Gatwick’s subterfuge with its emergency runway – or a 2nd runway, by any other name
In response to Gatwick airport announcing they plan to use their emergency runway, as a 2nd runway, local campaign, Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC) Chairman, Peter Barclay, said, “We strongly oppose any 2nd runway at Gatwick and it will fight this proposal tooth and nail.” The Emergency Runway is located parallel to and only approximately 190m north of the main runway. Planning permission for the emergency runway was granted solely on the basis that – under no circumstances – could it be used in conjunction with the main runway. The CAA permission is that only one runway can be used at a time, and the emergency runway can only be used if the main runway is out of action. New planning consent (DCO) from Crawley council would be needed for the change of use, and also consent from the CAA and other safety bodies. Peter said: “The proposal, which may bring in excess of 80,000 additional flights a year, will simply increase the problems already being experienced by local communities – noise, air pollution and excessive road traffic. It would also put even greater pressure on the tottering road and rail infrastructure both locally and further afield. … Gatwick is attempting to get a 2nd runway via the back door, as it were.”
Gatwick’s Subterfuge or a Runway by any other name
GACC – (Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign)Press release
18th October, 2018
Gatwick Airport today launched its Five Year Master Plan, which includes a proposal to convert the existing Emergency Runway into a fully active second runway.
Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign Chairman, Peter Barclay, said, “We strongly oppose any second runway at Gatwick and it will fight this proposal tooth and nail.”
The Emergency Runway is located parallel to and approximately 190m north of the Main Runway. Planning permission for it was granted solely on the basis that under no circumstances could the Emergency Runway be used in conjunction with the Main Runway.
The Civil Aviation Authority approval also only permits the use of one or the other runways, thus the Emergency Runway may currently only be used when the Main Runway is out of action due to an incident or during maintenance.
Peter Barclay went on to say that, “The proposal, which may bring in excess of 80,000 additional flights a year, will simply increase the problems already being experienced by local communities – noise, air pollution and excessive road traffic. It would also put even greater pressure on the tottering road and rail infrastructure both locally and further afield.
The legal agreement prohibiting a second runway at Gatwick expires in August 2019 and it would appear the airport is attempting to get a second runway via the back door as it were. Any proposal to bring the Emergency Runway into operation will need approval from the CAA and other safety bodies, as well as needing planning permission for Change of Use.”
The use of the Emergency Runway in conjunction with the Main Runway will substantially increase the noise and health impacts on residents living to the north of the airport. Additionally, the increase in the number of flights would have considerable noise impacts on those beneath the now concentrated departure and arrivals flight paths to both the east and west of the airport.
Peter Barclay concluded, “People will feel angry and deceived following parliament’s overwhelming decision in June to confirm the government’s earlier choice of Heathrow for the site of additional runway capacity in the south-east.”
We will study the proposals with care and advise our members how best to respond to the Master Plan during the twelve week consultation period.”
Gatwick opens 12 week consultation on using its emergency runway, for some take-offs, adding 30% + more flights
Gatwick has announced its draft “Master Plan” which (quote) “sets out how Gatwick can grow and do more for Britain.” In order to cram more flights into a one-runway airport, they hope to make more use of their emergency runway, parallel but close to the main runway. It is too near to be used properly as a second runway, on safety grounds.There will now be a 12 week consultation period on the plans, and Gatwick hopes to finalise its plans some time into 2019. The plans also include how the airport hopes to “meet future aviation demand with sustainable growth” (sic) into the 2030s. Under its 40-year current planning agreement, Gatwick’s existing standby runway is only used when the main runway is closed for maintenance or emergencies. But Gatwick hopes it “could potentially bring its existing standby runway into routine use for departing flights, alongside its main runway, by the mid-2020s.” This could mean a maximum of 390,000 flights annually (P. 88) compared to 290,000 in 2016, (ie. about 34% more.). That could mean up to 70 million annual passengers, compared to 43 million now – and a current theoretical maximum of 61 million (ie. about 15% more). “We would be able to add between 10 and 15 additional hourly aircraft movements in the peak hours.” (P.10) Oh …. and with no extra noise …. obviously….
Gatwick publishes plans to develop second runway
FT Financial Times
18th October 2018
Airport hopes to convert existing standby strip rather than build from scratch
Gatwick, the UK’s second-busiest airport, has published proposals to move its standby runway to use it for short-haul flights by the mid-2020s.
In its draft master plan released on Thursday, Gatwick said the standby runway would have to be moved 12 metres to the north away from the main runway at a cost of about £500m to comply with international safety regulations.
Stewart Wingate, Gatwick’s chief executive, called the idea “innovative”. “Our draft master plan offers agile, productive and low-impact ways of unlocking much-needed new capacity and increased resilience from within our existing infrastructure,” he said.
Gatwick predicted that using the second runway could raise the airport’s capacity from 281,000 flights in 2017-18 to 375,000-390,000 by 2032-33. Passenger numbers would increase from 45.7m to 68m-70m over the same period if the runway project went ahead.
The standby runway would not be lengthened so could not be used for long-haul flights, according to the plans.
Local campaigners reacted angrily to Gatwick’s proposals, saying noise pollution and traffic congestion would increase. Sally Pavey, of Communities Against Gatwick Noise Emissions, said the idea was “farcical” that Gatwick would negotiate over limiting noise and traffic and called life under Gatwick’s flight paths “absolute hell”.
Peter Barclay, of the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign GACC, said new technology that allowed more precise navigation had meant that noise was “much more concentrated than it used to be”. He added that the airport was now “more responsive” to local concerns than a few years ago but added its attitude could still be dismissive.
Mr Wingate said Gatwick’s noise footprint had shrunk 4% in 2017 and that quieter new aeroplanes would continue to replace older, noisier ones. But the master plan conceded that Gatwick had “not yet completed a full assessment of environmental impacts of the standby runway scheme”.
Any expansion plans would face a public consultation, probably in 2019, and the airport would have to apply for a development consent order, a streamlined planning process for nationally important infrastructure projects.
In a 2015 report, the Airports Commission recommended that Gatwick should not have a full-length second runway, instead awarding a third to Heathrow. However, it also recognised that the UK needed to “improve the use of existing capacity”, which Gatwick has taken to mean bringing its standby runway into regular use rather than building a new one.
The report said it preferred Heathrow to Gatwick because the latter was “unlikely to provide as much of the [long-haul] capacity which is most urgently required”. However, Mr Wingate denied that, saying the airport had delivered “15-20 new long-haul services in the last year alone”.
In addition to the proposed £500m for bringing the standby runway into use, Gatwick has already committed to spending £1.1bn on improvements between 2018 and 2023. The proposal comes in the wake of media reports that private equity firm Global Infrastructure Partners, which owns 42% of Gatwick, was interested in selling its stake.
Ms Pavey said: “This is purely about insinuating to whoever buys their shares that there is the possibility of additional capacity for that runway.”