Gatwick 2nd runway planes would be just 400 yards from Ifield village homes – blighting lives
Villagers in Ifield, the place most at risk if Gatwick was allowed to build a 2nd runway, have vowed to keep fighting. If the runway was built, their lives would be blighted by planes taking off a few hundred yards from their properties. They are already so close to the existing runway that their windows shake when planes take of. Ifield is the most northern part of Crawley. The Airports Commission has now released the papers for its consultation on Gatwick and Heathrow runway plans. The outlook for the Gatwick area would be grim, with up to 18,400 new homes needed up to 2030; (West Sussex and the Gatwick Diamond estimated 30 – 45,000 homes), devastation of countryside, hugely increased noise, more flight paths, and huge pressure on transport and social infrastructure. Campaigners say“one runway is enough” to enable Gatwick’s growth until 2040. Recent public meetings have shown almost blanket opposition to expansion. Expanding Gatwick makes little practical, or economic, sense with airports like Stansted at about half capacity.
Gatwick second runway: Planes would be just 400 yards from village homes, claim residents planning to fight expansion plans
Battle plan: campaigners John Byng, Peter and Joyce Jordan and Jenny Frost (Picture: Alex Lentati)
11 November 2014 (Evening Standard)
Villagers today vowed to keep fighting a second runway at Gatwick, claiming that planes would take off a few hundred yards from their properties.
Homeowners in Ifield say they are so close to the existing runway that their windows shake when planes leave. Now they fear their lives will be blighted by noise if Gatwick beats Heathrow and wins the right to expand. As campaigners waded through today’s report they remained bullish, having fought off plans for a new runway at Gatwick three times previously. They point out that there are 18 listed buildings standing in the way of another runway.
Flight path: residents claim a second runway will see planes take off a few hundred yards from their properties (Picture: Alex Lentati)
In Ifield, part of Crawley, there is a field and dense copse on the village edge to act as a buffer for aircraft noise and fuel fumes. Many residents have lived there for decades, and Southall-born Joyce Jordan and her husband, Peter, moved from near Heathrow to escape the noise. Mrs Jordan, 73, a retired librarian, said: “When they are taking off at the moment you can hear the windows shake, and it’s a new-build house.”
Proposals: a noise graph with a mass of dense lines showing how a second runway would affect villagers in Ifield (Picture: Alex Lentati)
Jenny Frost, 71, a retired teacher, showed a noise graph, with an ominous mass of dense black lines projecting how a second runway would affect her quality of life. She currently has planes a mile from her living room, but the proposals would slash that to about 430 yards.
Country life: the Plough Inn pub in Ifield (Picture: Alex Lentati)
Campaigners claim “one runway is enough” to enable Gatwick’s growth until 2040, and say a series of public meetings have shown almost a blanket dismissal of expansion. John Byng, vice chairman of Gatwick Area Conversation Campaign, urged the commission to focus on Stansted and Birmingham, which he said were not at capacity.
The Airports Commission consultation
(launched 11.11.2014 and ending 3.2.2015) is at
as well as many other documents.
Airports Commission estimates new homes needed for new runway – 18,400 at Gatwick; 70,800 at Heathrow (maybe more)
The Airports Commission estimates that a 3rd Heathrow runway could require up to 70,800 homes to be built locally to support the additional jobs created by the development. The Commission estimates a Gatwick 2nd runway could require up to 18,400 homes to be delivered across 14 local authorities, and it said this could be done up to 2030, with “land availability unlikely to be affected by green belt issues”. (Estimate of 30,000 – 45,000 homes by W Sussex County Council + Gatwick Diamond). More houses would be needed for Heathrow expansion than Gatwick expansion, due to more additional business activity following a runway at Heathrow than at Gatwick, and more from the airport’s north-west runway plan (up to 70,800), than the Heathrow Hub idea of extending the northern runway (up to 60,600). The Commission acknowledges that these upper limits may present challenges for local authorities, outlining that “many… already struggle to meet housing targets”. The only relief would be that the homes could be delivered over a number of years, and the pain would be shared between many authorities. However, Green Belt would be seriously threatened – not to mention urban cramming and loss of village character.
