A business leader has claimed most people support the economic arguments for a second runway at Gatwick Airport.
Jeremy Taylor, Gatwick Diamond Business (GDB) chief executive, said opposition to the development was outnumbered by “the quieter majority”.
Mr Taylor said: “A lot of noise is being made by those who oppose the second runway at Gatwick, but I believe there is a quieter majority who may not necessarily want a second runway, but fully understand and support the economic arguments that underpin its development.”
Some 2,200 people attended the airport’s first six public consultations on its second runway plans this month.
Mr Taylor said: “I would suggest that the majority of those attending are those with a strong opinion one way or another; that leaves a quiet majority who have yet to speak but are starting to.
“They’ve been quiet because they understand that a growing Gatwick will be good for the local area and good for their children.”
Mr Taylor said nine in 10 members of GDB supported the development of the runway in a poll conducted by the group in December. Some 88 per cent of those were not aviation-related firms.
He said: “We believe that the runway will bring tangible economic and employment benefits that will spread beyond the Gatwick Diamond and serve to grow the economy for the South East and for the country.”
Mr Taylor said the jobs that would be created by the runway would let people work near where they live.
He added: “These could be filled quite easily by either local unemployed or by those who currently commute out of the region.”
And he warned Crawley businesses could lose interest from investors if the runway was not built.
He said: “If it’s built elsewhere in the UK then we will lose long-haul carriers. If we don’t maintain the connectivity to business destinations, particularly in emerging (long-haul) economies, then we will lose the appeal of the Gatwick Diamond to inward investment or business retention.”