Gatwick runway victory celebrated

15.11.2010   (GACC   – Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign)

Over 40 representatives of local councils and environmental groups attended the
annual GACC meeting on Friday, 12 November – from as far afield as Ewhurst Parish
Council, 12 miles west of Gatwick, and Forest Row Parish Council, 12 miles east.*

Giving the keynote speech, Crawley MP Henry Smith congratulated GACC on the success
of its campaigns over the past 15 years against plans to build extra runways at
Gatwick.     GACC chairman Brendon Sewill welcomed the decision by the Coalition
Government not to build any new runways in the South East, and also the statement
by Sir David Rowlands, the chairman of Gatwick Airport Ltd, that the new owners
"have no interest in a new runway in the foreseeable future."  

A map showing the plans put forward by the Government in 2003 for two new runways
at Gatwick, designed to treble the size of the airport and treble the number of
aircraft, making Gatwick twice the present size of Heathrow, reminded those present
of the magnitude of the previous threat.  
"While everyone recognises the significance of the airport to the local economy,"
Henry Smith said, "it is important that the area should not become over-dependent
on one industry.   The volcanic ash close-down, the threat of terrorist attacks
and the recession all remind us of how vulnerable the aviation industry is."  
Sewill warned that the new owners, an international financial company, were basically
only concerned to make the airport more profitable so that it could be sold again
in a few years time.   John Byng, GACC vice chairman, added that this was reflected
in the fact that while – as a result of pressure from GACC – Gatwick had been
forced to introduce a new compensation scheme for damage caused by vortices from
the giant A380 aircraft, it was inferior to the scheme at Heathrow.
* Other councils represented included West Sussex and Surrey County Councils,
Mole Valley District Council, Capel, Charlwood, Newdigate, Rusper, Salfords and
Sidlow parish councils;   and environmental groups from Redhill, Norwood Hill and
CPRE Surrey.   Also GACC members from Crawley, Hever, Horley, Horsham, Nutley,
Reigate and elsewhere.
GACC is the main environmental body concerned with Gatwick.   Founded in 1968,
we have as members around 100 Borough, District and Parish Councils and environmental
groups covering about a   twenty miles radius from the airport.   Our committee,
elected annually, represents all areas. Because we rely on rational argument and
put forward constructive solutions   we have had strong support in Parliament and
at every level of government.
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