Gatwick chief welcomes new study into air quality

W29508H13''Gatwick Airport Feature. Planes SUS-141104-153945001
W29508H13''Gatwick Airport Feature. Planes SUS-141104-153945001
  • Airports Commission was expected to report this summer
  • Pollution at Heathrow and Gatwick to be examined
  • Gatwick chief - airport has never breached air quality limits

The chief executive at Gatwick Airport Ltd is confident they will win the runway battle after a new consultation on air quality was launched today (Friday May 8).

The Airports Commission announced the fresh talks this morning and it may mean there is a delay to its report on airport expansion in the South East. It was originally set for next month.

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Gatwick and Heathrow have been battling it out for expansion with each claiming theirs it the only viable option.

This morning Gatwick Airport Ltd Stewart Wingate welcomed the new consultation, which runs until Friday May 29.

He said: “It is highly significant that first decision by the Airports Commission after the election is to consult on the issue of air quality. It shows that the issue has now become fundamental to the choice that lies ahead. It is an issue that cannot be ignored.

“This decision obviously follows the Supreme Court judgement last month which requires the new Government to prepare a plan to meet EU air quality regulations. The area around Heathrow currently breaches legal air quality limits and it defies common sense that a third runway - with hundreds of thousands of extra car journeys that it would bring - is the solution to the problem.

“Air quality has been a showstopper for Heathrow before and it is now clear that it will be again.

“In contrast, Gatwick has never breached legal air quality limits and its location means it can guarantee that it never will. This decision is about the economy and the environment. Gatwick’s plan is simpler, cheaper, faster and quieter - above all it can actually happen.”

The Airports Commission has shortlisted three options: a second runway at Gatwick south of the existing runway, a third runway at Heathrow and an extension of one of Heathrow’s existing runways.

To view the consultation documents and respond to it go to the Airports Commission website.