LETTER: Major impact of a second runway

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Norman Bryant’s letter about Gatwick, published in your 23rd July issue, is long on hyperbole but contrary to factual evidence

According to Gatwick’s submission of 14th May to the Airports Commission 22,000 new jobs directly related to the airport plus 100,000 new ‘catalytic’ jobs would be created across the South East. It is unarguable that most of these would be created in the Gatwick area.

A traffic expert, Jeremy Early, has calculated that the huge increase in passenger numbers forecast by Gatwick would mean another 36,000 traffic movements a day along the A23, M23 and other local roads.

Mr Early writes ‘even if we stay with the West Sussex(County Council sponsored research) figure of 40,000 new jobs and if half of these travel by public transport which is optimistic, it would still mean 20,000 extra car journeys twice a day, adding a staggering 40,000 to the air passenger figure...’.

On 12th August 2013 the Daily Telegraph reported that the A23 running up to the start of the M25 at Coulsdon and the opposite direction from the M25 were eighth and ninth of the ten worst roads on Britain for on time journeys in June 2013.

Quite apart from this, Gatwick forecasts an increase of no less than 900 per cent in freight traffic (from 90,000 tons to over a million p.a.) were it to be granted a second runway. The above figures do not even take account of the HGV movements that will generate.

Happy motoring everyone!

Let’s turn to employment. A few months back the National Statistics Office figures showed that in the seven boroughs bordering and including Heathrow 25,100 persons were claiming jobseekers’ allowance and the unemployment rate varied from one per cent (Richmond) to 2.7 per cent (Brent).

In the equivalent seven for Gatwick the figure was 8,600, with Croydon contributing well over half with 4,700. One may well question whether the unemployed of Croydon can pay the travel costs to the low paid majority of jobs created by the second runway.

Only one of the remaining six had an unemployment rate over one per cent (Crawley 1.3 per cent); the rest varied from 0.5 per cent to 0.8 per cent. I’m not sure that shop owners or customers will appreciate the likely wage inflation generated by the resultant labour shortage, and the increased spending power of the newly employed maximum of 3,900 spread over six boroughs will not counterbalance the decision not to open a new shop.

Two quick points. Mr Bryant probably does not realise that the outdated Leq figure, beloved of airports and their client airlines for measuring noise annoyance, takes no account of the increase in incident numbers which probably cancels the effect of quieter planes, and that the compensation offered by Gatwick (and Heathrow) is ludicrous when your life savings will be wiped out by having one of the new flight paths over your house.

If Mr Bryant were to read section 14 of the Airports Commission report he will find that the Commission also considers the compensation offered inadequate - and Heathrow is more generous than Gatwick.

CHRISTOPHER ALLEN

Nowhurst Lane, Horsham

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