Local campaign GACC sets out the actions needed for Gatwick to “build back better”

The local campaign group, GACC (Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign) has set out the steps that need to be taken to ensure Gatwick does “build back better.”  Gatwick’s operations and the flights it facilitates need to become compatible with climate change imperatives and  the airport must reduce its noise and other environmental impacts, in contrast to what has been happening at the airport during the past decade. At a meeting of the airport’s statutory consultative committee, GATCOM, on 15th October, GACC laid out a series of national and local measures needed to build Gatwick back better. GACC’s full statement  The measures include setting legally enforceable zero carbon targets for aviation; ensuring aviation pays a higher, fairer, contribution towards public finances through more equitable taxes, focused particularly on frequent flyers; phasing out of public subsidies that distort the industry’s economics; putting in place effective noise regulation; and ending night flights, that negatively impact people’s health and welfare. There also needs to be diversification around Gatwick, so the area is no longer so economically dependent on one sector. Gatwick should not be allowed to even to return to its 2019 size, let alone expand.
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GACC SETS OUT ACTIONS NEEDED TO BUILD GATWICK BACK BETTER

15th October 2020

GACC (Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign) press release

GACC has today set out the steps that need to be taken to ensure Gatwick’s operations and the flights it facilitates become compatible with climate change imperatives and that the airport reduces its noise and other environmental impacts, in contrast to the airport of the past decade.

At a meeting of the airport’s statutory consultative committee, GATCOM, GACC laid out a series of national and local measures needed to build Gatwick back better.

GACC’s full statement is available at http://www.gacc.org.uk/latest-news.php .

Key measures include:

  1. Setting legally enforceable zero carbon targets for aviation, as recommended by the government’s official advisers, the Committee on Climate Change.
  2. Ensuring aviation pays a higher, fairer, contribution towards public finances through more equitable taxes, focused particularly on frequent flyers.
  3. Phasing out of public subsidies that distort the industry’s economics, stimulate unsustainable demand and oblige the general taxpayer to support the small proportion of people who choose to fly frequently.
  4. Raising consumer awareness of aviation’s climate and other impacts.
  5. Putting in place effective environmental and noise regulation that limits the industry’s climate, environmental, noise and health impacts.
  6. No night flights. People’s health and welfare should be put ahead of cheap holidays for a small section of society and airline profits. There should be no more night flights at Gatwick.

GACC also called for investment in communities around Gatwick that have been badly impacted by the pandemic, directed at increasing the diversity and resilience of the region and helping to create jobs that are environmentally and economically sustainable.

Peter Barclay, Chairman of GACC said “Gatwick’s growth over the past decade has meant more CO2 emissions, contributing to faster climate change, more noise impacts, more congestion and poorer air quality. That cannot continue. Building Back Better must achieve genuine environmental sustainability and a fair balance between societal needs and environmental imperatives. The old model, where the airport’s shareholders gained and the environment, the climate and impacted local communities lost, has to change”.

Peter Barclay continued, “Gatwick’s size should be consistent with the achievement of CO2 and other environmental and noise targets. Unless new technologies are deployed on a scale not currently foreseeable, that means that the airport should not be permitted to re-grow to its previous size, let alone to implement its master plan proposals”.

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ENDS

Contact Peter Barclay (GACC Chairman) at GACC Campaign Office on 01293 868821 or email info@gacc.org.uk

GACC’s aims are to protect and improve the environment in the vicinity of Gatwick Airport and to diminish any wider environmental impact of its operations, with particular regard to noise, congestion, air quality, light pollution and climate change.

http://www.gacc.org.uk/    (new  website coming shortly ….)

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BUILDING GATWICK BACK BETTER

STATEMENT BY GACC                                                                           

At a meeting of Gatwick airport’s statutory consultative committee, GATCOM, GACC has today set out the measures that should be taken to ensure that the Gatwick airport of the future is fully compatible with climate change imperatives and reduces its other adverse environmental and noise impacts, in contrast to the airport of the past decade.

GACC recognises the profound impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on Gatwick’s business and on economic activity and employment locally.  We fully support investment to rebuild the local economy in ways that have a lower environmental impact and allow it to become more resilient, through healthy diversification, skills redevelopment and retraining.

