Comment by GACC on government runway statement: Gatwick is not an easy option, especially on surface access
GACC (the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign) has responded to the news that the government is postponing its runway decision for at least 6 months – and therefore leaving Gatwick as a possible location. GACC is not surprised that the Government has delayed the decision, because Gatwick is not an easy option – there are substantial environmental problems at Gatwick as well as at Heathrow – for which no solution has been found. At Gatwick these include aggravating the north-south divide; 50,000 people would be affected by worse air quality; there would be a need for a new town the size of Crawley; three times as many people as at present would be affected by severe levels of aircraft noise; and the road and rail system could not cope, when the airport approached full capacity. A key issue that has no far been neglected by government, or the Commission, is the real cost of the road and rail infrastructure work that would be required for a 2nd Gatwick runway. The M23 and M25 would need major widening, the M23 would need to be extended into London, several new A roads would need to be built east and west of Gatwick, and the Brighton main rail line would need extensive work – all of which could be just as costly as anything needed at Heathrow. The reality is that the annual number of Gatwick flights is now only 5% higher than it was in 2000.
Runway decision postponed
By GACC (Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign)
GACC is not surprised that the Government has delayed the runway decision: Gatwick is no easy option – there are substantial environmental problems at Gatwick as well as at Heathrow for which no solution has been found.
At Gatwick these include aggravating the north-south divide; 50,000 people affected by worse air quality; the need for a new town the size of Crawley, three times as many people as at present affected by severe noise; and a road and rail system that could not cope when the airport reached full capacity.
According the GACC chairman, Brendon Sewill: ‘One issue the Government will need to examine during the next six months is the real cost of the road and rail infrastructure work required for a second Gatwick runway.’
GACC research shows that when Gatwick with two runways was operating at full capacity the M23 and M25 would need major widening, the M23 would need to be extended into London, several new A roads would need to be built east and west of Gatwick, and the Brighton main rail line would need extensive work – all of which could be just as costly as anything needed at Heathrow.
Brendon Sewill added: ‘The delay in reaching a decision is not serious, in terms of airport capacity. If air travel is kept within climate change limits, Stansted will not be full until after 2040. Although the number of air passengers is increasing, the number of flights (which is what counts in terms of runway slots) is hardly rising – because airlines are using larger aircraft with fewer empty seats. At Gatwick the number of flights has only increased by 5% since 2000, an average rate of one-third of one per cent a year.
The Government is right not to be rushed into a hasty decision.’
 Airports Commission consultation on Air Quality May 2015.
 Report by consultants for West Sussex County Council. Lower figures used by the Airports Commission excluded catalytic employment (new firms attracted to the area).
 Airports Commission consultation November 2014.
 It is often said that the Gatwick infrastructure costs would be less than at Heathrow but that is based on calculations for the year 2030 when the forecasts show a new runway at Heathrow handling over four times as many passengers as a new runway at Gatwick.
 GACC response to Airports Commission consultation, February 2015. www.gacc.org.uk/the-runway-issue
 Airports Commission Interim Report
 CAA airport statistics 2000 and GAL air traffic statistics 2015.
Gatwick number of flights:
267,767 flights (ATMs) in 2015 (which is 6.7% higher than in 2000 and 3.4% higher than in 2007)
255,000 ATMs in 2014 (which is 1.6% higher than in 2000)
244,000 in 2013
259,000 in 2007 at the peak
241,000 in 2004
251,000 in 2000
Gatwick number of passengers:
40,267,900 pax in 2000 (26% more passengers than in 2000 and 14.5% higher than in 2007)
35,165,000 passengers in 2007 at its peak
31,948,000 pax in 2000
Data from the CAA
Government statement 7pm this evening: Delay runway decision till summer, after a package of further work. Including on CO2, air pollution and noise.
Government confirms support for airport expansion in the south-east
From: Department for Transport and The Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin MP10 December 2015
Government statement on airport expansion in the south-east.
– location decision subject to further consideration on environmental impacts and the best possible mitigation measures
– government agrees with the Airports Commission’s shortlist of options, all of which it concluded were viableThe government has accepted the case for airport expansion in the south-east and the Airports Commission’s shortlist of options for expansion. It has also identified the most appropriate way of delivering planning consents for new capacity, it was decided today (10 December 2015) at the Airports Sub Committee.The government will undertake a package of further work and we anticipate that it will conclude over the summer.
The government will do this quickly so that the timetable for delivering capacity set out by the Airports Commission can be met.
The Airports Commission published a large amount of very detailed analysis on air quality and greenhouse gas emissions for their 3 shortlisted schemes. The government faces a complex and challenging decision on delivering this capacity.
The Airports Commission’s air quality analysis will be tested using the latest projected future concentrations of nitrogen dioxide.
The next step is to continue to develop the best possible package of measures to mitigate the impacts on local people and the environment. This will include a package for local communities to include compensation, maximising local economic opportunities through new jobs and apprenticeships, and measures to tackle noise.
More work will be done on environmental impacts. The government expects the airports to put forward ambitious solutions.
The mechanism for delivering planning consents for airport expansion will be an ‘Airports national policy statement’ (NPS), following which a scheme promoter would need to apply for a development consent order.
Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin said:
“The case for aviation expansion is clear – but it’s vitally important we get the decision right so that it will benefit generations to come. We will undertake more work on environmental impacts, including air quality, noise and carbon.
“We must develop the best possible package of measures to mitigate the impacts on local people. We will continue work on all the shortlisted locations, so that the timetable for more capacity set out by Sir Howard is met.
“At the first opportunity I will make a statement to the House to make clear our plans.”