Gatwick Airport holding six exhibitions on growth master plan but only one is in Surrey

October 23, 2018
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Gatwick Airport has been accused of deliberately holding consultation events about its ambitious plans for future growth in “peripheral” areas not badly affected by aircraft noise.

The airport’s 2018 draft master plan, published last Thursday (October 18), outlined plans for dozens of extra flights every day. It initially announced five public exhibitions on the plans – in Horsham, Croydon, Tunbridge Wells, Brighton and Crawley.

While a sixth, in Horley, has now been added, Communities Against Gatwick Noise Emission (CAGNE), accused the airport of being “underhand” and ignoring its closest neighbours who would bear the brunt of extra noise. However Gatwick said it chose those locations to ensure people from all affected areas had one close enough to travel to.

A CAGNE spokesman said towns and villages closest to the airport “are the very communities that need to participate as they will be the ones that will take the full brunt of Gatwick’s increase in noise and may be totally unaware of what is being proposed”.

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He added: “It is simply not acceptable for Gatwick to think they can get away with holding events in Brighton and Croydon so that they can manipulate the responses to their loaded questionnaire whilst avoiding holding events in affected areas as Reigate, Redhill, Dorking, Alfold, Lingfield and Copthorne.”

CAGNE has written to Gatwick and demands that every parish that is impacted to the west, east, north and south have an event.

The master plan revealed details on how it could bring the emergency runway into use as a second runway – first reported by Surrey Live back in January – and how it will up the number of flights using the main runway with the help of new technology. The airport has also still not abandoned hopes for a brand new runway and will “safeguard” the land that could be built on.

Gatwick’s main runway, with the standby runway on the left
(Image: Grant Melton)

The emergency runway lies parallel to the main runway, just 198m to the north. Gatwick’s plan to bring it into regular use could allow up to 15 aircraft to take off per hour. It would mean, on top of expanding the main runway’s capacity, an extra 12 million passengers could use the airport each year by 2027, with 60,000 extra landings and take-offs. However, it could also cause a 19 per cent increase in greenhouse gas emissions.

A 12-week public consultation into the master plan is now under way.

A spokesman for the Gatwick Airport said: “The six venues selected for our upcoming public exhibitions – Horsham, Croydon, Tunbridge Wells, Brighton, Crawley and Horley – were chosen to ensure that all of Gatwick’s neighbours are within a reasonable travelling distance of an exhibition, both by car and public transport.

“For anyone who is unable to attend our exhibitions, they can access our full draft master plan and consultation summary document – and send us their feedback directly – at gatwickairport.com/masterplan2018.”

The consultation on the master plan runs until January 10.

Using the emergency runway

The master plan says “significant” investment would be needed for the emergency runway plan. It would need to be widened by 12 metres to make it legally far enough away from the main runway and could only then be used for take-off by the smaller planes. Taxiways would need to be reconfigured, both terminals would need to be upgraded and extra pier stands may be needed.

Additional parking would also need to be provided and the road network around the airport upgraded.

There would also be environmental impacts, with a significant increase in greenhouse gas emmissions. The airport produced 772,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2017. That is forecast to rise to 799,000 in 2028 with the increased use of the main runway. However, if the standby runway is also used, it could rise to 949,000 – a difference of 19 per cent.

In mitigation, the master plan says the airport is “closely involved in key initiatives that provide opportunities for delivering a lower carbon footprint than that indicated”. Noise levels are expected to reduce as aircraft become quieter, it says.

CAGNE chair Sally Pavey
(Image: Grant Melton)

If the emergency runway plan goes ahead, a period of consultation and engagement would start in 2019 and, if the development consent was granted, it could be operational by the mid-2020s.

The consultation events

Saturday November 3, 3.30-7.30pm – The Barn, Causeway, Horsham, RH12 1HE

Thursday November 8, 3.30-7.30pm – Centrale Shopping Centre, Croydon, CR0 1TY

Saturday November 10, 11am-5pm – Royal Victoria Place Shopping Centre, Tunbridge Wells, TN1 2SS

Monday November 12, 3.30-7.30pm – Churchill Square Shopping Centre, Western Road, Brighton, BN1 2RG

Saturday November 17, 11am-5pm – County Mall Shopping Centre, Crawley, RH10 1FG

Saturday November 24, 3.30-7.30pm – Horley Leisure Centre, Anderson Way, Horley RH6 8SP

Article source: https://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/gatwick-airport-holding-six-exhibitions-15313250


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