Local firms dispute Gatwick’s claims that a 2nd runway would be good for business or for the area

Backers of a 2nd Gatwick runway (few as they are) such as the Gatwick Diamond are keen to promote the view that it would greatly help local business. However, many businesses in the area would, in reality, be harmed by it. Employers fear the airport’s expansion would mean higher wage expectations and wage inflation. As there is almost no local unemployment, it would become hard to employ local staff. There would also be much more road and rail congestion, from all the extra travel demand generated – with a negative impact on local companies. The pressure on office space and business locations would increase, pricing some firms out of the area. Where are they to relocate to? Gatwick is meant to have an “Engagement Charter” (written in 2014) through which it keeps in contact with local “landowners and occupiers” but some say they have had no contact from Gatwick. There is meant to be one to one support from the airport – especially on compulsory purchase. Sally Pavey, Chair of CAGNE, commented: “At last local businesses are starting to realise what a second runway at Gatwick will mean for them. It’s not going to be all good news for them.” Local campaign GACC produced an excellent, easy-to-read 6-page paper in December 2014, “Bad for Business” setting out a range of topics, illustrating how negative the runway’s impacts would be.


Local employers take fight to Gatwick over second runway plan

Local firms dispute airport’s claims that expansion would be good for the area
By Mark Leftly – Associate Business Editor (Independent)

Gatwick airport’s claims that a £7.8bn second runway would boost business and create 120,000 jobs have been challenged by owners of local companies who fear expansion could damage them badly.

The West Sussex airport is duking it out with Heathrow for an extra runway, but the Government has delayed choosing a winner until after the EU referendum in June.

Although the Airports Commission last year recommended expanding Heathrow, ministers have prevaricated in the wake of opposition from MPs in their own party, while Gatwick has been pushing its economic case. Executives have argued that a second runway would boost the local economy by £1.73bn and provide a proper competitor to Heathrow. They have also been boosted by the support of a coalition of businesses known as the “Gatwick diamond”.

But, in what anti-expansion campaigners are hailing as a breakthrough, local employers told The Independent that the construction of the runway would hurt them.

Tony Read, who employs 55 people at his local firm, Business Car Contracts, fears new jobs will raise wage expectations. He said: “This is not a part of England that needs extra jobs and a second runway will create more wage inflation, because the airport tends to pay more for unskilled and semi-skilled workers. It’s unhelpful for local businesses and rail and roads are already at full capacity.”

Gevin White is managing director at a neighbour to the proposed runway, Co-ordination Catering Hire, which employs 25 people at peak times. He said: “If the second runway goes through, where will my business relocate to? So far the management of Gatwick… has not contacted me.”

Sally Pavey, chairman of the Communities Against Gatwick Noise Emissions campaign group, said: “At last local businesses are starting to realise what a second runway at Gatwick will mean for them. It’s not going to be all good news for them.”

Although the arguments have centred on a second runway at Gatwick and a third for Heathrow, another, relatively disregarded, option is now thought to be receiving serious consideration. Under the “Heathrow Hub” proposal, the airport’s northern runway would be lengthened, allowing aircraft to land and take off from the strip at the same time.



Gatwick paper questioning extent of benefits to local businesses from 2nd runway

An important objective set out by the Airports Commission is: “To maximise economic
benefits…..To promote employment and economic growth in the local area….To
produce positive outcomes for local communities and the local economy”. A new paper by GACC (the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign) challenges the assertion by Gatwick Airport Ltd (GAL) that a 2nd runway would be supportive of this objective. By engaging with opinion from local business communities, and taking a less selective view of the evidence, GACC concludes that the proposal would be detrimental for local businesses, the local economy and the community as a whole. The GACC paper (6 pages, easy to read) deals with a range of topics (shortage of labour, higher costs, inward migration, need for more houses, road and rail congestion and worse local environment  ) and includes comments from local businesses. Two examples are the problems of wages rising due to fierce competition for labour locally, where there is very low current unemployment. Also the cost to local businesses of road and rail congestion, wasting time – as well as losses to rural businesses from a deterioration in the local environment.  



Gatwick’s Engagement Charter

Gatwick’s “Engagement Charter, for Local Landowners and Occupiers” (very out of date – written probably in June 2014)

This states:

“GAL [Gatwick Airport Ltd] acknowledges that the uncertainty surrounding if, and when, a new runway is to be built at Gatwick is having an impact on existing owners and occupiers of property. The purpose of this Engagement Charter is twofold. First, to provide clarification on the extent of communication and engagement that will be provided to try and mitigate any negative impact of uncertainty in the short term. Second, to set out the basis and timing of compensation to be paid if a second runway is to be built at Gatwick, and ensure that engagement is undertaken in a fair and consistent manner.”

