Group of MPs from areas affected by Gatwick oppose its 2nd runway plans in their response to Commission
The group of MPs from the Gatwick area, the “Gatwick Co-ordination Group” says building a new Gatwick runway would be a disaster for the area, causing transport gridlock and “irreparable damage” to the surrounding towns and countryside. The group includes 6 Conservative MPs, and is informally backed by Francis Maude, Cabinet Office minister. In their submission to the Airports Commission consultation, the group say Gatwick’s plans are “overwhelmingly opposed locally” and would provide much weaker economic benefits than expansion at Heathrow. Expanding Heathrow is considered by many to be almost politically impossible. If the Commission did recommend a Gatwick runway, there would be a political backlash. Charles Hendry MP said: “There isn’t a single local MP who is supporting Gatwick and there is only one local authority [East Sussex] supporting it.” Crispin Blunt, MP for Reigate, said: “A recommendation and decision for a 2nd runway at Gatwick would be a catastrophe for local communities and a disaster for the national interest.” It is thought that the Conservative Party will drop their opposition to a 3rd Heathrow runway – so far they just say they will consider the Commission’s recommendations.
South East MPs oppose Gatwick second runway
Expanding Gatwick Airport would be “a catastrophe for surrounding communities”, a report by six MPs opposing a second runway says.
The Gatwick Coordination Group has set out six arguments against the move in a report to the Airports Commission.
It criticises the airport’s plans for infrastructure, recruitment and housing needs. Issues around noise, finances and consultation are also raised.
The commission has said an extra runway is needed in the South East by 2030.
It is considering three options – a third runway at Heathrow, lengthening an existing runway at Heathrow, and a second runway at Gatwick.
Crispin Blunt, Reigate MP and group chairman, said: “The final decision will be for the next government, but we hope the commission will share our view that on any measure, local or national, this is not a finely-balanced argument.
“A recommendation and decision for a second runway at Gatwick would be a catastrophe for local communities and a disaster for the national interest.”
“Many recognise that a bigger Gatwick would offer jobs and prosperity for decades to come,” he added.
“An expanded Gatwick is also the better option for the environment. Expansion at Heathrow will see 320,000 additional people impacted with noise – more than the population at Coventry. At Gatwick, the number of people affected would be 18,000.”
Surrey County Council has said expansion of Gatwick or Heathrow would also need to address any environmental or transport impacts.
The Gatwick Coordination Group is made up of Kent, Sussex and Surrey Conservative MPs and includes:
- Crispin Blunt, Reigate MP
- Sir Paul Beresford, Mole Valley MP
- Sir John Stanley, Tonbridge and Malling MP
- Sir Nicholas Soames, Mid Sussex MP
- Nick Herbert, Arundel and South Downs MP
- Charles Hendry, Wealden MP