Extra runway vital for prosperity

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‘Tory U-turn over second runway?’ Yes it may well be, but don’t knock it, maybe the Tories have suddenly realised that aviation is the fifth biggest earner to UK plc. They had better support it, especially when you consider how important the city is to the UK.

What was pleasing was to see Peter Burgess taking Brendon Sewill to task; I would also suggest that the Old Tory diehards and GACC have together delayed the progress of Gatwick Airport to the detriment of the region.

Whatever way you cut it Gatwick is a major player for employment and the prosperity for everyone in Surrey and Sussex. It directly or indirectly employs around 40,000 people with tens of thousands more dependant on it.

Also, according to Gatwick Airport’s Financial Statement, it contributed over £28 million in rent and rates to the local economy in the year ending March 2013. And, unlike so many airports throughout the world, Gatwick has not cost either the local or national taxpayer a penny. Both under BAA ownership and now under GIP the development has been privately funded.

You only have to look at the M4 corridor to see what Heathrow has done for employment and prosperity. Of course there is some noise and pollution from aviation, but even in GACC’s scaremongering advertisement in the July 18 WSCT, it is clear that the impact on Horsham of an additional runway will be minimal. Let’s face it, it was not Mr Sewill and his cronies that invested one penny into producing the quieter aircraft that we have today, it was the industry working together.

For decades Gatwick has had to play second fiddle to Heathrow while we have watched our near neighbours in Europe including Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam, our real competitors, build their additional runways.

In last week’s WSCT Mr Price from Horsham was correct in that the lack of runway capacity has seen all but one American airline move to Heathrow to the detriment of employment for the local area.

Three years ago Gatwick was sold to GIP because the Competition Commission said it had to compete. One only has to visit Gatwick to see how the impressive modernisation programme has progressed.

Gatwick is rapidly becoming the world class airport it should be and it needs a second runway to really compete and to continue to bring prosperity to this region.

D. MAURICE

Livingstone Road, Horsham