MPs deliver Gatwick concerns report to Number 10
MPs with constituencies surrounding Gatwick Airport joined local campaign groups to deliver a report to Number 10 which sets out their concerns about airport expansion.
The report was delivered to the Prime Minster on Monday (16 May) and contained a letter sent to the Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin. The letter was signed by the members of the Gatwick Co-ordination Group MPs, Sir Nicholas Soames MP for Mid Sussex, Jeremy Quin MP for Horsham, Tom Tugendhat MP for Tonbridge, Edenbridge & Mailing and Nick Herbert MP for Arundel & South Downs.
The community groups represented included Derek Meakings from One’s Enough, Doug Cox from the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC), Kia Trainor from CPRE Sussex, and Sally Pavey from CAGNE.
The report, prepared by CAGNE, sets out the key concerns regarding the lack of infrastructure to support a second runway, and the impacts this would have on air quality. It states that Gatwick is already starting to suffer from inadequate infrastructure and is positioned on one of the worst performing railway lines in the country, pointing out that an expanded train line cannot be delivered because of limitations.
Any expansion from a second runway is expected to result in a 1,000 per cent increase in freight which would have to be transported by road. Gatwick is accessed from the M23, a road which already suffers from congestion at peak times.
The report expresses fears that any development of the airport would also be staggered, as suggested by Gatwick, which would limit the funding for a new link road necessary for the servicing of a bigger airport.
Any delay to the delivery an essential new road would place further burdens on the existing infrastructure that supports freight, passengers and airport workers, and this would worsen the air quality.
Nick Herbert said: “The independent Airports Commission delivered an unequivocal recommendation in favour of expansion at Heathrow, and one of the key issues they identified which made Gatwick less preferable was its relatively poor transport connections.
“The local rail service is already totally inadequate, as my constituents know only too well as they currently suffer constant disruption and delays. A second runway at Gatwick would see huge extra pressures placed on the infrastructure in West Sussex which is already creaking under existing use.
"Added to this will be the huge demand for additional housing in areas that are already under development pressure to meet current needs."
1. Photograph – MPs and community group representatives on the steps of Number 10.
2. To read the report, prepared by CAGNE, ‘What about our air quality?’ see http://www.nickherbert.com/data/files/160516_What_about_our_air_quality_Report_2.pdf.