BUSINESS COMMUNITY URGED TO SUPPORT GATWICK AIRPORT EXPANSION FOR ECONOMIC GROWTH

30 May 2013

Business leaders from across the Gatwick Diamond have been urged to find their voice and speak out in support of capacity expansion at Gatwick Airport, as they will benefit from the resulting economic growth.

29 May 2013: Business leaders from across the Gatwick Diamond have been urged to find their voice and speak out in support of capacity expansion at Gatwick Airport, as they will benefit from the resulting economic growth.

Almost 200 people from the public and private sectors gathered to listen and discuss issues around aviation growth at the Gatwick Diamond Economic Growth Forum on 23 May at the Arora International Hotel, Crawley. The event was sponsored by the Gatwick Diamond Initiative, ASBlaw, and supported by many business organisations including the Surrey and Sussex Chambers of Commerce, and the Coast to Capital LEP.

As well as the impact of aviation growth on the local economy, panel discussions were held recognising that investment in infrastructure, housing and transport will all be critical. Following the opening of the Forum by Henry Smith MP and Paul Gresham, the Chair of the Gatwick Diamond, Stewart Wingate, CEO of Gatwick Airport was interviewed by Greg Burgess of ASB Law about his short and long term plans for the airport. Then, local business leaders from Elekta, Canon UK, RBS, Nestle, ILG, and Metrobus voiced their views.

Henry Smith MP said: "The Gatwick Diamond is a region important for driving economic performance for the UK as well as the local economy." He said "everyone has an important role to play to ensure its future success".

Stewart Wingate summarised Gatwick Airport’s contribution to the local economy (including its employment of more than 25,000 people) and underlined the benefits of its billion pound investment plans. He also spoke of the airport's commitment to doing business with local companies to support the area's general economic vibrancy and his desire to deregulate the airport to enable better competition. He said that the Gatwick submission to the Airports Commission in July would include a second runway, although no decisions would be made by government until 2015.

All speakers agreed that an independent and impartial consideration of the economic benefits of aviation growth must be formalised in order to provide an informed and robust response to the Davies Commission. There were also calls for further investment into the area's surface access transport connections - a key factor in companies relocating and remaining in the area.

Rosemary French, Executive Director of the Gatwick Diamond Initiative said: "The Gatwick Diamond is a £19 billion economy of national importance, and is widely recognised as a key area of future investment and growth. We are now at a crossroads which will determine the local economy of the future. On the question of aviation capacity, it is vital that the views of the business community are voiced loud and clear and taken into account. This Forum has helped focus minds on the issues, opportunities and threats to economic growth in our region."

 
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