The airport has failed to demonstrate that there is a need for additional airport capacity that is consistent with government policy as set out in the Airport’s National Policy Statement. Its impact on noise, climate, road and rail congestion, worse air quality and the local economy would be unacceptable.
There should be no expansion at Gatwick.
Responding to the consultation
The question, in the Gatwick questionnaire (there are 14 questions in total) is:
Question 1. Northern Runway proposals: overall
- We are proposing to bring the existing Northern Runway into routine use alongside our Main Runway. Enabling dual runway operations and supporting increased passenger numbers at Gatwick would involve other changes, including to airport infrastructure and some surrounding roads. We have included proposals to mitigate the effects of the Northern Runway Project and maximise the benefits, especially to local economic growth and new jobs.
To what extent do you support or oppose our proposals to bring the existing Northern Runway into routine use?
Answer: Strongly oppose
Please explain your views
GACC suggested short response
We strongly oppose Gatwick’s proposals.
The airport has failed to demonstrate that there is a need for additional airport capacity. The government’s climate change advisers have made clear that there is no case for additional airport capacity in the UK and that any net expansion would have unacceptable impacts.
Expansion at Gatwick would also have devastating consequences for local communities and people under flight paths: there would be more noise, more road and rail congestion, worse air quality and properties under flight paths would be devalued. The airport’s proposals in each of these respects are unacceptable. There should be no expansion at Gatwick.
GACC suggested longer response
For the following main reasons we strongly oppose Gatwick’s proposals to bring its standby runway into routine use and its proposals to grow traffic using its existing main runway.
We do not believe Gatwick has made a credible case for the development of its standby runway. Its consultation acknowledges that the airport has substantial surplus passenger and air traffic movement capacity, above its 2018 levels, without development of its standby runway. Our analysis of historic growth rates shows that it has taken Gatwick over 20 years to utilise the surplus passenger capacity that currently exists and over 15 years to utilise existing surplus ATM capacity. Based on reasonable recovery and growth assumptions we estimate that Gatwick will not utilise its existing surplus capacity until the 2040s at the earliest and may never need additional capacity. The Committee on Climate Change has advised that there is no need for additional airport capacity in the UK.
Gatwick’s proposals do not comply with government aviation policy. The Airports National Policy Statement requires airports (other than Heathrow) which are seeking to expand to demonstrate sufficient need for their proposals, additional to (or different from) the need which is met by the provision of a Northwest Runway at Heathrow. Gatwick has not done so and is unlikely to be able to do so given the extensive overlap between the markets it and Heathrow serve and the clear preference of airlines to operate from Heathrow.
Gatwick’s proposals would increase the airport’s CO2 emissions by almost 50%. If it were permitted to expand as proposed, Gatwick alone would be responsible for 5.5% of the entire UK’s emissions by 2038. An increase in emissions of this (or any) magnitude would be inconsistent with Government policy and would clearly have a material impact on the UK’s ability to meet its carbon reduction targets. The consultation acknowledges that there are presently no proven measures by which Gatwick’s emissions could be mitigated and that the trajectory of the aviation industry to net zero emissions is unclear.
Gatwick’s expansion would have substantial noise consequences for local communities and are inconsistent with the government’s aircraft noise policies. Government policy requires the industry to reduce and mitigate noise as airport capacity grows. However, Gatwick is proposing that noise should be allowed to increase as a result of the proposed growth rather than reduce. Government policy also requires the benefits of future growth in aviation to be shared between the aviation industry and local communities but Gatwick has made no attempt to do so. It is proposing to grow by over 70% in passenger terms and 35% in aircraft movement terms. Benefits to the industry would be very substantial. By contrast, the airport’s noise impacts would increase substantially before potentially declining modestly from new record levels. There would be no benefits for communities.
Gatwick’s noise envelope proposals are one-sided, use inappropriate metrics and limits, do not comply with government policy, lack adequate enforcement arrangements and have been put forward without stakeholder discussion, in contrast to the approach taken by other airports. For these and other reasons they are inappropriate and unacceptable.
The airport should not be permitted to expand unless and until it shows it can do so without adverse environmental and noise impacts. All impacts should be measured from a 2019 baseline so the cumulative effects of growth are properly assessed.
[Comment on congestion caused by the expansion.]
PROTECTING THE GATWICK AREA
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