Residents at Gatwick Airport’s exhibitions disappointed not to have a “no to 2nd runway” consultation option

Gatwick Airport has a massive budget for publicity in order to promote its plans for a 2nd runway. They have laid on a series of exhibitions at places across the area, hoping to get a good level of approval for their wide spaced runway, for landings and take-offs on both runways ( their option 3).  However, their “consultation” is more of a PR exercise, as there is no proper option by which anyone can say NO to any new runway. [There is one small box, “None of these options” hidden in Section D on Page 7, which is the ONLY way anyone can express a NO vote].  The majority of those attending the exhibitions appear to be uncertain whether they back a 2nd runway, many are ambivalent, and many are strongly opposed. That is not what Gatwick was hoping for. Many attending the exhibitions have been angered by the absence of a proper NO option on the forms, as well as the total absence of any maps indicating likely flight paths, and detail on road and rail congestion.  A resident commented:  “…There is an option … for ‘none of the above’, but this is not the same as voting for no runway at all which is what I think a lot of people are still hoping for.”


Residents disappointed not to have a “no to second runway” consultation option

25.4.2014 (East Grinstead Courier)

RESIDENTS asked to vote on which of three options they prefer for the location of Gatwick Airport’s proposed second runway, have said they are disappointed there was no option to vote “no runway at all”.

Meetings are currently being held in areas likely to be affected by airport expansion, and residents have been given the opportunity to vote for one of three options.

But many who attended a meeting at Lingfield Park Racecourse on Friday, April 11, have spoken of their disappointment that a fourth option was not included, to give residents the chance to voice their fears about a second runway being built at all.

Clive Kaiser Davis, 75, who lives near Lingfield station and whose house is under an existing flightpath, said: “From an aviation point of view, I love planes and I think Gatwick and Crawley could do with a real injection into the local economy.

“However, I can understand why anybody is opposed to the idea; it will affect everything – tranquillity, house prices, pressure on services.

“In terms of noise and direction of flights, people will pick the option where the runway will impact them the least. Inevitably somebody somewhere has to suffer. There is an option in the consultation document for ‘none of the above’, but this is not the same as voting for no runway at all which is what I think a lot of people are still hoping for.”

Fellow Lingfield resident Sally Cole agreed and said: “There needed to be an option just to say no.”

Over 150,000 letters and information newsletters have been sent to homes and businesses since the consultation began on Friday, April 4.

Since then, many people have voiced doubt on the ability of the local infrastructure to cope with the plans.

Chris D’Avray, a Lingfield parish councillor, said: “Thirty two million passengers travel in and out of Gatwick every year. Imagine the expansion necessary to cope with far more. I know that Clapham Junction can’t take any more passengers. We’d need another motorway the size of the M25. Birmingham on the other hand has the capacity for houses and expansion that the South East just doesn’t. HS2 [the proposed high-speed rail link] could get passengers from London to Birmingham in the same time it takes to get Gatwick. I’ve heard a lot of talk about moving businesses out of the South East because we are already beyond breaking point. It’s not about nimbyism, it’s about quality of life for everyone living here.”

A Gatwick spokesman explained that the government will ultimately decide where in the country a runway is built – which is why the consultation is not asking people if they want a new runway at Gatwick at all.

He said: “It is not Gatwick’s decision if it gets a new runway, although it does believe it has the best case for expansion on the short-list. It is ultimately a decision for the next government following the recommendations of the Airports Commission.” The current public consultation will end on May 16.

Tell us what you think about the proposals for a second runway at Gatwick. E-mail your views to


The consultation response form is at

Click on the “Have Your Say” option.

online response form


No proper NO option

This is how to register opposition to any new runway, on the consultation form

There is no proper way in which anyone filling in the form can say they do not support any new runway.

The only place on the response form where this is possible is a box buried in Section D which gives the option of “None of these options” to the three schemes proposed.

Gatwick consultation NO option

It is best not to fill in any of the other boxes on other questions on the form, as this may be taken to imply some degree of agreement with the runway plans.

