Crawley Borough Council votes by 25:11 to oppose 2nd runway at Gatwick

A special Full Council meeting of Crawley Borough Council has voted by 25:11 against a 2nd runway at Gatwick. The meeting was held on 26th January, to discuss the content of the Council’s response to the Airports Commission consultation, and whether the Council would take no position, pro or anti the runway – or decide one way or the other. After two hours of debate, in front of a packed public gallery, a recorded vote was taken – it was a free vote, with councillors allowed to vote how they saw fit, rather than according to party lines. The suggested Cabinet wording was that “The Full Council considers that the interests of Crawley residents and businesses are best served by the Council objecting to a second runway being developed at Gatwick.” The objection will be recorded in the council’s response to the Commission.  Five councillors – Stephen Joyce, Colin Moffatt, Chris Oxlade, Peter Smith and council leader Peter Lamb – felt the council should have agreed to take no specific view on the 2nd runway at this time. All five then voted not to object to the new runway. Most other local councils have also recently voted against the runway. Details below.

Crawley councillors say NO to second runway at Gatwick Airport

26.1.2015 (Crawley News)

CRAWLEY’S borough councillors have voted to oppose a second runway being allowed at Gatwick Airport at an extraordinary meeting of the full council tonight (Monday).

In a free vote, where councillors could vote however they wanted and not along party lines 25 voted against a second runway being built, while only 11 voted in favour.

Last week a Crawley News survey of 1,000 people (survey not published online, no information on methodology, script, questions, choice of participants etc) from the town revealed that more people in every single neighbourhood in the town backed a second runway than were opposed to the idea.

The council has not carried out any survey of its own to gauge public opinion.

But councillors decided tonight not to give the airport’s plans their support.

There have been conflicting arguments made over whether a second runway would be a good thing for the town.

Critics point to the extra pressure on the town’s roads, schools, housing and health services that would be created by a second runway.

But supporters point to the extra jobs that would be created, while warning that Gatwick could be crippled by not being allowed to build a second runway, which would have a disastrous effect on the town’s economy.

At tonight’s meeting councillors did agree to continue to work closely with organisations including Gatwick Airport, regardless of future decisions made on the airport’s expansion.

A detailed technical response to the Airports Commission has been developed by the council and will be submitted by the consultation deadline of February 3.

In the submission Crawley Borough Council highlights areas where the airport operator could do more to help address the impacts of an expanded airport, such as improved noise compensation and more local road improvements.

The council believes that the Commission has not properly evaluated how housing needs will be met and highlights inaccuracies in employment and housing figures.

The council also believes the Commission has seriously underestimated the infrastructure requirements.

Along with urging the Commission to undertake more work on noise and air quality impacts, the council is also concerned about the lack of an assessment of the economic prospects of the Gatwick area if a new runway is located at Heathrow instead.

The Airports Commission will make its final recommendation to the Government in the summer on where a new runway should be built.

*For more on this story grab a copy of this week’s Crawley News.


Crawley Borough Council votes to oppose second runway at Gatwick

26.1.2015 (Crawley & Horley Observer)

Crawley Borough Council has voted to oppose the building of a second runway at Gatwick Airport.

Every councillor, except Liam Marshall-Ascough (Con, Southgate), was present to debate the issue at an Extraordinary Meeting of the Full Council this evening (Monday January 26).

And each was free to vote how they saw fit rather than according to party lines.

After more than two hours in front of a packed public gallery, during which arguments for and against expansion were aired, a recorded vote was taken.

The council agreed by 25 votes to 11 to register their objection to the building of a second runway at Gatwick in their response to the Airports Commission’s public consultation.

Five councillors – Stephen Joyce, Colin Moffatt, Chris Oxlade (prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Labour), Peter Smith and council leader Peter Lamb – felt the council should have agreed to take no specific view on the second runway at this time.

All five then voted not to object to expansion.

The consultation is due to end on Tuesday February 3. Log on to website to find out how to take part.

The Airports Commission will make its recommendation to the government in July – but the final decision will rest with the government.

Updates to follow.


Crawley and Gatwick location

Map indicating approximate location of Gatwick Airport (yellow) within Crawley borough.


