Gatwick Airport expected to submit second runway DCO application within two weeks
The long-awaited Development Consent Order (DCO) application to convert Gatwick Airport’s emergency runway into a second runway is expected to be submitted within the next two weeks. No date has been given. Gatwick wants to rebuild its Northern Runway, which is currently used as a standby and for maintenance, to be used by smaller departing aircraft. This would include moving the centre line of the runway further north by 12m, bringing it within global safety standards to operate dual runway departures. The plan also include provision for road changes, a new pier, improvements to existing terminal buildings and additional parking and hotels. Due to the scope of the plans, the scheme has been deemed a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project meaning that a DCO is needed before construction can start. The DCO application is expected to comprise of 25,000-30,000 pages with approximately 100 plans. Gatwick is using its legal advisors’ SharePoint site to submit the documents. Most of Gatwick’s passengers are leisure travellers, for holidays or visiting friends and family. The flights enabled by the extra runway would lead to an increase of perhaps 1 million tonnes of CO2 emissions per year. At a time of climate crisis.
Gatwick Airport expected to submit second runway DCO application within two weeks
22 JUN, 2023
BY THOMAS JOHNSON (New Civil Engineer)
The long-awaited Development Consent Order (DCO) application to convert Gatwick Airport’s emergency runway into a second runway is expected to be submitted within the next two weeks.
Gatwick Airport stated that it does plan to submit its DCO application within the coming weeks but wouldn’t give a specific date for the submission.
As part of the plans, Gatwick Airport wants to rebuild its Northern Runway, which is currently used as a standby and for maintenance, to be used by smaller departing aircraft. This would include moving the centre line of the runway further north by 12m, bringing it within global safety standards to operate dual runway departures.
The plan also include provision for road improvements, a new pier, improvements to existing terminal buildings and additional parking and hotels.
Due to the scope of the plans, the scheme has been deemed a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project meaning that a DCO is needed before construction can start.
The airport believes the project is a “low-impact plan” to “improve resilience, reduce delays and provide a significant boost to the regional economy”.
London Gatwick is owned in a partnership between Vinci Airports, which has a 50.01% stake, and Global Infrastructure Partners, with 49.99%.
A meeting report between the Planning Inspectorate and the airport from March explains how Gatwick revealed it was sent a letter from 10 local authorities detailing concerns about consultation, information sharing and Planning Performance Agreement funding.
In response, Gatwick confirmed it was intending to submit the DCO in mid to late June to allow the local authority’s time to consider the draft information the airport was due to share with them.
Later in the meeting, it was noted the DCO application is expected to comprise of 25,000-30,000 pages with approximately 100 plans. Gatwick Airport advised the inspectorate it intended to use its legal advisors’ SharePoint site to submit the documents.
In a recent press release, London Gatwick Airport stated it estimated 630 new jobs will be created if the plans to bring its Northern Runway into routine use are given the green light. It estimates that at the peak of developing the runway, nearly 1400 construction jobs could be created nationally.
Campaign group which opposes the development Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions (CAGNE) hit out at this claim, stating it only offers residents “half-truths when it comes to expansion plans”.
A statement from the group said: “We have seen, time and time again, the lack of job-security due to the business model of the airport, providing low-cost flights predominantly to Europe. Long-haul flights seem to come and go, mostly according to whether Heathrow has slots available.
“With the current cost-of-living crisis, the fact that greener fuels will cost some three to five times more than fossil fuel could hit Gatwick the hardest again, with a subsequent impact on jobs, as we saw with Covid and the last recession.
“No responsible owners of an airport should therefore be seeking expansion at this time, especially as a second runway would add over 1M.t of extra carbon emissions a year on top of that already produced from the main runway.”
A London Gatwick spokesperson played down the comments and said: “Unfortunately CAGNE is once again making some unsubstantiated claims.
“Growth associated with using our existing Northern Runway is considered a project of national significance and will be properly scrutinised through a comprehensive, independently run planning process using a panel of examiners.
“Demand for flying is forecast to continue growing as people enjoy taking a holiday overseas or connecting with family and friends. Thousands of individuals, families and businesses right across the region will also benefit from our growth, with more than 10,000 new jobs, and a £1bn boost being delivered to the region’s economy every year.
“We take our environmental responsibilities very seriously. We will invest over £250M to become a net zero airport for our own carbon emissions by 2030, ten years ahead of our previous target. We will also make further environmental commitments when we submit our planning application, including limiting aircraft noise should our Northern Runway become fully operational.”
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.
NEF analysis indicates the CO2 from Gatwick expansion could cost taxpayers £8.5 billion up to 2050.
New analysis from the New Economics Foundation has calculated the costs to society of the carbon emissions that airport expansion plans would cause. The “carbon value” used to be a bit over £70 per tonne, but in September 2021 this was increased to £124 per tonne, and it will keep rising. So the figures airports have put forward, for the positive economic impact of their expansion are now entirely out of date. Almost the only carbon costs the aviation industry pays is for carbon through the UK ETS, which only covers flights within the EU. Not flights anywhere else in the world. The Gatwick cost of emissions from departing flights is calculated by NEF to be £9.196 billion, rather than £4.502 billion at the lower, out of date, price – for the period between 2025 – 2050. They put the forecast price paid for traded emissions at £634m. So the proportion of climate cost paid would only be 6.9% which implied cost to wider society and taxpayer at £8.562 billion. That is the cost to society of the climate impact of the higher carbon emissions caused by more Gatwick flights.
Gatwick expansion consultation ends 1st December – its plans would have ‘few benefits’ and many negative impacts
November 26, 2021
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.