Heathrow runway schemes to cost £3-4 bn more than forecast – benefits over 60 years hard to assess
The Airports Commission figures in their consultation documents show costs of building a runway would actually be considerably higher than any of the 3 scheme proposers have estimated. The Commission anticipates a Gatwick runway would cost £9.3 billion, not £7.4 billion the airport claims. The cost of the Heathrow Hub project (extending the northern runway westwards) would be more like £13.5 billion, not £10.1 billion. The cost of Heathrow’s north west runway scheme, destroying Harmondsworth, would be more like £18.6 billion, not Heathrow’s estimate of £14.8 billion (excluding £800m of surface access costs). Those sums would be for runway construction, new terminal and “all other required airport facilities.” The Commission says the higher cost estimates are due to “optimism bias and differing construction profiles.” The possible economic benefits depend on which of 5 scenarios is considered. This could be from £42-127 billion for Gatwick, from £101-214 billion for Heathrow Hub, and from £112-211 for a Heathrow north west runway,depending on the scenario (over 60 years starting in 2026).
Manchester Airports boss deeply critical of likelihood of large public subsidy aiding Heathrow or Gatwick runway
The CEO of Manchester Airports group, Charlie Cornish, has protested about the likelihood of public funds being used to assist a new south east runway. He says: “Given the private interests at stake, adopting a special set of rules that favours the delivery of new capacity over the use of existing capacity, will have profound adverse consequences for competition and consumers in the long-run.” More public funds for London airports does not help regional airports. The Commission, in its consultation documents on Heathrow and Gatwick runway plans, does not give specific figures on anticipated public subsidy. But it comments there “may be a case” for some funding by the public sector. Equally, if the airport benefits from surface transport paid for by the taxpayer “may mean that a contribution from the scheme promoter to these costs is justified.” State aid rules may also require an airport operator to make an appropriate payment, if it benefits from a surface access scheme. “The Government would need to reach its own view on the level of public investment that can be justified.”
Airports Commission assesses Gatwick’s runway would cost about £2 billion more, needing high landing charges
The Airports Commission’s consultation on their short-listed runway options contains a lot on the economics. While Gatwick airport has said their runway would cost the taxpayer nothing, and only cost about £7.4 billion, the Commission puts the cost higher. They estimate the work for the 2nd runway, with a 3rd terminal and all associated infrastructure, would cost up to £9.3 billion. The Commission’s higher figure reflects “in large part differing views of optimism bias and differing construction profiles.” Gatwick already has current debt of about. £1.5 billion made up of Class A bonds. It also has £300 million of revolving credit facilities. The Commission estimates Gatwick would need to raise additional equity of up to about. £3.7 billion and additional debt of up to about. £14.3 billion. “This level of finance is not unprecedented for infrastructure projects and airports. It is, however, significantly larger than the company’s financing to date and may be challenging.” Gatwick would also have to substantially raise its landing charges from £9 per passenger to up to £15-18 or up to £23. Like expensive Heathrow.
Initial comments from GACC on the Airports Commission consultation documents
The Airports Commission has released its consultation. There is a “Business Case and Sustainability Assessment” for Gatwick (137 pages), and there are also some 50 long technical documents. GACC (the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign) will study all these carefully in due course, but at first sight the documents confirm that a new runway would make Gatwick bigger (more passengers) than Heathrow today. That would be an environmental calamity. The consultation paper shows 30,000 people affected by noise from Gatwick, compared to 10,000 today (54 leq). And 560,000 aircraft a year compared to 250,000 at present. This would mean urbanisation of large chunks of Sussex; new flight paths over many towns and villages across the area, loss of tranquillity to AONB areas, gridlock on roads, and a worsening of the north-south divide. The Commission reckons that Gatwick landing charges would need to rise from £9 to £19, or £23 at peak – more than at Heathrow today. Would such a runway be used, especially with others like Stansted, Luton and Birmingham under capacity?
