable’.
Meanwhile, the Airport has reassured that neither its work, nor its ambitions would contravene a 1979 agreement with West Sussex County Council forbidding any new runway prior to 2019.
Mr Wingate said: “Over the last three years we have transformed the airport, invested around £650 million and have a strong track record for delivering key routes to growth markets.
“However, we must now look to the future when Gatwick will become full and outline its long-term role in ensuring London has an efficient and resilient airport system that creates the crucial connectivity London and the UK needs.”
He added a new runway would allow Gatwick to compete and grow, and that they have both the capability and access to financial resources to make it happen.
But the local impact for those living near Gatwick would still be considerable according to Mr Sewill.
“A new runway would be designed to double the size of Gatwick, thus ultimately meaning twice the number of planes, twice the noise, twice the pollution, twice the airport-related traffic,” he said.