The local community group opposed to a new runway, GACC (Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign) says this is “difficult to find and somewhat confusing (it could mean a preference for some other runway location). A proper consultation would have given the public a straightforward chance to say ‘No’. “  Brendon Sewill, Chairman of GACC, commented: “They’re frightened too many people would vote ‘No new runway.’ ”




Some recent news stories about the Gatwick consultation:


Head of Gatwick Diamond tries to make out that a “silent majority” want a 2nd runway (they just don’t bother to say so)

April 25, 2014

The Gatwick Diamond is a business organisation, whose mission is to boost business in a large area around Gatwick, in all directions. They do not appear to have much environmental awareness, and have a blinkered approach of backing anything that might bring “growth.” Needless to say, they give their unwavering, and uncritical, support for a 2nd Gatwick runway. There are self-interest motives for many of their members in doing so. The airport has organised a recent spate of exhibitions across the area, promoting its runway, and with a “consultation” (which gives no proper option for those responding to say NO to a runway). Despite the huge amount of money it has cost, it appears Gatwick has found the majority attending are either against its plans, or deeply sceptical. This is confirmed by the local community group, GACC, which has had a presence outside each exhibition. Now the head of the Gatwick Diamond, Jeremy Taylor, has said there is huge backing from a “silent majority” for the runway, but they just have not expressed it. Jeremy – this is how democracy works. If people do not turn up to vote for an election, it does not matter what they might have thought, sitting at home. If you don’t vote, your vote does not get counted. Governments are not elected into power because somehow we manage to divine the views of those not voting.

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Gatwick employs high profile PR man Godric Smith (ex Tony Blair, Olympics, BBC) to boost runway campaign

April 24, 2014

Gatwick airport is spending a lot of money (the figure of £10 million for their PR budget has been mentioned, but this may be an under-estimate) on their lobbying to win over key hearts and minds to their runway plan. Their new campaign, with glossy adverts on the underground, large numbers of public presentations etc “Gatwick Obviously” is spending lavishly. Now Gatwick has announced that they are employing a high profile PR consultant, Godric Smith, to help them in their political battle against Heathrow, for the runway. Godric used to work as spokesman for Tony Blair. He then worked on communications for the Olympics. He was also brought in to the BBC (part time, at £150,000 per year) to sort out their bad publicity issues. Godric Smith has his own consultancy called Incorporated London. Gatwick already has existing relationships for public relations with Fishburn and London Communications Agency. Godric Smith is said to have extensive Whitehall experience and “first-class contacts across the spectrum and a very good understanding of how government works”. The airport is also reviewing its digital and consumer agencies.

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Mole Valley MP, Sir Paul Beresford, says we cannot allow the massive environmental & other damage a 2nd Gatwick runway would bring

April 22, 2014

Sir Paul Beresford, the MP for Mole Valley, has commented on the Gatwick airport push for a new runway that “a 2nd runway has no place in Surrey.” He says: “We are being asked to turn our attention to the mechanics of where a 2nd runway at Gatwick would be positioned and the exact way it would be operated. These questions are not on the forefront of the minds of my constituents. They are asking about the beautiful countryside which would be lost, the dangerous risk of flooding which would be exacerbated, the noise pollution which would become unbearable and the overpopulation of our villages. Gatwick have never provided satisfactory answers to these questions and, until they do, they must expect Mole Valley residents to keep asking them.” He added: “[Constituents think] the airport is big enough as it is, and we simply cannot allow the massive environmental and other damage a second runway would bring.” It would “be the equivalent of dumping an Atlantic City-sized urban sprawl onto the woodlands and fields of Surrey.” The Gatwick consultation ends on 16th May.

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Hundreds turn out for first week of Gatwick 2nd runway consultation meetings

April 16, 2014

Gatwick Airport’s public consultation about its 2nd runway plans have continued to draw hundreds of people to meetings and sparked a renewed protest campaign. While local residents have packed consultation meetings the Gatwick Airport Conservation Campaign (GACC) has renewed its call for the proposals to be dropped with a new drive called “Gatwick’s Big Enough.” GACC has attacked the consultation itself as a “phoney” – with no proper option to say NO. New action groups have formed against the second runway proposals, in the wake of the formation of CAGNE. Gatwick Airport says at the Crawley exhibition there were 690 people; 350 at Rusper; about 370 in Smallfield; 340 in Ifield, 300 in Lingfield; 275 in Felbridge; and around 180 as far away as Epsom. GACC volunteers have been giving out leaflets and recruiting members outside the runway exhibitions. A high proportion of those attending the exhibitions are stunned by the scale of development, puzzled why there are no flight path maps, and opposed to the massive changes planned to a wide area of Surrey and Sussex.

