LETTER: ‘No’ to runway plans at Gatwick

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Last week, Sally Pavey of CAGNE challenged elected representatives and candidates for office to declare their stance on Gatwick expansion in simple Yes or No terms.

Well, I’m very pleased to be able to do so. As the Horsham parliamentary candidate for the newly-formed Something New party (more info at http://horsham.somethingnew.org.uk), I’m happy to say that I’m unequivocally against a second runway at Gatwick, and so that’s a clear No from me.

This does leave me open to accusations of NIMBYism though, so let me be totally clear. I’m also against new runways at Heathrow, Stansted, Luton, the Boris Island, and all other proposed expansion of air travel.

The simple reason for this is that we have a big problem that we must deal with. Aviation is a major contributor to climate change, and is increasing all the time. The other activities that go along with it, such as increased road travel, also make this problem worse. The science tells us we must act, and so, taking a long-term view, we must avoid increasing such pollution wherever possible. Air travel is one (just one) of those places.

We are told that air travel is essential for economic growth; that businesses need more capacity. However, I can work quite happily with colleagues on the other side of the world without needing to actually travel to them; we have incredible communication tools that let us be anywhere at any time, and work with anybody without leaving our homes.

I strongly suspect that the business that needs an expansion of air travel is in fact the air travel business. However, I don’t think we should be gambling our future on the narrow interests of those who make a profit out of destroying that very future.

James Smith

2015 Horsham parliamentary candidate for Something New

Greenfinch Way, Horsham