Gatwick Airport Ltd (GAL) has recently formally told the Airports Commission that it Wishes to build a second runway;
Has said that it is concentrating on the area between the airport and Crawley;
Has announced that it is examining a close parallel runway. ora staggered runway, or a Wide-spaced runway;
Has told Parliament that it envisages Gatwick ultimately becoming larger than Heathrow;
Has allocated £10 million in the next two years to develop its runway plans;
Has commissioned two high-powered London PR companies to sell the runway plans nationally and locally.
The Commission, which has the task of deciding whether the UK needs a bigger hub airport, and whether a new runway is needed in South East England, is proceeding methodically and has set Out its programme leading up to its final report in summer 2015.
Outline plans for new runways have to be submitted to the Commission by 19 July 201 3. GAL has promised to consult ‘stakeholders’ on their new runway plans but itis not yet known whether this will be before or after submitting them. There will also be an opportunity for comments. on the plans to be sent direct to the Commission. Later this year there are due to be more discussion documents on hub airports. and on the environment.
In December the Commission is required to produce an interim report. Thls will contain proposals for short-termactlcn to improve capacity of existing runways. It wit! also contain a short-list of proposals for new runways to be taken forward for firrtherconslderaticntn 2014.
It is probable that on the list will be: a new runway (or runways) at Heathrow, a new runway at Gatwick.a new runway at Stansted, and a new airport in the Thames Estuary. At Heathrow new proposals have recently been put forward for extendIng the airport westwards over the M25. During the course of 20 14 the Commission will be assessing the merits and demerits of each of the sites on the short-list. Local authorities will need to ensure that an the facts available to the Commission are up-to-date. For example. Crawley will need to remind them of the 2,000 new houses being built close to the end of a possible runway.
There is no sign that the Commission is intending to seek the views of the public or of local councils on the broad issue of whether they are for or against a new runway. But the county and district councils around Gatwick may wish to undertake research. either individually or jointly. into speciflc aspects. For example:
- whether the new flight paths would go over Horsharn; or over Dorking, or over Reigate. or over East Grinstead;
- what would be the impact of 40.000 neW jobs in the Gatwick area? i + what would be the impact on housing. schools and hospitals?
- could the local roads cope?
- how much countryside would be left?
Finally, in summer 2015 after the next election, the Commission is due to produce its recornrnendatlons for when and where new runways shou.ld be built. When (before July 19) GAL produce their plans for possible locations for a new runway at Gatwick they will invite the views of local councils. The Parish Council has it on good authority that should a second runway be built between the Airport and Crawley the amount of air traffic noise experienced over Capel would double over what it is today.
Jackie Coke, Clerk to the Council 01306 – 712447