Fears Gatwick runway proposals will lead to ‘no-sleep ghettoes’ around the airport

A campaign group fears areas around Gatwick will become ‘no-sleep ghettoes’ if plans go ahead to bring a standby runway into regular use at the airport.

Tuesday, 31st August 2021, 10:49 am

Members of Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions - CAGNE - is now canvassing people’s views after Gatwick Airport announced last week plans to rebuild its northern runway for routine use by departing aircraft.

Many see the plans as a welcome boost creating 18,000 new jobs and generating an extra £1.5 billion for the economy.

But members of CAGNE are concerned about the environmental impact of the proposals.

The Northern and Main Runways at Gatwick

Airport officials maintain their proposals would be ‘low impact’ but a CAGNE spokesperson said: “To state ‘low impact’ shows total disregard for communities that suffer Gatwick Airport’s noise now and describe Gatwick as the ‘neighbour from hell’.

“Rusper, West Sussex, as well as other areas in Surrey, Lingfield, close to the runway to the east, will be ‘no-sleep noise ghettos’ due to two runways constantly releasing planes early in the morning to maximise flight numbers, as well as at night.

“What goes up must come down, so residents who suffer from arrivals can expect to see major increases – so much for ‘low impact’, with the increase from 285,000 flights a year to 382,000.”

The aviation industry has been hard-hit by the Covid pandemic and Gatwick announced last month that it made a loss of £204 million in the first six months of this year. Thousands of jobs have been lost during the crisis.

Gatwick maintains that expansion is necessary for future growth.

However, CAGNE says that Gatwick “provides peaks and declines in economic terms. Sustainable growth must be in green industries if we are serious about net-zero and leaving a healthy planet as a legacy for our children to enjoy.”

The group is urging local residents to voice their views to local councillors “for the sake of our children’s children.”