Gatwick Airport northern runway plans will add traffic that Surrey roads ‘cannot take’

Tandridge District Council’s planning policy committee is concerned that the planned expansion of Gatwick airport (bringing their standby runway into routine use) will put too much strain on the roads around the airport. Councillors consider that the roads “cannot take” the extra traffic that will come with changes to the airport currently being proposed. Gatwick currently has a public consultation about some aspects, especially roads, of its growth plans. Most roads in the area, that would become busier,  would not see any improvements. Gatwick claims that in 2019, its busiest year, it had 46.6million passengers and a record 47.4% of passengers and 40% of staff travelled to the airport by public transport including by rail, bus or coach. A Tandridge officers’ report said the council was required to respond to various initiatives within legally set time frames. The report said: “The local implications of proposals surrounding Gatwick Airport are significant.” Campaigners around the airport have a large number of concerns about more flights, more or altered flight paths, congested trains, more noise, more night flights, more air pollution and higher CO2 emissions, for the expansion.


Gatwick Airport northern runway plans will add traffic that Surrey roads ‘cannot take’

A consultation on the northern runway will run until July 27

27.6.2022 (Get Surrey)

Roads around Gatwick Airport “cannot take” the extra traffic that will come with changes to the airport currently being proposed, according to one councillor. The international airport is currently asking the public for their views on bringing its northern runway into regular use, as well as taking part in a project to update flight paths over London and the south-east.

Tandridge District Council’s planning policy committee heard on Thursday (June 27) that Gatwick was “hopeful” of returning to previous numbers in the next two to three years. Councillor Liz Lockwood, Independents and OLRG Alliance, Lingfield and Crowhurst, said: “The airlines are suffering because they don’t have sufficient cabin crew to run the services.

“So that’s the constraint on the number of flights, it’s not the passengers not wanting to travel, they just don’t have the staff to facilitate the travel. So their intention is to try to get back to normal as quickly as possible. And certainly judging from the noise levels, they’re doing pretty well at getting towards that.”

READ MORE: More planes could fly close to Tandridge but council ‘trivialised’ in consultation

Cllr Sir Nicholas White, Independents and OLRG Alliance, Dormansland and Felcourt, raised concerns about access to the airport, saying Gatwick “doesn’t get involved” with road and rail access despite its impact on the area. He added: “Our roads just cannot take the additional traffic that’s going to come in if they get the second runway. As far as I can see in the plans, there are no proposals for road improvements at all.”

Gatwick has previously said that in 2019, its busiest year which saw 46.6million passengers use the airport, a record 47.4% of passengers and 40% of staff travelled to the airport by public transport including by rail, bus or coach. The airport must apply for a development consent order before getting planning permission for the change to its runway, which would see its current northern runway brought into regular use for smaller, departing aeroplanes.

One campaign group has called the plans “a second runway by the back door”. The airport plans to submit its development consent order to the government’s planning inspector early in 2023, according to meeting documents.

A recommendation will be made by inspectors to the Secretary of State for Transport, who will then make a decision on whether or not to grant planning permission. The district council has a Gatwick Member Officer Group working with officers to represent the views of the council in various consultations and meetings about the airport.

An officers’ report said the airport was working at a “rapid pace” on various projects and that the council was required to respond to various initiatives within legally set time frames. The report said: “The local implications of proposals surrounding Gatwick Airport are significant.”


See also:

New smaller Gatwick consultation, largely on road changes, before its 2023 DCO application

In autumn 2021 Gatwick held a consultation on its plans to use its northern, standby, runway as a full runway, for routine use for departing aircraft (not arriving) – alongside the main runway.  The expansion plan means having to reposition the centre line of the standby runway, moving it 12 metres north. The 2021 consultation was not the Development Consent Order (DCO) application itself.  Gatwick hopes to get consent to start the first stages of the runway process by 2023. It is now consulting again, (start 14th June – ends 27th July) on a few aspects of its plans, not the whole thing. This new consultation is largely about road changes, and Gatwick says some of the proposals have been amended, due to responses to the earlier consultation. Gatwick plans a significant redesign of the original plan for the North Terminal junction; the addition of a new lane westbound over the Brighton main rail line; and the addition of a third lane westbound to the A23 approaching Longbridge roundabout. There are also some proposals relating to car parking (slightly fewer than before); more hotel rooms than previously; and a new office block. Gatwick hopes the new runway could be operational by summer 2029.

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Claims Gatwick Airport north runway plans are a ‘cocktail of negatives’

The campaigner said it is ‘a second runway by the back door’

By Emily Coady-Stemp, Local democracy reporter (Get Surrey)
24 JUN 2022

Gatwick Airport’s hopes of bringing its northern runway into regular use amount to a “second runway by the back door” according to one campaigner. A public consultation is currently running on the plans, first announced in 2018, which would see the northern runway brought into regular use for smaller departing aeroplanes alongside the main runway.

