Gatwick runway story ‘over-blown’

19.12.2008 (GACC press release)

GACC (the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign) consider that the story on the
front page of the Times (18 December) under the headline ‘Secret Plans Revealed for Second Gatwick Runway’ was over-blown
and off-mark.

The so called ‘confidential memorandum’ said to have been sent to potential purchasers
of the airport appears to have been little more than extracts from the 2003 Air
Transport White Paper which has always indicated that the possibility of a new
Gatwick runway should be kept open for after 2019;   together with extracts from
the BAA Master Plan published in October 2006 which included an indicative sketch
for a possible new runway.

The report by the Competition Commission (17 December) merely says that the Government should take into account the fact that a new
owner of Gatwick may wish to build a new runway to improve competition.   "But
the Government has a lot of other more important factors to consider," said Brendon
Sewill, GACC chairman, "what the Commission do not mention is that any new runway
would be totally inconsistent with the Government’s target of reducing CO2 emissions
by 80% by 2050.   Indeed it is extraordinary that in all 107 pages of the report
the words ‘climate change’ do not occur once."

The Conservative Party has stated that a future Conservative Government would
not build new runways at Heathrow, Stansted or Gatwick.(1)     So have the Lib Dems.  
Therefore any company thinking of buying Gatwick in hope of a second runway is
likely to be wasting its money.

"Make no mistake," said Brendon Sewill, "a second runway is not just a strip
of concrete:   It would mean a new terminal bigger than T5, twice the number of
planes in the sky, twice the amount of aircraft noise, twice the number of airport
cars on the roads, twice the level of local pollution and twice the amount of
climate change damage."

Fortunately we believe it will never happen.   The main effect of the Times story
will be to cause blight and misery as thousands of home owners find it even harder
to sell their houses.

GACC will, at the right time and if necessary,   mount a major campaign against
a new runway but, as Sewill says: "Any Government decision is still years away
– we remain vigilant but it would be unwise to start campaigning too soon."


(1)     Theresa Villiers.   The Times.   8 November 2008

GACC’s website is at: