The air quality submission for a second runway at Gatwick is “unreliable” and would lead to a significant deterioration in air quality for the airport’s surrounding communities, a group of Conservative MPs warn.
Questions about the robustness and impact of Gatwick’s proposals have been raised by the Gatwick Coordination Group (GCG), which now includes all local long-standing and newly elected MPs around Gatwick, in response to the Airports Commission’s consultation on air quality. The consultation, which closes on Friday 29th May, is on an assessment of the impact on air quality of each of the Airports Commission’s three shortlisted proposals.
Particular concerns are raised about Gatwick’s own emissions modelling, described as “inadequate” by the GCG for failing to capture the impact on the new transport and housing provision in the local area should a second runway get the go ahead. In contrast, much of the Heathrow transport and housing provision already exists.
The Air Quality Assessment, prepared for the Airports Commission by Jacobs, suggests that the impact of an expanded Gatwick would be considerably worse than assessments made by Gatwick. Nitrogen oxide (NOx) and particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5), are estimated to be 50% higher than the initial estimates of emissions suggested by Gatwick.
Jacobs’ assessment confirms that Gatwick expansion will:
• Significantly deteriorate the air quality for more than 51,000 people;
• Officially put “at risk” the health of at least 151 people;
• Have the highest % increase in NOx emissions (an unsustainable increase of 28%) out of all shortlisted options.
On publishing their response to the Airports Commission consultation, Chair of the GCG, Crispin Blunt MP, said:
“Gatwick expansion would be a disaster for the local area. It is now clear that Gatwick’s own assessments of the air quality impact of a new runway are completely unreliable.
“This adds to the data already established in the consultation that Gatwick’s plan would ruin thousands of lives and push local services and infrastructure beyond their limits. There is no economic or practical case for Gatwick to become the same size as Heathrow: no labour force, no surface infrastructure and no environmental case either.
“Gatwick is fundamentally the wrong solution, both locally and nationally. It will devastate local communities and provide just a fraction of any additional benefit to the UK compared with Heathrow. It’s time for Gatwick to stand aside.”
Members of the GCG (Gatwick Coordination Group)
Following the election on 7th May 2015, the Members of Parliament on the group are now as follows:
• Crispin Blunt MP – Member of Parliament for Reigate (Chairman)
• Sir Paul Beresford MP – Member of Parliament for Mole Valley
• Nus Ghani MP – Member of Parliament for Wealden
• Sam Gyimah MP – Member of Parliament for East Surrey
• Rt Hon Nick Herbert MP – Member of Parliament for Arundel and South Downs
• Jeremy Quin MP – Member of Parliament for Horsham
• Tom Tugendhat MP – Member of Parliament for Tonbridge and Malling
• Henry Smith MP – Member of Parliament for Crawley
• Rt Hon Sir Nicholas Soames MP – Member of Parliament for Mid Sussex