New Gatwick owner rules out second runway

8.2.2010   (GACC press release – Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign)

GACC welcomes the statement by Sir David Rowlands, Chairman of the Board of Gatwick
Airport Ltd, that a second runway will not be considered any time in the foreseeable

Speaking on 28 January, he said: “The simple fact is that we at Gatwick have
not a shred of interest in a second runway.     It’s not government policy and it’s
not in our policy.   Even if the Government started to look more favourably at
the prospect, we would have to think very hard about spending £100 to £200 million
on a planning application with an uncertain decision.   We would have to look even
more carefully at the economic value of a multi-billion pound project – would
there be a commercial return ?" (1)

Brendon Sewill, chairman of GACC, says: "This firm statement will kill off some
silly speculation, and will remove a lot of uncertainty and anxiety."

“Sir David, who was previously Permanent Secretary at the Department for Transport,
knows that it is not Government policy to build a new runway at Gatwick, and that
a new runway has also been ruled out by the Tories and the Lib Dems.  

“His remarks indicate that, during the process of bidding for Gatwick, the new
owners, Global Infrastructure Partners, made a careful analysis of what a second
runway would cost and its potential returns.     He must also know that any planning
application for a new runway – which would double the size of the airport, double
the number of aircraft, and double the noise and pollution – would meet huge local
and national opposition.

"GACC thanks all those who over the years have supported our campaigns against
a new runway," said Sewill.   "The united stand by local people, by the local MPs
and by all the local councils across Surrey, Sussex and Kent has helped to produce
this result."  

Nevertheless GACC will remain on guard. The Government and BAA have previously
ruled out new runways at Stansted and at Heathrow, only to announce them a few
years later.   We will stand ready, if need be, to launch a massive campaign to
defeat any new runway plan, as we have defeated such plans in the past.

GACC looks forward to working constructively with the new Gatwick owners to reduce
the noise, pollution and CO2 emissions caused by the airport.     As Sir David admitted:
“Airports do not always make good neighbours, we intend to improve on that.   …  
We want to build a better airport, we want to be a good neighbour and build a
good relationship with the local community …. we know we cannot grow at the expense
of the community."


GACC Vice Chairman Peter Barclay commented:   "I was particularly glad to hear
Sir David say that:   "We will operate on an open book.   I don’t see why stakeholders
can’t see what Gatwick is saying to DfT [and other government departments]."  

"The first step," Peter Barclay added,   "will be for the airport to publish the
revised draft noise action plan, at present under discussion with the Department
for Transport.   We need to see whether the many constructive proposals which GACC  
put forward have been included."    (2)


Brendon Sewill 01293 863369

                                          01293 862373

Peter Barclay     01293 862821


 (1).     Meeting of the Gatwick Airport Consultative Committee (GATCOM).   The
quotations are based on notes taken by a number of people at the meeting.

 (2).     See       A summary was given in the GACC newsletter October 2009