Some comments from a member of the public who attended the meeting:

Many councillors spoke to a full public gallery of concerned residents

Members of the public were allowed to speak first asking questions of the promise by Gatwick for a new hospital and how the green belt would go that shields residents currently from Gatwick noise.

Cllr Crow added to Cllr Lamb’s statement, in saying that Gatwick had only offered a small contribution and that the £45.6m is all the infrastructure for all of the southeast

Cllr Mullins said that the spare capacity should be used in the rest of the country, that there are enough airports to service us

Cllr Burrett spoke of environmental damage, questionable economic benefits and reminded the Mayor of her question to Gatwick which was answered by Gatwick to say that there were no economic benefits for Crawley

Cllr opposed as there were already issues with pollution from vehicles at Northgate, Three Bridges, Pound Hill and Gatwick 2nd runway would only increase this.

Cllr described Gatwick 2 as being the neighbour from hell

Cllr Blake commented that where would all the 250 businesses go that would have to be relocated. These currently employ people

Cllr Sudan said she is a teacher and that continual noise is detrimental to children especially those with special needs. Vulnerable citizens would be affected even more by noise

Cllr Ward said the Airports Commissions reports are flawed and lack funding and would degrade Crawley centre and north. He raised the issue of the new primary school at Forge Wood, which would be at the end of the new runway, and the new primary school application for Manor Royal.

Cllr Joyce said of the public gallery that they were Gin and Tonic Nimbys and over 50 which caused the gallery to reply to Cllr Joyce

Cllr Sharman spoke of how he use to live next to Heathrow and was reminded what congestion, pollution, noise it caused when he recently visited it but voted in favour of recreating it here for Crawley residents

Cllr described the size of development comparing in like to the Queen Elizabeth Bridge.

Cllr Pickett declared he works at Gatwick and voted in favour

Cllr Lamb and Cllr Oxlade voted in favour



Crawley councillors say Airports Commission report into impact of Gatwick 2nd runway is riddled with mistakes

Crawley councillors will vote on what the council’s position should be on a 2nd Gatwick runway on January 26. Members of the borough’s overview and scrutiny committee have delivered a scathing assessment of an Airports Commission report into the impact of the runway, saying it is inaccurate, inadequate and ill-informed. The councillors do not want the council to remain impartial on the issue. Concerns were raised about what they feel are serious shortcomings by the Commission regarding its grasp of the current infrastructure, housing issues and level of employment in Crawley, provision of schools, and the impact expansion would have on the local area. There is little confidence the Commission is even aware of some of these matters, or that it can possibly predict what sort of infrastructure will be needed to support a 2nd runway. While the Commission presumes there is available labour, the council says the current unemployment figure is only 5.3%. As it is, Crawley cannot currently meet its target of building 500 homes a year, due to a lack of available land to build on, let alone many more. There was serious concern about schools that would be demolished, and the runway’s impact on the borough’s newest school.

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Crawley Council Cabinet had been asked to:
1. Recommend to the Special Meeting of the Full Council on 26 January 2014
that:a) The Full Council considers that the interests of Crawley residents and
businesses are best served by the Council not taking a specific view on the
second runway at this time.
b) If (a) is not supported, the Council considers which of the following options
it supports to be put forward to the Airports Commission:

– i) The Full Council considers that the interests of Crawley residents and
businesses are best served by the Council objecting to a second
runway being developed at Gatwick.

– ii) The Full Council considers that the interests of Crawley residents
and businesses are best served by the Council supporting in principle a
second runway being developed at Gatwick.


News of other Councils against a Gatwick 2nd runway:

Two more councils (Horsham and Mole Valley) oppose Gatwick runway

Horsham District Council voted on 21st January to oppose a 2nd runway at Gatwick. Voting was 23 opposed, 1 in favour (LibDem David Holmes). 5 abstained.

Mole Valley has voted unanimously for the resolution that “the Council opposes a 2nd runway at Gatwick airport.” The text of the full motion etc is at

At Mole Valley the Lib Dems proposed an amendment to oppose a Heathrow runway. But unfortunately the council voted to back a.Heathrow runway. (Nearly as bad as Wandsworth council trying to get its residents to back a Gatwick runway ….)



