Gatwick Airport: GACC campaigners ‘relieved but on guard’

GACC members and supporters
GACC members and supporters
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Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC) members have said they will remain on guard against the possibility of Gatwick expanding.

“Thousands of people across Surrey, Sussex and Kent will be relieved that the threat of a second runway has receded,” said a statement from the group.

“There will, however, be no rejoicing: uncertainty and blight remain. If the Heathrow runway goes ahead, we are only too aware of the misery which would be created there.”

GACC chairman Brendon Sewill said: “Gatwick Airport has failed to make a convincing case. Their brash advertising and lavish lobbying did not prevail against rational examination. They can now only look for a political fix,’ said Brendon Sewill, Chairman of GACC.

“GACC will remain on guard, and will continue to oppose a new Gatwick runway alongside all the local MPs, and almost all the local councils. We are united in our concern for the local environment and the costs of providing the infrastructure (roads, rail, housing, schools etc.) that would be necessary.

“If there were a political fix in favour of Gatwick the public would be incensed. It would be an environmental disaster for the South East - more noise, more pollution, more climate change damage, new flight paths, large scale inward migration, multiple traffic jams and a worsening of the north/south divide.”

The statement continued: “Opposition at both airports is now so great, that the option of no new runway needs to be re-examined – it was rejected by the Commission without proper consideration. It would make more sense to make full use of the runways we’ve already got, which the Commission admit won’t be full until 2040 - and not then if airlines continue to use larger aircraft.

“The argument that the final decision will depend on how many members of the Cabinet have constituencies near Heathrow is rejected as being pork barrel politics. To take a long term decision on national airports policy on the basis of which constituencies happen to have their MP in the Cabinet would be nonsensical. In five or ten years’ time the situation may be reversed.

“The Cabinet Ministers concerned have a clear financial interest - whether they lose their seat and their Ministerial salary. Therefore they should declare a financial interest and take no part in the decision. If they don’t, that could create a legal challenge of constitutional significance.”

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