England

South East MPs oppose Gatwick second runway

Plane at Gatwick Airport Image copyright PA
Image caption Three expansion options are being considered including a second runway at Gatwick

Expanding Gatwick Airport would be "a catastrophe for surrounding communities", a report by six MPs opposing a second runway says.

The Gatwick Coordination Group has set out six arguments against the move in a report to the Airports Commission.

It criticises the airport's plans for infrastructure, recruitment and housing needs. Issues around noise, finances and consultation are also raised.

The commission has said an extra runway is needed in the South East by 2030.

It is considering three options - a third runway at Heathrow, lengthening an existing runway at Heathrow, and a second runway at Gatwick.

'National disaster'

Crispin Blunt, Reigate MP and group chairman, said: "The final decision will be for the next government, but we hope the commission will share our view that on any measure, local or national, this is not a finely-balanced argument.

"A recommendation and decision for a second runway at Gatwick would be a catastrophe for local communities and a disaster for the national interest."

Image caption Gatwick submitted three options for runways, but the Davies Commission shortlisted Option 3

A Gatwick spokesman said the majority of people actually support a new runway at Gatwick.

"Many recognise that a bigger Gatwick would offer jobs and prosperity for decades to come," he added.

"An expanded Gatwick is also the better option for the environment. Expansion at Heathrow will see 320,000 additional people impacted with noise - more than the population at Coventry. At Gatwick, the number of people affected would be 18,000."

This week, East Sussex County Council backed the second runway. Several other councils, including Kent and West Sussex, have opposed the plans.

Surrey County Council has said expansion of Gatwick or Heathrow would also need to address any environmental or transport impacts.

The Gatwick Coordination Group is made up of Kent, Sussex and Surrey Conservative MPs and includes:

  • Crispin Blunt, Reigate MP
  • Sir Paul Beresford, Mole Valley MP
  • Sir John Stanley, Tonbridge and Malling MP
  • Sir Nicholas Soames, Mid Sussex MP
  • Nick Herbert, Arundel and South Downs MP
  • Charles Hendry, Wealden MP

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