“For the purpose of this Charter, the timetable for the second runway proposal is split into two periods, the Early Engagement Period and the Period after notice of intentionto apply for planning permission.

“These are considered separately below. The final section of this Charter, dealing with Complaints Procedure, applies during both periods.”


The Early Engagement period is until a 2nd Gatwick is recommended by the Government “through adoption of a National Policy Statement or other procedure.”

During the Early Engagement Period, GAL will:

• Operate a helpline number that is dedicated to responding to queries from local landowners and occupiers.

• Maintain a website that provides relevant updates on progress being made by GAL and the Commission.

• Periodically issue a “newsletter” that provides information on progress that GAL is making with its proposal for a second runway at Gatwick.

• Provide a clear and timely response to relevant issues raised in correspondence received by or on behalf of affected parties. GAL will respond to all written correspondence as soon as possible and in any event within ten working days.

• If, and as, required allocate each affected party a named “case manager” at GAL who will offer to meet with the affected party to understand their concerns and the potential implications for the property concerned. The case manager will provide their full contact details and will be available for ongoing dialogue as reasonably necessary.

• Continue to operate the Property Market Support Bond and Home Owner Support Scheme, in either their existing or an updated form. Details of these schemes, which apply to residential, agricultural and small commercial premises, will be available on the GAL website and can also be provided by the GAL case manager on request.

• Ensure all correspondence is treated confidentially.


“NOTE: Under current legislation, GAL is likely to apply for a DCO to achieve the necessary planning (and other) consents necessary to build a second runway including planning permission and any compulsory purchase powers that are required. The DCO process applies to applications for projects that qualify as Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects and is set out in the Planning Act 2008.

“The first step in the DCO process is when the promoter (in this case, GAL) notifies the Planning Inspectorate that it intends to submit an application for a DCO at some future date. This notification of intention is likely to be made soon after the date on which the GAL Board confirms its intention to proceed with a planning application.”


“Ater the date on which GAL confirms it’s Board has resolved to proceed with a planning application, it will:

• Work together in a spirit of co-operation with owners and occupiers of property which GAL requires to purchase or in respect of which it has granted options to sell with a view to reaching an early form of agreement.

• Provide every directly affected landowner and occupier with a “case manager”. (In some cases, a case manager will have already been appointed during the Early Engagement Period.)

• Advise land owners as early as possible of any survey requirements that will require entry to their land before the applications are submitted. We will seek to agree terms of entry that will minimize inconvenience and disruption and will pay compensation for any damage or crop loss.

• Seek to understand the key risks, issues and concerns identified by affected landowners and occupiers and consider an appropriate strategy to deal with these. For commercial occupiers this will include understanding of replacement property type, size and geographical requirements.

• Provide every directly affected landowner and occupier with details of the “Compulsory Purchase Helpline” operated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, and provide an undertaking on the basis on which reasonably incurred professional fees will be reimbursed.

• Seek to agree at an early stage, the basis on which it is (or will be) appropriate for GAL to pay compensation.

• Provide a clear and timely response to all relevant issues raised in correspondence received by or on behalf of affected parties. GAL will respond to all written correspondence as soon as possible and in any event within ten working days.

• Provide all relevant qualifying owners and occupiers of property which GAL requires to purchase or in respect of which it has granted options to sell with a financial offer to acquire their interest within one month of having been provided with an opportunity to inspect the property and relevant additional supporting information. This offer may be on an outright purchase or option basis.

• Ensure all correspondence is treated confidentially.

Complaints Procedure

If GAL fails to meet any of its commitments set out herein, any affected landowner or occupier should follow the complaints procedure, which is set out below;

• In the first instance, the complainant should inform their GAL case manager of the specific nature of their complaint and seek a resolution. It is hoped that the majority of complaints can be resolved in this manner.

• If it is not appropriate to contact the GAL case manager, or the complainant is not happy with the response received, a formal written complaint should be submitted to the CEO of GAL.

• Any complaint will be acknowledged within five working days and responded to as soon as possible and in any event within fifteen working days.

• If the complainant remains unsatisfied with the written response received, it may refer its concern in writing to an appointed independent person appointed by GAL.

• Any complaints will be monitored to ensure that GAL maintains a high standard of service delivery in its engagement with affected landowners and occupiers.