Opinions divided on second runway plans

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Business leaders and councillors are split on the case for a second runway at Gatwick as the airport made its proposals public last week.

Since the results of a county and borough council commissioned survey were announced two weeks ago, Crawley councillors have been saying where they stand on airport expansion.

In his column printed in full on page 30 this week, Cllr Bob Lanzer, leader of Crawley Borough Council, writes: “Loosely the debate remains as it has always been - that between the economy and the environment - where the latter covers a host of topics relating to the infrastructure needed for expansion.

“For me, and it’s only a personal view, the environment wins and I do not support a second runway.”

At its July meeting, the majority of West Sussex County councillors voted in favour of a second runway ‘in principle’, but Cllr Brenda Smith (Lab, Langley Green and West Green) disagreed. She said: “Whilst I accept there’s been some consultation, that has not been done enough in Crawley and in the county. They are the people who will suffer.

“We haven’t got room for a university, but we have room for a second runway. I appreciate the business view, but businesses did not put us here, the residents did. It will totally change the outlook for people living in Langley Green.”

But Wendy Bell, general manager at Sussex Enterprise, called on businesses to support it. She said: “To secure sustainable economic growth for Sussex and the areas surrounding Gatwick Airport it is absolutely vital that Gatwick’s proposal is considered the best choice.

“Whether you are looking at the environmental impacts of a second runway or the economic impact Gatwick is the clear choice for the Davies Commission, however businesses in the area should not be complacent.

“It is important that a decision is made and is made speedily so that businesses are able to commit their futures to the Gatwick Diamond area which will free them to focus on growing their businesses.”