‘Campaign Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions’ members say their online survey shows more than 80% of people don’t want a second runway at the airport.
But officials say that the proposals are in line with the government’s climate change commitments and that noise levels would be no different to those during the 2017 expansion.
The proposal would allow the airport to use two runways at once, reducing delays and increasing passenger numbers by 75 million a year.
The rebuilding of its emergency northern runway just 12 metres from the main runway means it can be used in parallel for departures.
Gatwick says it is consistent with the government’s advice to maximise existing capacity. It also claims the scheme would create over 18,000 employment opportunities by 2038, and will boost the local economy by £1.5bn.
However, the Aviation Environment Federation has calculated that the runway and passenger growth would add about 1 million tonnes of CO2 per year by 2050, which puts the airport’s climate commitments in doubt.
Green Party Councillor, Jonathan Essex said that the plan wouldn’t create new jobs for at least 5 years, with such an extensive process for the proposals and then the re-building. He emphasised that the local community needs jobs now, not in five years time.
With a campaign group, Councillor Essex created a ‘Green new deal for Gatwick’, to focus on creating jobs for people without further harming the environment.
He said; “The way to provide jobs around Gatwick airport is to provide jobs needed to create a better future, by dealing with climate change and employing people at the same time.
“And that isn’t flying people around the world. It’s retrofitting homes, it’s about public transport, more sustainable agriculture, reusing and recycling rather than incinerating or land filling our waste. And those jobs require a huge range of skills. Just like the huge range of skills that exist with people working in shops, in pilot roles, engineering and air crew.
“Rather than waiting 5 years for people that have been furloughed or lost their jobs already, we need the government to step in. And rather than subsidise Gatwick airport with a billion pounds a year tax breaks, which is what it was getting up until 2019, put at least some of that money into the local area to create the new jobs we need for a much better future.”
The airport’s chief executive, Stewart Wingate, said: “While we are currently experiencing low passenger and air traffic volumes due to the global pandemic, we are confident that Gatwick will not only fully recover to previous passenger levels but has the potential to continue to grow back into one of Europe’s premier airports.”
The proposal will be in consultation until December.
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