GATWICK DIAMOND INITIATIVE URGES BUSINESSES TO FIND THEIR VOICE ON AIRPORTS CONSULTATION
11 November 2014
The Gatwick Diamond Initiative has welcomed the news that businesses have the opportunity to directly inform the Airports Commission of their preferred second runway option in the public consultation which opens today (11 November).
"We encourage business leaders to respond within the three month period so that business views can be heard and taken into account in the final recommendation" said Rosemary French, Executive Director of the Gatwick Diamond Initiative. "Businesses are often too busy to take notice of such consultations but this one will have a significant future trading impact for their business and for UK plc. This is the opportunity to influence decisions which will decide aviation capacity until 2050.”
The recommendation to the government will be made by the Chair of the Commission, Sir Howard Davies, after the May 2015 election. He will have considered the shortlisted options of a second runway at Gatwick or a third runway at Heathrow. The Gatwick Diamond Initiative, a business led, private/public economic partnership, supports a second runway at Gatwick says Ms French.
“There are many reasons why Gatwick is the better option but we can distil them into the principal ones. Firstly, there is no doubt that there will be substantially less environmental and noise impact than at Heathrow. The land is already safeguarded and significantly fewer businesses and homes will be adversely affected. Indeed, Gatwick’s history of never having breached UK or EU air quality guidelines is a better judge of the future than Heathrow’s current poor performance in that area.
Secondly, we will have two world class airports ensuring true competition and more customer choice offering both legacy airlines and low cost carriers, which is in line with other world airport capitals such as Paris, New York and Tokyo.
Thirdly, the second runway at Gatwick will be built without public sector money, at no additional cost to the tax payer, therefore more likely to be delivered.
Gatwick is already the best connected airport in the UK by public transport with 45% of airport travellers using public transport, already far ahead of Heathrow. The Gatwick Express connects to London within 25 minutes, there will be a train to London every 2 1/2 minutes and Gatwick rail station will directly reach 175 stations with more than 1,000 stations connected with one change.
We are not alone in believing that Gatwick is the right option as recent surveys have shown that Londoners favour Gatwick expansion. We also do not buy the Heathrow Hub argument because transfers are currently only 14% of air traffic in the UK and indeed are declining. A second runway at Gatwick would actually release Hub capacity at Heathrow in any case,” added Rosemary.
Businesses clearly agree. Adrian Munn, director at Surrey based Monochrome, said: “As a local business, I can’t help but be impressed with Gatwick’s proposition and, the more I look at the plans, the more confident I feel that they can meet and exceed their environmental obligations.”
Paul Roe, of Reeves and Co, and President of Crawley and Gatwick Chamber of Commerce, says Gatwick’s current plans and the huge regeneration benefits it would bring makes it the most deliverable option. “Using private money to fund UK aviation expansion is fairer and is a more efficient method of increasing airport capacity where it is needed than relying on the public purse.”
“For a variety of reasons, a second runway at Gatwick Airport really seems to be a no-brainer”, Gary Peters, former chairman of the Brighton and Hove Economic Partnership says. “It will create 120,000 new jobs which is much needed for the Gatwick Diamond and local young people will benefit directly through a new apprenticeship fund that Gatwick will establish.”