The new MP for Wealden has joined the Gatwick Coordination Group. The group set-up last year consists of local MP concerned at the plan for a 2nd runway at Gatwick Airport.
With the Airports Commission report due to be published this summer, Nus Ghani and other members of the Gatwick Coordination Group (GCG) have written to the Cabinet Secretary to seek certain assurances about how a decision on expansion will be made. The letter highlights the MP’s concerns about expansion at Gatwick. Once the Commission has made it’s recommendation on whether to build a third runway at Heathrow or a second at Gatwick, the Government will make a formal response on where the new unway should be built.
Crispin Blunt MP, Chair of the GCG, commented:
The Airports Commission will make a recommendation for a national decision on airport capacity. As a national decision which needs to be taken in the national interest, arrangements should be in place to ensure that Ministers with a constituency interest are not involved in the Government’s response and decision.
We are quite clear that Gatwick would not only be a disaster for local communities, but not in the national interest either. There is no economic, business or practical case for Gatwick to become the same size as Heathrow: no labour force, no surface infrastructure and it is unable to deliver a UK Hub.
Gatwick is fundamentally the wrong solution, both locally and nationally. It will devastate local communities and provide just a fraction of any additional benefit to the UK compared with Heathrow.
We would be astonished if the Airports Commission does not endorse this blindingly obvious conclusion and hope the Government moves fairly and rapidly to act on their recommendations.
This week Gatwick Airport has delivered the first of a bi-annual community newsletter to homes in the region, including properties in Crowborough. AirMail is part of Gatwick’s strategy to engage local communities and includes articles about grants to local good causes and a local residents parking scheme. Gatwick says its case for expansion is “robust and compelling”. The expansion would cost between £5bn and £9bn, and be financed privately. Airport chiefs say contruction could start in 2020 and the new runway could be opened by 2025.
Responding to the latest set of passenger numbers as Gatwick, which show a 5.8% increase in May, Chief Executive Stewart Wingate said:
Gatwick’s record growth continues to prove that greater competition is working for passengers and businesses. With the expansion decision approaching, it is time to write the next chapter in one of the greatest policy success stories of recent years.
Choosing airport competition over monopoly is the only answer that is right for the whole of the UK. Expanding Gatwick would enhance competition, meaning Gatwick grows, Heathrow improves, and every part of the UK benefits from a stronger network of competing airports providing passengers more choice, higher standards and lower fares.
The Members of Parliament on the Gatwick Coordination Group are as follows:
- Crispin Blunt MP – Member of Parliament for Reigate (Chairman)
- Sir Paul Beresford MP – Member of Parliament for Mole Valley
- Nusrat Ghani MP – Member of Parliament for Wealden
- Rt Hon Nick Herbert MP – Member of Parliament for Arundel and South Downs
- Jeremy Quin MP – Member of Parliament for Horsham
- Tom Tugendhat MBE MP – Member of Parliament for Tonbridge and Malling
- Henry Smith MP – Member of Parliament for Crawley
- Rt Hon Sir Nicholas Soames MP – Member of Parliament for Mid Sussex
Sam Gyimah MP, Member of Parliament for East Surrey, also supports the Group but, as a Minister with a constituency interest is not included in this letter to Sir Jeremy Heywood.
Click on the links below for other stories about expansion at Gatwick or Heathrow.