Airport accused of ‘scare tactics’ over noise leaflet

Proposed plan for new runway at  Gatwick Airport SUS-150302-164645001
Proposed plan for new runway at Gatwick Airport SUS-150302-164645001

Gatwick Airport has been accused of using ‘scare tactics’ to garner support for a second runway.

An open letter, sent to Gatwick Airport Ltd chairman Roy McNulty, criticised the distribution of 400,000 leaflets to residents in the Heathrow area which warned of the noise pollution expansion in London would bring, while declaring “Gatwick sounds better”.

The letter, signed by former East Surrey MP Sam Gyimah, accused Gatwick of ignoring the views of its own community as it strived to secure the recommendation of Sir Howard Davies and the Airports Commission.

The letter stated: “It is unacceptable that you continue to ignore your own communities, those who will be most affected by the considerable impact of expansion at Gatwick, and to suggest that ‘Gatwick sounds better’.

“It doesn’t, and if Mr Wingate or his team had taken the time to adequately consult with his local communities he would know this.”

It added: “Instead of frightening the communities around your competitor, you should focus on engaging with the communities that surround your airport.”

A Gatwick spokesman defended the use of the leaflet and added: “We issued a leaflet to Heathrow residents because we do not think the local communities around Heathrow have been given the facts about the huge and direct impact expansion will have on them.

“We have always been open with our neighbours – we accept more people will be impacted by noise if Gatwick expands and that is why we will offer an industry leading noise insulation scheme and direct cash compensation.

“The leaflet uses Airports Commission data and shows which areas would be affected by expansion at both airports. The contrast is stark and shows that 20 times fewer people would be impacted by noise if Gatwick expands.”