LETTER: Serious consequences from Gatwick expansion

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Open letter to Sir Howard Davies, chairman of the Airports Commission.

Gatwick expansion will have serious consequences for the airport’s local communities and will significantly damage the local environment. Gatwick’s showstopper is a single railway line that can’t be expanded.

Sir as you, the Airports Commission, prepares to make its recommendation on airport expansion, we urge that careful consideration is given to the impact a two-runway Gatwick will have on one of the most tranquil parts of the British countryside. Local rural areas will be devastated as a result of substantial aircraft noise and you will be agreeing to spend billions of taxpayer’s money on an airport that brings little into the UK economy, being a major exporter of UK leisure travellers overseas.

Gatwick’s plans would result in the largest destruction of our heritage since the Second World War and the removal to thousands of trees and natural habitat, which can only assist in increasing pollution issues we already face in the Home Counties. Nineteen listed buildings would be lost forever, including five that are Grade 2* - buildings that are currently among the top 6 per cent of the most important buildings in Britain. Heritage sites that attract tourists, and thus revenue, would have their tranquillity shattered forever.

We are not anti-development and understand the importance of maintaining Britain’s place at the centre of the global economy. However, you will need to balance the environmental impact against the pure desire of the scheme promoters to benefit only their overseas shareholders and not UK taxpayers.

What is clear is that Gatwick’s plan does not address the concerns of us residents but simply spins a ‘sales pitch’ that has no foundations or local community support.

Sally Pavey, chair of CAGNE.

David Johnson, CPRE Sussex. Brendon Sewill, Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign.

Ian Hare, Pulborough Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions.

Dominic Nevill, East Sussex Communities for the Control of Air Noise.