Gatwick Master Plan Announced
Gatwick’s near and long term growth strategy involves three approaches which are detailed below along with some of our initial thoughts:
- USING NEW TECHNOLOGIES TO INCREASE CAPACITY ON GATWICK’S EXISTING MAIN RUNWAY:
Gatwick hope to increase maximum flights per hour from the present 55 to 60 or more. Such an increase will likely include the use of Precision Based Navigation (SatNav for planes), which involves arriving and departing aircraft flying accurately along highly concentrated flight routes. Although this may enable arrivals to fly higher and quieter, those underneath will experience yet more concentration. Given the health implications we think such an approach should be strongly rejected and our efforts should be directed at sharing the noise burden as equitably as possible, rather than having certain areas of our communities turned into what has come to be known as “noise sewers”.
- THE DEVELOPMENT OF GATWICK’S EXISTING STANDBY RUNWAY TO BE USED IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE MAIN RUNWAY:
Historically,the Standby Runway has only been used in emergencies or when the Main Runway is unavailable. However, with the current usage agreement expiring in 2019, Gatwick are now looking to use the emergency runway alongside the Main Runway. To meet safety standards the Standby Runway will have to be widened to take it further from the Main Runway. When in operation, it would be used only for short-range departures, but by 2027 capacity is expected to increase by 80,000 flights a year, an increase of almost 30%.As we know as traffic volumes increase arrivals are routed further to the West and concentration will increase. Even worse this is most likely to happen in the evening and during the early night period when people are trying to get to sleep. Gatwick claim that this expansion can be achieved ‘without increasing the airport’s noise footprint’. We believe this is an ambitious claim, and based solely on the increased use of quieter aircraft. We are extremely concerned that we are being expected to support this expansion on the basis of forecast airline fleet replacement plans which are out-with Gatwick’s control. Current Government policy is that the benefits of aviation growth should be shared between the industry and those that its operations impact.From what we have seen so far, we see only downside for our communities.
- CONTINUING TO SAFEGUARD THE LAND FOR AN ADDITIONAL RUNWAY IN THE FUTURE:
At the moment, Gatwick is not actively pursuing an additional runway. However, the spectre of what would become a third runway has not gone away and there is no doubt that an additional runway remains a clear ambition, turning Gatwick into a three-runway airport rivalling the expanded Heathrow. The result would be devastating, with significant impacts on our health and our overall quality of life destroyed. Together we must not allow this to happen.