Sally Pavey, chair of Campaign Against Gatwick Noise and Expansion (CAGNE) said the northern runway can’t be used alongside the main one as it currently is. She said significant work would need to be done to relocate it, saying it is currently used as an emergency and taxiing runway and is too close to the main one.

Along with concerns about pressure on roads and the accessibility via public transport of the airport, as well as the impact of the aviation industry more widely, she described proposals for Gatwick as “a cocktail of negatives”.

A Gatwick spokesperson said the public had been kept up to date regarding plans since they were announced, including being able to give feedback on two formal consultations. They said the northern runway already met international safety standards and said works on the airfield to increase the spacing of the runways by 12 metres, additional taxiways and crossings would allow the northern runway to be used on a more routine basis.

Ms Pavey said: “This is a second runway by the back door, and it comes with no compensation, it comes with nothing to appease the huge increase in flights.” By 2038, the airport expects under the plans to see 75.6 million passengers a year, with 382,000 commercial flights. In 2019, the airport’s busiest year to date, there were 46.6 million passengers and the airport’s website shows a total of 280,700 flights.

The airport spokesperson said a cap, or an “envelope” on aircraft noise was being proposed with the aim of encouraging airlines to use more quieter planes at the airport, and that more residents were being added to its Noise Insulation Scheme.

CAGNE wrote to Grant Shapps, the Secretary of State for Transport, this month, to raise concerns that the development consent order – needed to secure planning permission on the northern runway – was being progressed at the same time as plans to modernise airspace in the south east. The airspace modernisation programme, co-sponsored by the government and the Civil Aviation Authority, will look at redesigning flight paths across London and the south east.

The airport spokesperson added: “Bringing our northern runway into routine operation does not require an airspace change. Routes that arrive and depart our northern runway already exist and are used today, they have been in place for decades and follow the same tracks that the flights on our main runway use.”

Ms Pavey said: “For them to say there’ll be no new flight path on these two runways is so disingenuous when they know they are conducting the modernisation of airspace and the design principles are showing huge amounts of new flight paths, both on arrival and on departure.”

She also raised concerns about travel to the airport, with the M23 as the main road that serves the airport. The CAGNE chair said: “Because of the fact that it has one artillery road and if there’s one incident on that road, everything snarls up so everyone goes on the residential roads which are country lanes.”

An airport spokesperson said that in 2019, a record 47.4 per cent of passengers and 40 per cent of staff travelled to the airport by public transport including by rail, bus or coach.

The spokesperson said: “Gatwick railway station is currently undergoing a £150m improvement project, which will enhance rail access and capacity further. The smart motorway between Gatwick and the M25 has been completed, which adds significant road capacity.”

A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “While government is supportive of airports across the UK making best use of their existing runways, any development consent order would be examined by the Planning Inspectorate as per the established process.

“As part of any planning application, airports would need to demonstrate how they would mitigate local environmental issues and ensure that they align with our Net Zero commitments.”


See earlier:

Gatwick Airport: More planes could fly close to Tandridge but council ‘trivialised’ in consultation

The plans would bring the standby northern runway into regular use for departures

By Emily Coady-StempLocal democracy reporter
1 DEC 2021

Concerns have been raised over Tandridge being “trivialised” in a consultation about proposed changes to Gatwick Airport which would see more planes fly close to the district.

At a meeting of Tandridge District Council’s planning policy committee on Thursday, councillors agreed a response to the consultation on bringing Gatwick’s standby northern runway into routine use.

A 12-week consultation on the plans ends today (December 1) and a development consent order is expected next year.

Under the plans, departures would be shared between both runways. The northern runway would be used for smaller aircraft and all arrivals would still use the main runway.

Speaking at the meeting, Councillor Lesley Steeds (Conservative, Dormansland & Felcourt) said: “I was very concerned at how Tandridge had been trivialised within this report from Gatwick.

“I think it’s quite quite appalling considering that we are very, very affected down in the south.”

Council strategy specialist Marie Killip said having read the responses of other authorities, many were unified in the issues that concerned them and this was reassuring.

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She said: “Obviously it makes sense why places like Horley, Crawley and Charlwood have all been highlighted but the reality is, I think we’re all quite shocked about how little regard there was to the fact that we’re adjacent to the end of the runway, pretty much.”

Councillor Colin White (Independents and OLRG Alliance, Burstow, Horne & Outwood) claimed Gatwick has more night flights than Heathrow and Stansted put together.

He said: “There is appears to be no limit on the number of night flights that can take place.

“As a result there have been a lot of complaints to me about the noise level in the early morning and it is a health issue when it comes to night-time flying.”