Concerns over the environmental impact of proposals to expand Gatwick Airport have been voiced by Horsham’s MP and a leading local councillor.
Airport bosses revealed expansion plans in a draft masterplan last week which outlined proposals to convert an existing emergency stand-by runway into full-time use.
The expansion would see the number of flights increase by nearly 30 per cent with the number of passengers going through the airport rising to around 60 million by 2032.
Gatwick chief executive Stewart Wingate said the expansion plans - which are going out to public consultation - would create another 20,000 jobs and add an extra £2 billion to the economy.
Horsham MP Jeremy Quin said: “Safety will be uppermost in peoples’ minds. I also look forward to hearing from Gatwick how, if this went ahead, they could practically help address the increase in pressure on our local transport infrastructure arising from greater numbers of passengers and employees, and how they can address increased noise and disturbance, especially for communities close to the airport.”
Meanwhile, Horsham District Council’s cabinet member for the local ecomony Gordon Lindsay said: “The district council supports policies that provide both economic growth and jobs in the district. However, while increased use of the stand-by runway at Gatwick would undoubtedly give an impetus to the local economy, the council’s concerns about the negative effects of any second runway, including increased use of the stand-by runway, should be sufficiently addressed before any change takes place.
“Specifically, the council’s concerns centre on the following issues: infrastructure – especially surface access via road and rail, the increased impact on future housing demand and development, and the impact on the environment; in particular as regards noise pollution.”
Concerns over the airport’s expansion have already been voiced by Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions and by the Sussex branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England.
Pulic exhibitions of the airport masterplan are being held at The Barn, Causeway, Horsham, on November 3 from 3.30pm-7.30pm, and at County Mall shopping centre in Crawley on November 17 from 11am - 5pm.