Local businesses support Gatwick expansion plans

Local businesses at Gatwick Airport have expressed their support for plans to expand the airport, according to This Is London.

Backing the Gatwick Airport submission, Rosemary French, executive director of the Gatwick Diamond Initiative (GDI) business forum, has written to the chairman of the Airports Commission, Sir Howard Davies, on behalf of 100 individual businesses and 12 business membership organisations, representing 5,500 businesses and neighbouring areas.

Ms French said: ‘Expansion at Gatwick with a second runway, alongside the maintenance of Heathrow as a two-runway airport, is the best next step in aviation provision for London and the South-east, because it is the most cost-effective of all the options, does not use public money, and the environmental implications are smaller.’

The Gatwick Diamond Initiative involves 38,000 businesses, which contribute £19 billion Gross Value Added (GVA), and has a population of 406,000 that are economically active.

Speaking of the Gatwick expansion in environmental terms, Ms French said: ‘We believe that the environmental blight that a third runway at Heathrow will bring to London communities is wholly unnecessary when a second runway could be built at Gatwick with far less environmental, noise and air pollution impact.

‘Gatwick already handles 9,233 passengers for every person affected by noise, compared to 261 passengers handled by Heathrow, according to the Airports Commission’s own report.’

According to officials at Gatwick airport, 19,000 jobs will be created as a result of a second runway, while the GDI is confident that the expansion could create up to 40,000 jobs by 2030.

The airport is also claimed to be the best connected in the UK especially to Central London.

Ms. French added: ‘Gatwick has a main railway line running through it that connects directly to London Bridge, St Pancras International and Victoria, as well as south to Brighton and the coast.

‘An expanded Gatwick Airport would be a catalyst to bring further improvements to the area with faster, more efficient public transport and surface access infrastructure, enabling employees to be attracted from neighbouring communities in London, Kent, West Surrey and East Sussex.’

Groups opposed to the expansion have however questioned the validity of local business support for the project.