Gatwick’s investors have benefitted from its spectacular commercial success over the last decade.  Alongside that success it has invested in a range of worthwhile and welcome environmental initiatives.  But their effect is modest when set against the negative environmental and community impacts the airport’s operations facilitate, particularly on our climate.

Gatwick’s growth has meant more CO2 emissions, contributing to faster climate change, more noise impacts, more congestion and poorer air quality.  That cannot continue.  Building Back Better must achieve genuine sustainability (environmentally as well as economically) and a fair balance between societal needs and environmental imperatives.  The old model, where the airport’s shareholders gained and the environment, the climate and impacted local communities lost, has to change.

Building Back Better foundations

The foundations of a meaningful build back better programme should include both national and local measures.

National measures

  1. Enforceable zero carbon targets for aviation, backed by law. All aviation’s emissions, including those from international flights departing the UK, should be brought within the UK’s carbon budgets and net zero law.  This is the advice of the government’s official advisers, the Committee on Climate Change.  The government should set and enforce ambitious emissions reduction targets for the industry.  The use of carbon offsets to achieve those targets should not be allowed.
  2. Ensure aviation pays a fair contribution towards public finances. Although flying is a highly polluting activity undertaken largely by those on higher incomes, it is very lightly taxed. In particular, it pays neither VAT nor fuel duty.  More equitable taxes, focused particularly on frequent flyers, would reduce the industry’s environmental, health and other impacts and make a fairer contribution to its externalities, in line with the polluter pays principle. 
  3. No subsidies. In addition to its tax advantages, aviation receives extensive direct public subsidies, including for technology research, launch aid, route support and bail-outs.  Subsidy distorts the industry’s economics, stimulates unsustainable demand and obliges the general taxpayer to support the small proportion of people who choose to fly frequently.  There is no economic or social case for further subsidies. Existing subsidies should be phased out.
  4. Raise consumer awareness. Consumers should routinely be made aware of aviation’s adverse impacts.  The total climate impacts of a proposed flight should be prominently disclosed during the booking process and prospective passengers subsequently asked to re-confirm their desire to travel.  Information on less carbon intensive alternatives to air travel should be provided where relevant.  Comparable “health warnings” should be applied to aviation industry advertising.
  5. Effective environmental and noise regulation. Current regulatory mechanisms have failed to achieve government’s aviation noise and climate change policy goals.  They should be replaced with new legal, regulatory and enforcement arrangements that limit the industry’s climate, environmental, noise and health impacts.

Local measures

  1. Less noisy aircraft. Gatwick should incentivise airlines to use newer, less noisy, less polluting aircraft.
  2. No night flights. People’s health and welfare should be put ahead of cheap holidays for a small section of society and airline profits.  There should be no more night flights at Gatwick.  Night should be defined as 11.00pm – 07.00am.
  3. Rightsizing. Gatwick’s size should be consistent with the achievement of CO2 and other environmental and noise targets.  Unless new technologies are deployed on a scale not currently foreseeable, that means that the airport should not be permitted to re-grow to its previous size, let alone to implement its master plan proposals.  There should in any event be no growth without full planning scrutiny and consent, in line with government policy.
  4. Community investment. Communities around Gatwick that have been badly impacted by the pandemic should be supported.  Support should be deployed in ways that increase the diversity and resilience of the region, by creating jobs that are genuinely environmentally and economically sustainable, rather than by rebuilding an airport that is not.

Building Back Better must mean moving from an industry-centric world, where growth comes first and everything else comes second, to a world where the industry takes its climate, noise and wider environmental responsibilities seriously and the government ensures those impacts are regulated robustly.

We encourage all stakeholders to support the proposals set out above, and so help ensure that building back does indeed mean better, not more of the same.    

GATWICK AREA CONSERVATION CAMPAIGN

15th OCTOBER 2020

http://www.gacc.org.uk/latest-news.php

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See earlier:

GACC letter to Gatwick Airport

See also letter from GACC to Stewart Wingate, CEO of Gatwick Airport, on 11th June 2020

http://www.gacc.org.uk/resources/GACC%20to%20Stewart%20Wingate%20building%20Gatwick%20back%20better%20June%202020.pdf

in which GACC asks that Gatwick should build back a better, quieter, healthier and cleaner airport.

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