Gatwick expansion consultation ends 1st December – its plans would have ‘few benefits’
The Gatwick consultation on its plans to use its northern, standby, runway as a full runway, ends on 1st December. It is important that anyone who has strong views on the issue submits a response, even if a very brief one. The impact of the expansion would be to hugely increase noise, carbon emissions, local road and rail congestion, air pollution, light pollution and more. The airport is trying to talk up its plans, with extravagant and improbable claims of the number of jobs that might be created locally, and the positive economic impact. Local campaign group, GACC, has prepared extensive comments to the consultation, to help people respond. Also a short, quick version that people can use – or ideally adapt into their own words – to express their concerns. GACC says Gatwick’s plans “would have few benefits but serious climate change consequences and devastating impacts on local communities and people under flight paths.” Any increase in jobs would be by displacement from other regions and would be inconsistent with the government’s ‘levelling up’ plans. And its case for growth simply doesn’t stack up and the consequences are unthinkable.
Details of the Gatwick consultation and how to respond are on the GACC website here
GACC RESPONSE TO THE GATWICK CONSULTATION
The GACC Response Summary – for a brief response
or you can download a PDF of WORD version of the responses to all the individual questions:
More can be found on aspects of the planned expansion, on the links below.
or else submit responses by email, to
or by letter to FREEPOST RTRB-LUUJ-AGBY
By 1st December 2021
Plans for Gatwick growth would have ‘few benefits’ say conservationists
Conservationists are putting forward strong opposition to Gatwick Airport’s expansion plans.
By Sarah Page (West Sussex County Times)
24th November 2021
Members of the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC) are opposed to any further growth at Gatwick.
The airport is proposing to bring its current emergency (standby) runway – its Northern Runway – into regular use for departing flights, alongside its existing main runway.
Airport officials say the project is forecast to generate an extra 18,400 new jobs and generate an extra £1.5bn for the region’s economy. [Take that with a big pinch of salt. AW comment]
But GACC maintains that the airport’s proposals show “that growth at the airport would have few benefits but serious climate change consequences and devastating impacts on local communities and people under flight paths.”
The group says any increase in jobs would be by displacement from other regions and would be inconsistent with the government’s ‘levelling up’ plans.
It also disputes the amount of economic benefits claimed.
GACC adds: “Expansion of Gatwick would have very significant adverse climate change and community impacts.”
As well as an increase in air traffic, there would also be an increase in road traffic ‘causing congestion and impacting air quality,’ the group says.
An increase in flights by 35% would cause ‘substantially more aircraft noise across large parts of Surrey, Sussex and Kent,’ GACC claims.
GACC chairman Peter Barclay said: “Gatwick’s proposals are opportunistic and have no merit.
“Its case for growth simply doesn’t stack up and the consequences are unthinkable.
“It would be completely unacceptable to allow CO2 increases and other climate and community impacts on the scale proposed just to facilitate an increase in leisure travel, mainly for the benefit of frequent flyers.
“It’s remarkable that at a time when aviation’s climate and other impacts are under scrutiny as never before, Gatwick should choose to bring forward these grotesque proposals.”
The suggested brief response is copied below – people are encouraged to adapt this into their own words.
If you do not have time to answer all 15 questions in the questionnaire you may want to draw on and adapt the following summary response. Please remember it’s always best to use your own words wherever possible.
I strongly oppose Gatwick’s proposed expansion and any growth at Gatwick.
The airport has failed to demonstrate that there is a need for additional airport capacity that is consistent with government policy as set out in the Airports National Policy Statement.
Employment and economic factors
The employment benefits Gatwick claims the project would deliver are misleading. Its own consultant, Oxera, says that the project is not expected to result in material net job creation at the national level. Any local or regional job creation would be by displacement from other regions and therefore likely to be inconsistent with the government’s levelling up agenda.
Gatwick’s assessment of the economic benefits and costs of the proposed project is based on unsupportable or out-of-date assumptions, together with omissions and errors. Correction of these assumptions, omissions and errors would have a very significant effect on the overall benefit-cost ratio of the proposed scheme. It is likely that the scheme in fact has a negative net present value and therefore represents a highly unattractive proposition from a public interest perspective.
The government’s climate change advisers have made clear that there is no case for additional airport capacity in the UK and that any net expansion would have unacceptable climate change impacts.
Expansion and growth at Gatwick would increase the airport’s CO2 emissions by nearly 50% from 2018. Emissions attributable to Gatwick alone would grow from less than 1% in 2019 to over 5.5% of total UK emissions by 2038. An increase in emissions of this (or any) scale would have a material impact on the UK’s ability to meet its carbon reduction targets and is therefore inconsistent with government policy. The airport has no credible plans to mitigate these emissions because viable low carbon technologies do not currently exist for commercial aviation. Gatwick has also failed to assess or quantify the non-CO2 climate effects of its proposed growth, and must do so based on best available scientific evidence. It must also monetise and report its emissions using latest government carbon value figures. Any growth at Gatwick should be conditional on it achieving a progressive, material reduction in the total climate impacts facilitated by the airport from a 2019 baseline. A reduction trajectory should be set, independently monitored and enforced.
Community and noise impacts
Expansion at Gatwick would have devastating consequences for local communities and people under flight paths: there would be more noise, more road and rail congestion, worse air quality and properties under flight paths would be devalued.
Gatwick’s analysis of the noise impacts of its proposed expansion is deliberately and cynically misleading. Its noise envelope proposals are inconsistent with CAA guidance and unacceptable. They propose inappropriate metrics and limits, do not comply with government policy and lack adequate enforcement arrangements. They have also been put forward without the stakeholder discussion required by the CAA, in contrast to the approach taken by other airports.
The airport’s proposals in each of these respects and others are unacceptable. It would be wholly unacceptable to allow CO2 increases and other climate and community impacts on the scale proposed to facilitate an increase in leisure travel, predominantly for the benefit of frequent flyers.
There should be no expansion at Gatwick.
Consultation not fit for purpose
In our view the consultation is not fit for purpose.
Amongst other things it gives an erroneous and misleading impression of the need for the development, uses projections that are not consistent with the Airports National Policy Statement, contains material errors and omissions in its economic analysis (and so gives a misleading impression of the benefits and costs of the proposed development) and mischaracterises the noise impacts of the proposed development.
For these and other reasons we do not believe the consultation meets the requirements of the Planning Act and we consider that any application based on it should be rejected on the grounds of inadequate consultation.