Gatwick emphasises environmental issues

Gatwick emphasises environmental issues

The “crucial balance between the economy and environment” is highlighted today by Gatwick to ensure the benefits of airport expansion are considered alongside the impact on local people.

The airport also urged the Airports Commission to ensure that the analysis of noise impacts is conducted in a “transparent and even-handed way” for all three shortlisted schemes covering Gatwick and Heathrow.

The call came as public consultation on airport expansion comes to a close today.

Gatwick argues that the noise analysis published by the commission to-date makes it difficult for people affected to understand the “massive noise impacts” around Heathrow, and it includes several distortions which prevent fair comparisons between the three options.

The assertion is made despite Heathrow pledging yesterday to spend £700 million on home insulation in areas around the west London hub.

Gatwick chief executive Stewart Wingate said: “At this critical juncture, the Airports Commission’s decision should reflect the sort of country we want Britain to be in the 21st Century.

“We all want the UK to prosper, but we should not pursue economic benefits at any cost to the environment - public consultation has clearly highlighted what difficult but pivotal issues noise and the environment will be in this debate.”

He claimed: “Only expansion at Gatwick puts the environment front and centre of the debate, delivering the new capacity and economic benefits the UK needs at an environmental cost it can afford.

“Expanding Heathrow means 130,000 more planes over London every year, continued breaches of legal limits on air quality, and 320,000 people - a population the size of Coventry - newly affected by noise.

“In the 21st Century, Heathrow is simply not a credible option and ignores the key issues the public continue to raise.”

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