27th October 2016
Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce watched with interest the announcement of the government’s preferred option for airport expansion this week.
We are pleased that a recommendation for increased aviation capacity has been made at last because Heathrow is already full and Gatwick will be full by 2020.
However, we are concerned that the M25 disruption at Heathrow will make life difficult for our local businesses and hauliers for many years.
We are also concerned that the Heathrow decision could be open to significant legal challenges and may well never happen.
The UK needs increased aviation capacity in the South East as soon as possible and a further long delay resulting in a failure to expand Heathrow will not help our economy.
Rosemary French, Executive Director of the Gatwick Diamond Initiative, an independent business led economic partnership driving economic growth in the corridor south of Croydon and north of Brighton, said:
“A third runway at Heathrow is effectively undeliverable.
“Environmentally, 278,000 additional residents in London will be affected by noise and pollution. That compares to 3,800 should Gatwick expand.
“Heathrow has never, ever met the EU air quality targets while Gatwick has never broken them. Heathrow simply pays the fines and carries on, leaving itself open to strong legal challenge.
“The Davies Commission asked for no night flights at Heathrow and no worsening in air quality, both of which Heathrow cannot deliver and is open to legal challenge.
“Financially, Heathrow will cost £23 billion of which around £6 billion will come from the public purse. On the other hand, Gatwick will cost £8bn with no public money needed. We would do better to spend that Heathrow money on hospitals.
“Economically, the Heathrow as a Hub airport case does not stand up. The future of aviation is Point-to-Point as we see Hub airport activity rapidly declining.
“Hub airports bring little benefit to the UK economy other than to airport retailers while a point to point airport does benefit the wider economy, as passengers’ land and disperse around the country to spend their money.
“Physically, Heathrow does not have the land to expand without destroying a village, digging up the M25 and causing years and years of traffic mayhem. It could take until 2030 until the first flights take off from a third runway.
“By contrast Gatwick is ready to build with sufficient land already safeguarded south of the airport, agreed by local councils many years ago.
“The cabinet has made a recommendation for Heathrow which cannot be delivered and indeed the likelihood is that it will be scuppered in the next two or three years just like it was in 2003 and again in 2009.
“MP’s, residents, surrounding councils and climate change organisations will mount legal challenges which will effectively end the project.
“Gatwick is deliverable, affordable, far more environmentally acceptable and is ready to go.”