West Sussex County Council votes to oppose a 2nd Gatwick runway (Kent CC has already done so too)

A second County Council has withdrawn its support for a 2nd Gatwick runway, because of the high level of local opposition – and the unconvincing case made by the airport. West Sussex County Council (WSCC) voted by 37 to 26 to reverse its (somewhat unorthodox) decision in July 2013 to support another Gatwick runway. It held today’s special meeting to debate the Gatwick issue, because the Council needed to write its response to the Airports Commission consultation, before it ends on 3rd February. Kent County Council withdrew its backing for a second runway in November, because of new flight paths. Over almost 5 hours of debate, numerous WSCC councillors put their points, displaying a sincere intention to act in the best interests of the county’s residents, as they saw them. Many expressed dissatisfaction with the Airports Commission’s documents and analysis, saying it was incomplete and often inaccurate. There was a high level of uncertainty about the inability of the county’s infrastructure to cope with the stresses of a new runway, with transport being of particular concern. Ultimately councillors felt there were likely to be huge costs and problems from a runway, with uncertain benefits. They voted against the runway. Gatwick said it was disappointed by WSCC’s decision.

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Tunbridge Wells Borough Council votes almost unanimously against a 2nd Gatwick runway

A public council meeting held by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council on 7th January ended with an almost unanimous vote by councillors against a 2nd Gatwick runway. The motion against was carried with 40 votes in favour, one abstention and one against. [Other figures say 35:1]. Council leader David Jukes said: “This is democracy in action – you don’t often see a lot of people attending a boring council meeting.” Managers from Gatwick Airport were invited to attend the meeting but declined (they have also declined to appear before MPs in Parliament). The meeting heard that residents of west Kent and East Sussex are subjected to four times the amount of night flights as residents of West London, and that economic benefits of expansion would not be seen until maybe 2050, with very little effect on the GDP of Kent. A presentation by Joe Ratcliffe, the KCC aviation policy advisor, showed that some areas had seen a drastic increase in flights overhead, rising from around 10 flights per day in 2010 to between 40 and 50 flights in 2014. There was irritation that Gatwick and the CAA persist in saying there has been no change in flights or flight paths, but people are adamant there have been substantial changes. Kent expected to see little benefit from a 2nd Gatwick runway, but to experience a considerably greater noise burden.

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Kent County Council withdraws backing for Gatwick 2nd runway, due to noise burden

Kent County Council (KCC) is intending to oppose plans for a 2nd Gatwick runway, in order to protect residents in west Kent from “intolerable” aircraft noise. A council policy paper sets out the position of the council and gives details of the over-flying problem, and the level of noise which has risen to unacceptable levels.  This will be discussed at a cabinet meeting next week. The recommendation states: “The Cabinet agrees that KCC opposes a 2nd runway at Gatwick Airport, opposes the increase in overflights across West Kent as a result of airspace changes, and supports a reduction in the number of night flights.”  KCC Leader, Paul Carter, said a potential doubling of the noise impacts over west Kent would be intolerable.  The number of night flights at Gatwick during the summer period is already three and half times as many as at Heathrow.  “Expansion of night flights must not happen.“  KCC said it will call on Gatwick to put in place operational procedures to provide respite for areas experiencing continuing over-flights day and night, to spread out the noise burden.




All local MPs speak out against Gatwick 2nd runway at packed protest meeting

Five MPs were on the platform, and 3 more sent messages of support, at a mass protest meeting on Saturday 22 November organised by the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC). All of the 8 MPs from around Gatwick attended or sent messages. This helps disprove the assumption in some national newspapers that Gatwick would politically be the easiest option for a new runway. The MPs were united in expressing their concern about new flight paths and about the threat of a 2nd runway. Extracts from their speeches and messages are copied here. Up to 1,000 people crammed into the meeting in Crawley, and were welcomed by 3 racy air hostesses, and by the Mayor of Crawley, Cllr Brenda Smith who later, speaking as the local councillor, expressed her deep-felt opposition to a new runway. Some 20 national and local environmental groups set up stands around the hall and answered questions from anxious members of the public. Questions from the floor were answered by a panel of experts from a range of organisations. The participants unanimously held up large cards saying NO when asked if they were in favour of new flight paths, and held up the NO cards again when asked if they were in favour of a 2nd runway.

NO at 22.11.2014 meeting

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