LETTER: Runway support is contradictory

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In your edition of August 21, you were kind enough to publish a letter from me pointing out the startling contradiction between West Sussex County Council’s Structure Plan 2006-2016 and the governing party’s decision to support a second runway at Gatwick.

In my letter I quoted chapter and verse of the Structure Plan, which, any rational person would suppose, prevents development within the Gatwick/Crawley when exactly those conditions which are currently present (e.g. low unemployment, traffic congestion) exist.

I suggested that Ms Goldsmith, leader of the majority at WSCC, use your columns to explain how they reconcile this striking conflict. Alas, she has not taken up this challenge.

Accordingly, I wrote to every single one of the 71 council members repeating the question.

I was gratified to receive some 20 replies. A further reply came from an assistant to Ms Goldsmith assuring me that I would have a reply ‘as soon as possible’, which was heartening,

On 11th October, I wrote a reminder.

Now, at the time of writing on October 27, a month after my original letter, I am still waiting.

None of the councillors who replied could reconcile the Structure Plan with the Gatwick policy. A Conservative member stated that he did not think the two were necessarily irreconcilable.

I invited him to share his logic with me, but he has not replied.

In the three days that elapsed while WSCC came to its decision of 19th July, I wonder if it considered the following, to give just a few examples:

Whether Southern Water can supply the 2,600 million gallons of domestic water needed each year by incoming workers and their families, PLUS the water demands of an airport more than doubled in size.

Whether its recently published Waste and Minerals Plan takes account of the solid waste to be generated.

Whether the county’s sewage disposal will be able to deal with the liquid waste. (Southern Water again - have they been asked?)

Whether the recent NOx (Nitrogen Oxide) measurements at the measuring station at Horley mean it would be dangerous for elderly people, children and people with heart or lung problems to live anywhere in the Crawley area. NOx damages lung tissue (NOx is largely generated by motor traffic, though planes contribute.

Because of the difficulty in creating adequate extra rail access to Gatwick, a higher proportion of passengers will arrive at Gatwick by road than at Heathrow, as indeed they do now. The area around Heathrow currently has the highest NOx readings in outer London.

CHRISTOPHER ALLEN

Nowhurst Lane, Broadbridge Heath