23 July 2013

Plans to expand Gatwick Airport have been backed by Coast to Capital, the Local Enterprise Partnership for Brighton and Hove, Lewes, London Borough of Croydon, the Gatwick Diamond, East Surrey, and West Sussex.

Britain’s second busiest airport has made a submission to the Davies Commission that the South East will be best served in the future by all three airports (Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted) having two runways each.

The LEP’s board of directors believe that Gatwick Airport should be seriously considered as an option for delivering this capacity because of the economic advantage it can deliver through employment growth.

John Peel, Coast to Capital LEP chairman, said: “We believe there is a pressing need to address the short, medium and long term provision of aviation capacity in the South East of England. That is why we are very supportive of Gatwick Airport’s case to the Davies commission for growth.  We do, however, recognise the need to strike a balance between what makes the Coast to Capital area an attractive destination and the potential impacts of airport development on noise and pollution...”   

He added: “We also acknowledge that the Coast to Capital area will face challenges, whatever Gatwick’s future, whether it is from an expanded airport or from an airport that sees no growth and declining employment.”

Ron Crank, the LEP’s chief executive, said: “The vision of Coast to Capital LEP places international growth and entrepreneurship at its very heart. The international connectivity provided by the region’s airports is important in both its facilitating international trade and in its provision of local jobs.  Failure to address the current situation will have an adverse long term impact on the economy and employment in the region.”

The Board believes any option to expand Gatwick must be delivered in association with a realistic and sympathetic plan for managing the impacts on housing, public services, surface transport and the environment.  “The jobs created by any regional growth in aviation also need to be part of an economy with balanced skills and sustainable employment” concluded Ron.  “These jobs should be part of a development of an ever more skilled airport workforce and those who work in the airport’s wider supply chain.”

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