East Sussex County Council has given its backing to a second runway and new terminal building at Gatwick Airport.
At a meeting at County Hall in Lewes today (Tuesday 3rd June) Councillor Rupert Simmons, East Sussex County Council (ESCC) lead member for economy, pledged the authority’s support for the third of three options for expansion upon which the airport is consulting.
Cllr Simmons said the plan, which would see a new runway 1 kilometre south of the existing runway and a new terminal built between the two, would support economic growth and job creation in East Sussex.
Speaking at his lead member meeting, Cllr Simmons said:
We had previously given our backing to the idea of a second runway and we believe this particular option is the best way forward.
It will support our key priority of economic growth in East Sussex by providing better links for business to trade across the globe, as well as encouraging inward investment, securing new jobs and attracting more tourists.
Our support is dependent on improvements to surrounding transport links and the necessary infrastructure needed for the airport expansion. This will directly benefit East Sussex residents and businesses.
The option supported by ESCC would see both runways used for arrivals and departures, placed far enough apart to allow independent operation.
This would ensure the runways are used to their maximum potential for passenger use, while the scheme would also create the most jobs of the three schemes, with up to 17,500 new posts created by 2050.
Gatwick Airport was included in the Airports Commission’s shortlist of potential locations for additional runway capacity in South East England. The final recommendation will be presented to the Government after the election next year. Until then we can expect more announcements from both Gatwick and Heathrow, each arguing their case for selection.
The backing from East Sussex County Council, comes the day after the airport announced improvement to the road and rail networks to enable more passengers to travel to Gatwick. They say rail capacity will be doubled by 2020 and trebled by 2035.
Access to Gatwick by road is already being improved, with a upgrade programme for the lower half of the M25 and the M23 in place, including smart motorway use with hard shoulder running. The airport say they will be ready for additional passengers by 2021 should a second runway be built. The airport will also ensure local road networks will be no busier than they are today, even after a general increase in demand.
Responses received during the consultation period will be used to refine the plans for the second runway and will help Gatwick Airport decide which option to put forward for further consideration by the Airports Commission.
For more information see previous article.