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Gatwick Airport boss defends plans for second runway with promise of 19,000 jobs
An airport boss has defended plans for a massive increase in air traffic in Sussex.
Stewart Wingate, chief executive at Gatwick Airport, said the plans for a second runway will create 19,000 new jobs across the region.
He told The Argus a new runway would have substantial environmental impact but said it would be managed as carefully as possible.
Critics say the airport is glossing over the environmental and health implications.
Airport chiefs wants a second runway, south of the existing airport, as the first stage in creating a constellation of three airports - Gatwick, Heathrow and Stansted - each with two runways.
Their submission to the Davies Commission on the future of aviation in the UK put forward three options for how the runway would operate, costing between £5billion and £9billion.
Mr Wingate said none of the choices presented significant complexity or risk and all could open to passengers by 2025.
Depending on which option is chosen, the airport's capacity would increase from the current figure of 34.2 million passengers a year to between 67 million and 87 million by the 2040s.
Mr Wingate said: “The airport does not breach current air quality regulations and the new plans will not do so. It will create much less noise than Heathrow’s plans.
"This is a major project of national significance and although undoubtedly there will be an environmental impact, we will mitigate that as far as possible.”
He said: “The Green administration completely opposes the plans for a second runway at Gatwick. For job creation we would be far better off investing the billions of pounds it would cost on creating green jobs such as in renewable energy and upgrading the rail network. Endless airport expansion is not sustainable in any sense.”
Rosemary French, executive director of the Gatwick Diamond Initiative said employers will welcome the airport’s scheme.
She said: “We believe that Gatwick’s vision is the best solution for the business community. A second runway after 2019, on land which is already safeguarded at Gatwick, while maintaining Heathrow with two runways, will serve the Gatwick Diamond area very well."
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