MP warns of "rapid suburbanisation" from Gatwick expansion
Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert has warned that a second runway at Gatwick would cause the "rapid suburbanisation of parts of West Sussex that would change the rural character of the area".
In an interview with the Arundel Bell magazine, Mr Herbert said that he would become "very fierce" if the Government decided to ignore the clear recommendation of the Airports Commission report for Heathrow and instead opt for Gatwick.
In the interview Mr Herbert says:
'I think the Davis Report has made it very hard for the government to opt for Gatwick expansion because it says it would deliver only half the economic benefit of Heathrow, would fail to provide the hub airport needed and has poorer transport links, specifically not connecting to HS2.’ He threatens to become ‘very fierce’ if the political difficulties of Heathrow make the government lean towards Gatwick. It’s not just the issue of flight noise which worries him but the associated development which would be needed in West Sussex putting pressure on existing infrastructure which is already inadequate for the existing development.
He refutes economic arguments for Gatwick’s development. He says most areas locally are in almost full employment so any jobs created by the development would have to be filled from outside putting further pressure on the infrastructure. ‘I accept that there are pockets of local deprivation but overall this is economically a prosperous area with mostly full employment.’ Again his concern is to protect the Sussex countryside. ‘We could see the rapid suburbanisation of parts of West Sussex that would change the rural character of the area – with only the protected bits of the landscape not being subject to development. You can see that already in some of the development proposals.’
The Government is currently considering the Airports Commission report and is expected to make a decision before the end of the year.
In the interview Mr Herbert also warns about the impact of fracking and other development proposals on the West Sussex countryside.
The MP also speaks about his career before he was elected, his time as a Minister in the Coalition Government and his current political priorities.
1. Interview: http://tinyurl.com/pp6wx5k
2. Photograph – Arundel Bell, Autumn issue, cover
3. Nick Herbert's response to Airports Commission report (1 July 2015) : http://www.nickherbert.com/news.php/639/response-to-airports-commission-report
4. Nick Herbert's letter to County Councillors warning of development pressures from second runway (13 January 2015): http://www.nickherbert.com/news.php/583/mp-urges-county-councillors-to-reject-gatwick-second-runway