In July 2013, West Sussex County Council (WSCC) put forth a vote to support an additional runway at Gatwick alongside Kent City Council (KCC). The Airports Commission, due to WSCC and KCC putting forth their votes, shortlisted Gatwick for the new runway as part of the final decision after the 2015 general election. However, back in November 2014, KCC withdrew its backing for a second runway because of the new flight paths that were introduced, and in January 2015 WSCC also withdrew their support. This leaves East Sussex Council solely in support of the second runway, with 11 of the 12 remaining Councils opposing it including Horsham, and the remainder: Reigate and Banstead Borough, not participating in the decision.
Disruptive Flight Paths
The new flight paths were set to cause major disruption and environmental damage which caused concern and has amassed nearly 3000 votes on this petition. A statement in the petition sums up the lack of evidence as to why a second runway, with the added local and environmental disruption, would be more beneficial to passengers over alternatives such as Heathrow: “It is wrong that the government endorse such miser for commercial gain of a privately owned airport and traffic control body”.
EasyJet’s response to the Airports Commission supports this point, stating “they can not force passengers to use airports they do not want to use,” and “Heathrow will create significantly more economic value than Gatwick – up to £211bn compared to £127bn’”.
Carolyn McCall, Chief Executive Officer, also makes a note on how clear the demand at Heathrow is for long haul flights, and if there is no space for it the airlines will look elsewhere such as Paris, Amsterdam and Frankfurt, not Gatwick.
It would be great to hear from local residents of Horsham, who have and may regularly use Gatwick, leave a comment detailing your thoughts on an additional runway below.