GACC says Gatwick site is too cramped and constrained for an efficient 2nd runway
GACC, the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign, has submitted a document entitled “Gatwick Unzipped” to the Airports Commission, in response to their invitation to submit comments on the various plans for new runways. GACC believes, based on past evidence from British Airways and others, that the airport site is too cramped to efficiently accommodate an additional runway. The Chairman of GACC, Brendon Sewill, says those calling for a second runway at Gatwick ‘have never looked at a map’ and “When examined carefully the Gatwick runway plans are not nearly as good as they seem at first sight.” Some of the main points made in the GACC analysis include the suggestion ‘the so-called ‘wide-spaced runway’ is too close to the existing runway’; the plans for new runways at Heathrow, Stansted or in the Thames Estuary all show a wider separation between the runways; and the length of the new runway would be constrained by the main London-Brighton railway line to the east and by high ground to the west. Also that noise would be unacceptable in rural areas, as Gatwick is surrounded on 3 sides by Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
SECOND RUNWAY: Gatwick site too cramped, says campaign group
GACC has submitted a document to the Airports Commission this week called Gatwick Unzipped which it believes supports its claim that the airport site is too cramped to accommodate an additional runway.
“Many of those who call for another runway at Gatwick have never looked at a map,” said Brendon Sewill.
“The fact is that Gatwick is a small cramped site with not enough space for an efficient new runway.
“When examined carefully the Gatwick runway plans are not nearly as good as they seem at first sight.”
Some of the main points made in the GACC analysis include the suggestion ‘the so-called ‘wide-spaced runway’ is too close to the existing runway’; the plans for new runways at Heathrow, Stansted or in the Thames Estuary all show a wider separation between the runways; and the length of the new runway would be constrained by the main London-Brighton railway line to the east and by high ground to the west.
Noise is also listed as another significant concern with Mr Sewill commenting: “Gatwick airport are incorrect in claiming that a major advantage of Gatwick over Heathrow is that comparatively few people would be affected by noise because the Gatwick approach and take-off paths would be mainly over rural areas.
“Noise tends to cause more annoyance in rural areas because the background noise is lower.”
Responding to the document which is available to read at www.gacc.org.uk, a spokesperson for Gatwick Airport Limited (GAL) said: “A second runway at Gatwick is the most affordable, sustainable and deliverable solution for London and the UK.
“Development at Gatwick would have significantly less impact than other proposals submitted to the Airports Commission and deliver around 19,000 new jobs and a significant economic boost to the local region.
“For these reasons, we are gaining increasing support for expansion from key local councils, businesses and community groups.”
.Gatwick Unzipped (13 pages)
GACC states in Gatwick Unzipped – just selecting a couple of important paragraphs:
8. Runway separation . The proposed separation of 1,035m is the minimum
allowed by international safety regulations for independent mixed mode
operations.1 The reason for this is that there would be frequent occasions
when two aircraft approaching Gatwick would be side-by-side only one
kilometre apart for the final ten or fifteen miles: any closer together would
be dangerous; even this separation would require extremely accurate
9. Although described as ‘wide spaced’ to distinguish it from the other Gatwick
options, the runway separation between the new runway and the existing
runway is too narrow to provide room for aircraft to congregate around a
new terminal and too narrow to provide sufficient space for aircraft to
manoeuvre on the ground. When similar plans were put forward in 2003,
British Airways commented that: “the space between the two runways is
inadequate for the traffic assumed.”
10. The cramped nature of the site was also, surprisingly, admitted by GAL
themselves in the Gatwick Master Plan published in July 2012: “This
separation is relatively narrow when compared to other airports, for
example, the current arrangement at Heathrow (1460m separation) and that
proposed by BAA for a second runway at Stansted Airport (2200m
separation).” [Master Plan paragraph 10.3.6]
11. Options for new runways at other airports which have been submitted to the
Commission all show a wider separation. For example, the Heathrow north
west option 1,330m; Heathrow north 1,330m; Heathrow south west 1650m;
14. The ‘wide-spaced’ runway option would cause severe environmental
15. The exact position of the runway is not stated, merely that it would be ‘at
least’ 1,035m south of the existing runway: the sketch plan (reproduced
above) shows it as >1035m. At 1,035m it would lie only about 400m north of
the residential areas of Crawley. The new airport boundary would virtually
abut the housing, with very little space for earth bunds or other landscaping.
16. If it were greater than 1,035m it might mean demolishing houses in Langley
Green on the northern side of Crawley.
17. Noise would be a serious problem, with much of the northern part of Crawley
likely to fall within the 57 Leq contour, defined as significant community annoyance.
32. Roads . We suspect that the need for improvements to the road
infrastructure is seriously understated in the GAL proposals which mainly list
developments already in hand. The M25 is already often at a standstill for
parts of each day. Indeed the Daily Mail recently described it as ‘the largest
car park in Europe’.
33. It is suggested that ‘enhancements’ to the road network would include
‘improvements to the A23’. That euphemistic phrase conceals the fact that
this road would be obliterated by the new runway and, on the 2003 plans,
would need to be put in a 1½ mile long tunnel.
34. It is widely considered that it would become necessary to build a new
western bypass around Crawley, resulting in more loss of countryside, and a
further adverse impact on Ifield. There would be no space for this new road
on the southern side of the new airport boundary.
35. Gatwick lacks any good road connections to the east or west. Many local
roads through the neighbouring towns and villages would become congested
with queues at junctions and a general environmental deterioration.