The first details of Gatwick’s multi-billion pound expansion plans – to double capacity and create a second Heathrow Airport in the south east – have emerged.
Gatwick originally submitted its bid to create a fully functioning two-runway airport to the planning inspector in July, as it pushes to increase annual capacity to 78 million passengers.
The plans have now been released to the public ahead of an expected six-month hearing due to begin at the end of the year.
The airport’s current annual capacity is 32.8million passengers. It wants to double that by building space for an extra 100,000 flights a year.
The project “would also include the development of supporting infrastructure and facilities to enable increased capacity at Gatwick airport to service 75 million passengers per year by 2038”.
The plans include:
Repositioning northern runway so both can be used together
A new pier
Extensions to the north and south terminals
New hotel and office space
New car parks
Opponents, including 10 neighbouring councils, and the Communities Against Gatwick Noise Emissions (CAGNE), said they were “disappointed” the application is moving forward as they had raised “significant concerns about Gatwick’s approach towards engagement and consultation”.
A spokesperson for CAGNE said: “Time and time again, airports that seek expansion and growth during the climate emergency use the same straplines to convince the government that it will be good for the country and that everything else can be mitigated. “Gatwick seems to have done the same.”
They added: “The planet cannot afford this expansion. We are horrified that a government Planning Inspector would agree to a second runway when it impacts the wellbeing and house value of so many residents, as well as the planet.”
The group said it was preparing a “strong legal team” to put forward a case against expansion. “The broken record keeps spinning as far as Gatwick’s management are concerned. The Development Consent Order is a cheap way to significantly increase capacity, without having to pay for the infrastructure needed to support such vast growth”, the spokesperson said.
Final sign off will be decided by the Secretary of State .
Tandridge District Council is a member of a consortium of 10 local councils in Surrey, Kent, East Sussex and West Sussex, which have come together to ensure their interests are represented.
A joint statement read: “We are disappointed that the Planning Inspectorate has this week decided to “accept” Gatwick Airport Limited’s development consent order application for dual runway operations through the routine use of the existing northern runway for its detailed consideration and examination.
“We had raised significant concerns about Gatwick’s approach towards engagement and consultation with us and the wider local community and felt that further, more meaningful consultation should have taken place before the application was submitted.
“Now the application has been accepted, we will engage with the Planning Inspectorate with the many outstanding issues that are unresolved and without agreement across a wide range of issues. We believe this challenging situation will require significant resources from the local authorities to present its case on the many and varied environmental and economic impacts arising from the development and the associated growth of the airport.
“It is hoped that engagement and provision of information by( Gatwick) will improve as we approach examination to give confidence to all parties about the impacts of the proposals and enable the Secretary of State to make a robust decision.”
London Gatwick’s chief planning officer Tim Norwood, said: “In coming weeks, the airport will let residents and other stakeholders know how they can register their interest in taking part in the examination stage of the planning process, so they can submit comments and feedback on our important proposals.”
London Gatwick’s DCO application is available on the Planning Inspectorate’s website.
Those interested in finding out about CAGNE’ fundraising can visit www.cagne.org.
Crawley Borough Council, East Sussex County Council, Horsham District Council, Kent County Council, Mid Sussex District Council, Mole Valley District Council, Reigate and Banstead Borough Council, Surrey County Council, Tandridge District Council, West Sussex County Council form the coalition of councils.