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4 - Aug - 2014

Gatwick makes promises as voters slam runway plans

It’s been an embarrassing week for Gatwick as many local voters slammed their plans for a second runway.  Almost two-thirds of respondents to the consultation gave a resounding “no” to all three options the airport submitted.  Also revealed was the exclusion of the Woodland Trust’s responses from over 4,000 people.  There were respondents that agreed to the proposals and believe that a second runway would benefit the local economy, but they were drowned out by the influx of negativity.  This autumn, the Airports Commission will carry out a national consultation on Heathrow and Gatwick airports in readiness for their recommendation to the Government in summer 2015.

At the same time this week, and whether it’s in response to the voters negative response remains to be seen, Gatwick Airport announced a massive £256 million of funding to go towards housing, jobs and apprenticeships should they get the go ahead to build a second runway.  Gatwick has revealed that this funding is in response to issues raised during the recent local public consultations that were held earlier this year, and a proportion of the funding, £46 million, will be put towards improving the infrastructure that would be needed for 9,300 new homes in the area.  There will also be £5 million allocated to measures for noise insulation – whether that’s enough?  Plus £10 million allocated to road improvements, and a further £3.75 million to create 2,500 apprenticeships.  However, the biggest chunk of the funding - £131 million – will be put towards the compulsory purchase of houses, with owners set to be offered over 25% of market value.

If the second runway does deliver on the 120,000 new jobs that is expected then this additional funding will be sorely needed to improve road, rail, the infrastructure and build houses in the area.  What there is no mention of is the airport’s plans for compensating those that will have their homes at devaluation and quality of life, nor anything about conservation plans around the airport which is in the heart of a protected rural area – we suggest that these areas need attention.

By Airport Pickups London