Gatwick eco-campaigners' hope for expansion inquiry dashed

FURY has erupted after the government refused to review a scheme that could see 20,000 more flights a year passing through Gatwick.

Eco-campaigners demanded a public inquiry as Crawley Borough Council last month approved a controversial expansion to the airport's North Terminal allowing it to take an extra six million passengers a year.

But their hopes were dashed last week when the government refused to look into the plan saying it was only of 'local significance'.

Campaigners branded the decision a 'disgrace'. Brendon Sewill, chairman of the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign, said: "This is a massive development, bigger than the total size of many regional airports, and to permit it with no detailed examination and no safeguards for the environment is a disgrace."

However the decision was welcomed by Crawley's business community which said it would 'grow the local economy'. Jeremy Taylor, chief executive of business association Cadia, said: "I think it's very welcome because we can progress with something that needs to happen."

The scheme includes a 1,200 space multi-storey car park, and the airport said it would help it increase overall capacity to 40million passengers per year.