Airports Commission consultation launched – acknowledging it lacks the necessary information on carbon constraints
The Airports Commission has published its consultation about the 3 short -listed runway schemes (Heathrow north-west runway, Heathrow “Hub” and Gatwick). The Commission, rather than themselves assessing whether a runway could, or should, be built – adding to UK carbon emissions, leaves that part of policy to others. The CCC (The Committee on Climate Change) has advised that UK aviation emissions should not rise to over 37.5MtCO2 per year, from around 33MtCO2 now. The Commission has had trouble trying to incorporate a new runway at one airport, as well as growth at other UK airports, within the 37.5MtCO2 cap. All sorts of assumptions have to be made. At heart, the Commission has conceded that: “The Commission intends to carry out further work to complete a fuller economic assessment of the case where UK aviation emissions are constrained to the CCC planning assumption of 37.5MtCO2e for its final report in summer 2015.” ie. They do not have the necessary information on whether a runway could be viable, with the necessary price of carbon in future.
Runway plans would be stalled by “inevitable” judicial review – causing long delays
The Airports Commission is expected to publish, this week, its initial appraisal of Heathrow and Gatwick’s runway plans, and their consultation on the three options. The Express reports that: “a source close to the Commission …..expects Gatwick and other opponents of airport expansion in general to launch a judicial review, potentially delaying the project.” The source also said: “We spend a lot of money on lawyers but we are surprised that we have only had one judicial review so far.” Heathrow wants to build a 3rd runway at the cost of £17 billion. Gatwick wants a 2nd runways, costing £7.8 billion. Gatwick says that its project could be built by 2025, and Heathrow that theirs could be by 2030. However, whichever airport the Commission recommends in summer 2015 will face inevitable judicial review – from the rival airport, and many others. Both plans are facing widespread opposition from residents and local politicians. As the Commission has a limited brief, with vital issues such as carbon emissions, noise measurement, taxation of air travel etc decided by others, their recommendations cannot be comprehensive.
Gatwick’s consultation shows some 85% of respondents oppose a 2nd Gatwick runway
Gatwick Airport held a consultation over April and May 2014, to try to get backing for its plans for a 2nd runway, and the option the airport wants – the wide spaced option with the runway used for both arrivals and departures. This has always been what the airport wanted, and the proposal the Airports Commission short listed. The consultation gave two options, that the airport did not want and has no interest in. The consultation also initially had no means for any respondent to express their opposition to any new Gatwick runway, but eventually a “none of these options” box was added – difficult to locate, far into the document. The survey results are now out. They are deeply irritating to the airport, as they show huge opposition to any runway. Of about 7,700 respondents, well over 80% said NO. Of the 7,700 or so, only 733 backed Option 3 ( the runway option Gatwick wants) and 2,165 did not want a runway at all. 4,003 responses came through the Woodland Trust and these are being discounted, unjustifiably, as though part of an e-campaign, many contained specific comments made by the respondents. Taking all the responses for no runway, they amount to some 85% of the total. Even discounting the Woodland Trust responses, 66% opposed a new runway.
Gatwick Runway Exhibitions a huge success – for the opposition!
Gatwick Airport Ltd have held 15 exhibitions to explain their runway proposals to the public. Over 6,000 people in total will have attended but, according to local community group, GACC, some 75-80% of those visiting the exhibitions were opposed to any new runway. GACC volunteers manned a ‘picket line’ outside each exhibition, handing out leaflets and car stickers, and recruiting new members. According the GACC chairman Brendon Sewill, “people were coming out of the hall horrified at what they had seen, and queuing up to join GACC.” People were frustrated by the lack of key information on aspects of the plans, such as noise and supporting infrastructure. At Edenbridge the highly respected and respectable MP for Tonbridge, Sir John Stanley, organised a mass demonstration against aircraft noise and against any new runway. At Horsham around 200 people marched through the town to protest at the new flight path over Warnham and north Horsham, and to oppose any new runway. The Gatwick exhibitions have been helpful, in that they have alerted the public and have demonstrated the strength of feeling against the proposals.