Protesters opposed to expansion at Gatwick Airport are planning to launch a ‘Not Now, Not Ever’ campaign in Horsham on Saturday.
Airport officials will be in the town outlining the airport’s masterplan for growth as part of a series of public exhibitions.
But members of the campaign group Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions - CAGNE - aim to launch a new campaign to halt proposals which, they say, could end up with Gatwick having three runways.
The airport masterplan includes proposals to convert an existing stand-by runway - currently only used when the main runway is closed - into ‘routine use’.
The plan also outlines alternative proposals that could see new technology being used to increase capacity on the existing main runway, as well as proposals to safeguard land to the south of the airport for a possible new runway in the future.
The expansion, say airport bosses, would mean the creation of 20,000 new jobs in the area and a £2 billion boost to the economy.
But opponents are concerned about the environmental impact and a lack if infrastructure to cope with the airport growth. They are inviting residents to join them in a protest at The Barn in Horsham’s Causeway at 3.30pm on Saturday.
A spokesman for CAGNE said: “Communities have had enough of Gatwick’s owners continual threat to rural communities in seeking to blight them by obtaining new runways by the backdoor.”
Meanwhile, members of the Sussex branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England - CPRE - have also hit out at the public consultation on the airport’s plans saying it is “nothing more than an urban ‘publicity road show’ which shows no consideration for the countryside, rural communities or the wider environment.”
As well as Horsham, public exhibitions of the airport proposals are being staged in Croydon, Tunbridge Wells, Brighton and Crawley. The CPRE says rural areas should also be represented. Chairman David Johnson said: “People forget this is a relatively rural area. The environmental obstacles for Gatwick are extremely serious and cannot be underestimated or ignored. And yet Gatwick has chosen to hold its consultation exhibitions well away from the rural areas which would take the brunt of this damaging proposal. Instead they have cherry picked unaffected urban centres in what appears to be a publicity road show which shows no consideration at all for the environment.”