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Gatwick second runway

October 17, 2018 11:30 AM

Gatwick airportMole Valley Liberal Democrats have reacted with dismay to reports Gatwick Airport might convert their emergency runway into a second runway, bypassing controls on airport expansion when a restriction runs out next year. Parliamentary Spokesperson Paul Kennedy has called on Secretary of State Chris Grayling MP to intervene to ensure the change is not slipped in by the back door.

The plans, which are expected to be announced on Thursday, come a week after the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned we had just 12 years to prevent a global climate change catastrophe. The plans would involve an increase in air traffic by up to 30%, and potentially more if Gatwick is able to get the runway extended in the future.

There are also concerns that the loss of the emergency runway would endanger the public and exacerbate chaos in the event of an incident.

Liberal Democrats have consistently opposed any additional runways in the South-East - whether at Gatwick, Heathrow or Stansted - citing noise and environmental concerns and the need to rebalance the United Kingdom economy away from the overheated South-East.

Prospective Lib Dem MP for Mole Valley Paul KennedyParliamentary spokesperson Paul Kennedy said it was crazy for the Conservative Government now to allow expansion of both Heathrow and Gatwick Airports. Cllr Kennedy said:

"These proposals have wider regional and national significance. Here in Surrey, Mole Valley residents are already bearing the brunt of changes to Gatwick's flight paths, and there is concern that most of the additional traffic will fly directly over our towns and villages. This decision should not be made by West Sussex alone.

"Nationally, there must be real questions about the economic and environmental rationale for this change, given the huge amount of Government funding already going into expanding Heathrow. There is no justification for the Conservative Government to allow both Heathrow and Gatwick Airports to start using extra runways.

"Chris Grayling should intervene to ensure full public consideration of the economic, safety, noise and climate change implications of the proposals before any such change can even be considered. Gatwick should not be allowed to subvert the national airport planning framework."