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Letter from a Gatwick flight path trial sufferer: “Home like bizarre noise experiment”

April 14, 2014

In a heart-felt letter to a local paper in Sussex, a resident who now finds herself – without warning – under a “trial” flight path from Gatwick airport describes how it is affecting her, and her means of earning her living at home. She says the planes start flying overhead before 6am, and continue to do so about every 5 minutes, or less, most of the day. She says, in desperation: “It’s like your home has been turned into some sort of bizarre noise experiment. Where you have no control. On some days you’re OK. The noise isn’t too bad. And on other days – it’s like getting an electric shock, every few minutes. Where you have no control. And it’s not just you – it’s your family as well …. everyone is tired, and ratty and distracted. And annoyed that they didn’t sleep well.” Part of her work requires running a webinair, which is now interrupted by the plane noise. “That’s my work. That’s how I make a living. And I can’t even rely on the peace and quiet of my own home to be able to run my own business.”

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GACC launch its “Gatwick’s Big Enough” campaign against any 2nd runway

Gatwick's BIG enough April 14, 2014

The Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign, GACC, has launched its campaign against a new Gatwick runway under the slogan “Gatwick’s Big Enough.” It has been carefully chosen to show that there is no opposition to the airport as it is, only to the plans to double its size. Thousands of car stickers have been posted to members with this logo. The campaign has also been attending all the Gatwick Airport exhibitions around the area, and has produced a new Fact File. This sets out the information that the airport is not telling people, on the actual impacts a new runway would have, in terms of noise, stress on infrastructure and public services, total change in the character of the area even some distance away, and deteriorating quality of life for many. In GACC’s experience, having been to several Gatwick exhibitions, “It is our impression that many people go in with an open mind but come out alarmed at the scale of what is proposed” and ‘My impression was that the overwhelming majority {in Crawley} were against a new runway” and many people “were irritated by the lack of information on flight paths.”

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Gatwick’s 1st runway consultation exhibition – met with spirited opposition by those to be badly affected

April 5, 2014

Gatwick airport has started a period of 6 weeks of consultation on its plans for a 2nd runway. The consultation is something of a PR exercise, as the Airports Commission has only short listed the wide spaced runway option. Gatwick Airport is, for some reason best known to itself, including the narrow spaced runway (which it does not want) in the consultation options. There is a series of exhibitions planned, by Gatwick airport, in a number of towns and villages over the coming weeks, with the first today in Crawley – the town which might be the worst affected by a 2nd runway. There was spirited opposition by people fighting plans for a new runway, and especially those who have recently found themselves under a new “trial” flight path. Feedback from the exhibition was that it was well attended, by several hundred people, many of whom appeared to be against a new runway. One of their questions was how to fill in the forms, to clearly convey their opposition to any runway – there is just one box people can tick, on the last page, in Section D, “None of these options.”

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GACC describes Gatwick consultation as “plush and bogus” – it gives no proper chance to say “no” to a new runway

April 4, 2014

The consultation published by Gatwick Airport today is described by GACC (the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign) as ‘plush but bogus.’ It is plush because no expense has been spared in an attempt to make a new Gatwick runway look inevitable. But it makes no economic or environmental sense to build a new Gatwick runway when Stansted is not forecast to be full until around 2040. It is bogus because the Airports Commission has already ruled out Option 1, the close-parallel runway. GACC’s objections remain as strong as ever. They will campaign vigorously against any new runway. The consultation document contains no maps showing future flight paths – which is an issue of huge significance to local people. It also ignores the inconvenient issue of necessary increases in landing fees, to pay for a runway + terminal. The consultation is deeply flawed, as it gives no proper option to oppose any new runway. There is merely one small option of “None of these options” buried in its section D. That is difficult to find and somewhat confusing (it could mean a preference for some other runway location). A proper consultation would have given the public a straightforward chance to say ‘No’.

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Gatwick consultation published: A proper consultation would have given the public a straightforward chance to say ‘No’

April 4, 2014

Gatwick Airport Limited (GAL) has put forward 3 options for a 2nd runway at Gatwick and is now asking for comment from the public to its consultation. They key omission in their consultation is a proper option to say NO to any new runway. A proper consultation would have given the public a straightforward chance to say ‘No’ at the start of the response form. As it is, there is a small box buried in section D with the option of “None of these options”. Gatwick is asking people to choose between a narrow spaced runway (something the airport does not want, as it would not be practical – so it cannot be considered a serious option) and whether a wide spaced runway(1045 metres south of the existing runway) should be used for both landings and take offs, or for just landings or take offs, at one time. The Airports Commission has effectively already ruled out the narrow spaced runway, so its inclusion in the consultation seems to be a bit of a PR exercise. The purpose of the consultation is to help Gatwick get their runway plans approved, and if possible, keep public opposition to a minimum. Consultation ends 16th May (which is the date all runway proposals must be submitted to the Airports Commission).

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