Classic council nimbyism: Wandsworth Council backs Gatwick expansion – anything to avoid more Heathrow noise misery

Wandsworth Council has been a vociferous opponent of expansion at Heathrow, because its residents are badly affected by Heathrow aircraft noise. But now a motion has been voted on – unanimously – by the full Wandsworth Council, backing a new runway at Gatwick. This is a stunning example of Council nimbyism, and irresponsible self interest. Gatwick has spent a lot of money in lobbying west London councils, and this has paid off in Wandsworth. The Council rightly praises itself on its battle against Heathrow, expansion which “would deliver a devastating blow to hundreds of thousands of Londoners whose lives would be blighted by noise and pollution.” They appear not to appreciate that they are advocating inflicting the same misery on other people, in Sussex, Surrey and Kent.  Wandsworth even hopes Gatwick expansion will benefit them financially. Their view is based on the opinions of their unfortunate residents, who suffer significantly from Heathrow, but Wandsworth also unquestioningly backs the myth of airport expansion in the south east being “badly needed.” You can email them your views:  


Gatwick has been lobbying west London councils hard. It seems to have paid off with Wandsworth Council:

Gatwick expansion could create local jobs

Thursday 25th September  2014  (Wandsworth council)

A new report by Gatwick Airport sets out the economic, housing, transport and employment benefits a second runway could bring to Wandsworth and the wider south London region.
An artist’s impression of a two runway Gatwick Airport
Gatwick and Heathrow are now the only two locations being considered by the Government’s Airports Commission as potential locations for a new runway in the south of England.

The new study says that areas with direct rail links to Gatwick, including Clapham Junction in central Battersea, would attract higher levels of growth and development if the airport expands. This would create additional local jobs, homes and investment.

Clapham Junction is currently 25 minutes from Gatwick and rail services set to be become faster and more frequent.

According to the report: a second runway would generate up to 70,000 jobs across London, many of them in Wandsworth another 22,000 jobs would be created in and around the airport which would be accessible to Wandsworth residents across the UK a total of 120,000 employment opportunities would stem from the second runway development.

Because Gatwick is located south of the capital a new runway would not create new flightpaths over Wandsworth or any other part of London.

Wandsworth Council leader Ravi Govindia said:

“The report makes a strong case which we are now discussing in more detail with Gatwick officials. We are very interested to hear what local people and our business community think about the proposals and you can write to  to share your views.

“It’s always been clear Clapham Junction stands to benefit from growth at Gatwick thanks to its direct rail link. We agree it would enhance this part of Battersea’s credentials as a business destination and help attract the employment growth we are already seeing in neighbouring Nine Elms.

“A second runway would have to come alongside further investment in our rail network including the Brighton Mainline and at Clapham Junction Station. It would also add momentum to the council’s redevelopment plans for the area around the station and help us unlock this districts full potential.

“What is certain is that expanding Gatwick would come without the enormous levels of noise pollution, environmental damage and worsening transport gridlock we would face with a third runway at Heathrow.”


Write to to tell us your views



Cross Party Support For Gatwick Expansion

Councillors unanimously agree to support the case for expansion at Gatwick

At the weekly full council (Wandsworth) meeting the following motion was agreed upon.

Motion, notice of which has been given by Councillor Cook and Councillor Cuff in pursuance of Standing Order No. 22.    Airports Expansion

The airports motion reads as follows:

This Council:

(a) congratulates Wandsworth and other members of the cross-party 2M Alliance of London Boroughs for their continued opposition to Heathrow’s expansion, which would deliver a devastating blow to hundreds of thousands of Londoners whose lives would be blighted by noise and pollution;

(b) should continue its active programme of engagement with local people to ensure that the social and environmental consequences of expansion at Heathrow including noise, air pollution and road traffic impacts, are understood, and that the concerns of residents continue to be brought to the attention of Sir Howard Davies;

Reflecting on the recent decision by the Airports Commission to disregard the Estuary option, this Council:

(c) accepts the economic case for an increase in the nation’s aviation capacity, and agrees that opening up additional air routes to other parts of the globe is good for growth and good for the UK economy;

(d) supports the view of the overwhelming majority of our residents, who have told us loud and clear that expansion of Gatwick is the only credible option to deliver the badly needed expansion of airport capacity in the south east;

(e) believes that Wandsworth could have much to gain from Gatwick’s expansion, driving growth with investment in rail services through south London into the heart of Battersea. Most importantly, it can do this without the environmental baggage associated with a bigger, busier and much more polluting Heathrow; and

(f) asks the Leader of the Council to work closely with other south London local authorities to maximise these benefits for Londoners.

Wandsworth Chief Executive and
SW18 2PU Director of Administration
10th October 2014


Wandsworth residents back Gatwick expansion

Monday, 13th October 2014  (Building and Construction)

A poll of more than 1,500 Wandsworth residents shows the majority now support expansion at Gatwick airport.

Of the people questioned, 57 per cent support a new runway at Gatwick compared to 16 per cent who want a new runway at Heathrow. 24 per cent of respondents preferred no expansion at either airport and the remainder were unsure.

The council’s research focussed on the choice between adding a new runway at either Gatwick or Heathrow which are now the only locations on the Airports Commission’s expansion shortlist. Key findings include:

Of those surveyed, 58 per cent agree or strongly agree that airport expansion in the south of England is now a necessary step.
42 per cent believe expanding Gatwick would have a ‘significant positive affect’ on Wandsworth’s while 16 per cent believe expanding Heathrow would have a ‘significant positive affect’ on Wandsworth.
There is high support for noise respite periods with 87 per cent in favour of people living around airports being given regular breaks from aircraft noise.
84 per cent said there should be no flights over peoples’ homes before 6am.
80 per cent said the prospect of increased aircraft noise over their homes is a big concern.
Ravi Govindia, leader of Wandsworth Council, said:

“The survey results show that Gatwick expansion is by far the most popular option here in Wandsworth. Our residents have sent a very clear message and we will act on it.”

“A motion will be put before next week’s full council meeting which would see Wandsworth taking a proactive role in supporting the Gatwick bid. If we take the initiative now we can help shape the transport package that comes alongside the new runway and maximise the benefits for Wandsworth and the south London region.”

“The ground has clearly shifted in this debate and we expect public in other parts of London will reflect the consensus here in Wandsworth. For the last ten years Heathrow expansion has proved a political impossibility. Following the break up of BAA, Gatwick has emerged as a viable alternative with a fraction of the environmental costs and noise impacts.”

“Our survey has also bolstered the case for a ban on night flights over London and will help us fight any further proposals that threaten respite periods. We will ensure the Airport Commission and the Department for Transports takes careful note of our community’s views.”