Future Airport Expansion

Aviation Strategy

The Government has started work on a new strategy for the aviation industry.  GACC has put forward a number of important ideas on what should be in it.


We believe that any expansion should only take place if matched by policies to reduce (not ‘mitigate’) noise and pollution, and to increase the proportion of passengers and staff travelling by public transport;  and if it can be shown to be consistent with national climate change targets.

In 2009 Gatwick Airport applied for planning permission to extend the North Terminal in order to facilitate expansion to 40 million passengers, with 40,000 extra flights.  GACC objected strongly –  download word doc
.  The Government refused to order a Public Inquiry, and Crawley Borough gave permission - imposing no significant conditions to limit environmental damage.


Gatwick Airport Ltd published their Master Plan in July 2012.  Because the draft had made little mention of the planned increase in noise, the preceding consultation was invalid.  The masterplan postponed the date at which Gatwick was expected to reach 40 million passengers to 2021/22.   Noise, including ground noise, was planned to increase.

In February 2001 BAA signed a legal agreement with the local authorities around Gatwick for the period to 2008-9. (Not to be confused with the 1979 no runway legal agreement).  Planning permission was in effect agreed for development within the airport boundary, subject to thirty six environmental safeguards. The most important safeguard was that the area covered by the 57 leq noise contour would be halved compared to 1996. GACC played a major role in initiating and facilitating this agreement.

Another Section 106 agreement was signed with neighbouring local authorities in January 2009 to cover the period to 2015. GACC was not involved.  The Councils agreed to support growth to 40 million passengers a year, and in exchange BAA (now GIP) promised to introduce a number of ‘action plans’.  Unfortunately the agreement did not lay down what should be in the ‘action plans’ and most of those produced so far are unimpressive.  Read the agreement.
GACC urged the local councils – without success -  to insist on a legal agreement which contained simple but precise obligations including: no increase in noise; no increase in local pollution; no worsening of the climate change damage caused by Gatwick; and at least 40 % of air passengers to use public transport.

In the December 2003 Air Transport White Paper the Government stated that all the land between the airport and Crawley should be safeguarded in case it was needed for a new runway.  New houses or business premises would not be permitted. Crawley Borough Council meekly included this safeguarded area in its Local Development Framework, while stating that they continued to be opposed to any new runway.

Compensation is provided for people living within, or near, the safeguarded area who wish to move but find it difficult to sell their houses.