Gatwick’s consultation shows some 85% of respondents oppose a 2nd Gatwick runway
Gatwick Airport held a consultation over April and May 2014, to try to get backing for its plans for a 2nd runway, and the option the airport wants – the wide spaced option with the runway used for both arrivals and departures. This has always been what the airport wanted, and the proposal the Airports Commission short listed. The consultation gave two options, that the airport did not want and has no interest in. The consultation also initially had no means for any respondent to express their opposition to any new Gatwick runway, but eventually a “none of these options” box was added – difficult to locate, far into the document. The survey results are now out. They are deeply irritating to the airport, as they show huge opposition to any runway. Of about 7,700 respondents, well over 80% said NO. Of the 7,700 or so, only 733 backed Option 3 ( the runway option Gatwick wants) and 2,165 did not want a runway at all. 4,003 responses came through the Woodland Trust and these are being discounted, unjustifiably, as though part of an e-campaign, many contained specific comments made by the respondents. Taking all the responses for no runway, they amount to some 85% of the total. Even discounting the Woodland Trust responses, 66% opposed a new runway.
1. Gatwick_Consultation_Report_July_2014 produced by Gatwick Airport
2. Ipsos_MORI_Gatwick_runway_options_consultation July 2014 the Ipsos Mori report
2,165 out of 3,304 is 65.5%
Out of around 7,700 or so respondents:
6,168 said NO. This was 4,003 through the Woodland Trust, and 2,165 from the Gatwick figure in their chart.
Only 1,094 supported any of the runway options. That is about 14%.
The results of the Gatwick Airport runway consultation are contained in the independent report by Ipsos Mori. The number of responses in favour of each runway option was as follows:
Option 1 194
Option 2 167
Option 3. 733
None of these options. 6,168
Don’t know 45
Gatwick Mori says over 7717 responses were submitted.
This result is so embarrassing for Gatwick Airport Ltd that they have done all they can to conceal it. They did not mention it to the airport consultative committee or to the press. In their report to the Airports Commission it only appears in a pie chart on page 50, nowhere in the text.
Gatwick Airport Ltd claim that 4,003 responses were the result of a campaign by The Woodland Trust, and can therefore be disregarded.
Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC) do not agree: many of these responses contained specific comments and were thus not just the result of clicking a button. They are a foretaste of the nation-wide opposition to any new runway.
Even leaving out the Woodland Trust responses, twice as many people voted for ‘none of these options’ as voted for all three runway options combined. And that was despite the ‘none of these options ‘ box being difficult to find. Somewhat unobtrusive, in Section 7 of the form.
761 people agreed that a new runway would benefit the local economy but 2,020 felt that it would not benefit them much or at all.
These are remarkable results! They prove a strong and determined opposition to any new Gatwick runway.
Gatwick say in their consultation report:
We explained in our consultation document
that Option 3 was our provisionally preferred
runway option and we stated that we would
use the responses to this consultation to help
us reach a firm view on the option we prefer.
We therefore confirm that Option 3 is our
preferred runway option. Section 3 of this
document further explains our reasoning and
rationale for this decision.
Option 3 consists of a new 3,400m runway
positioned 1,045m south of and parallel
to the existing runway. The new runway is
positioned at a sufficient distance from the
existing runway to enable the independent
operation of the runways. The method of
runway operation for Option 3 would be
mixed mode, meaning that both runways
would be used for arrivals and departures.
The Ipsos Mori report says: (Page 5)
The proposed runway options
When the details of the three options put forward by Gatwick were presented, more respondents who answered the question in the response form expressed a preference for Option 3 compared with Option 1 or Option 2.
However, most said that they would prefer none of these options and a small number of respondents said that they didn’t know.
The main reasons for support for Option 1 were that it would have less impact on the local area compared to other options; that it would be a better compromise, and that it would be the most sensible option. Among those who preferred Option 2, reasons for support were that this option would allow for separate take-offs and landings, and would include a new terminal building. While these aspects would also be realised with Option 3, some of those who preferred Option 2 said that it would be less disruptive in comparison to Option 3 in terms of noise and negative community impacts. Of those who preferred Option 3, the main reasons for support were that it would be the most practical or logical option, that it would lead to improved operational efficiency and that it would be the best solution to deal with capacity issues in the future. A number of respondents who preferred Option 3 also said that the other options would be too short-term, and that sufficient capacity increases would not be realised if those options were taken forward.
Most of those who preferred none of these options were opposed outright to an additional runway. A key reason for opposition related to concerns about noise impact. Other concerns included issues about land-take, and general disruption to local people, communities and businesses.
Because it was difficult and unclear how respondents should record their preference for no new runway – many went dutifully through the long form, filling in their comments on a range of issues relating to the three runway options.
The option to tick the “none of these options” box only appeared in Section 7.
The comments in earlier sections, of those who ticked the “none of these options” have been considered by Ipsos Mori, and some of the comments were deemed supportive of one or other option.
It can only be hoped that Ipsos Mori does not unjustifiably consider these comments – which were only made because the consultation form did not make it clear from the outset that a NO vote was possible.
It is illuminating that the Ipsos Mori report records the high number of people who were dissatisfied by the report, and complained about its short-comings and inadequacies.