Get involved: Send your news, views, pictures and video by texting SUPIC to 80360 or email us.
Gatwick runway views "gung-ho"
2:00pm Sunday 22nd September 2013 in News
Coast-dwelling politicians are happy to support a second runway at Gatwick – because the extra noise won’t affect them.
But it was difficult to be gung-ho about expansion living a stone’s throw from the airport, a councillorhas argued.
Councillor Michael Jones, Labour member for Southgate and Crawley Central, said there is a “mismatch” in him being the only Crawley councillor in a select committee making important recommendations about expansion.
He was speaking ahead of an environmental and community services select committee, which will debate county council support of expansion.
Coun Jones said: “If you look at that committee there’s a mismatch with members geographically scattered all over the county and an awful lot representing coastal divisions rather than ones actually near the airport.
"One of the things that’s been striking is all those councillors from far off places, who are more than prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice for the benefit of the county.
"Those of us with constituencies near Gatwick don’t quite feel so gung-ho about it.”
West Sussex County Council supports a second runway “in principle” for the economic benefits.
Wednesday’s select committee will consider the council’s draft submission to the Airports Commission, which make recommendations to the Government in 2015.
The council is calling for Gatwick to focus on the needs of local communities – not just its passengers.
This should include efforts to mitigate noise with twice as many people expected to be affected.
Long-term blight relief schemes should be outlined and affected churches, nurseries and temples should be compensated and relocated elsewhere.
A 40-year agreement was signed with the airport, county council and Government that no second runway would be built before 2019.
Council leader Louise Goldsmith said: “I under- stand and respect that for people living in the affected area there are serious concerns about the environment, air quality and noise, as well as improving infrastructure and public transport.
“The county council’s position is that we need to be pressing hard on these issues whilst supporting our economy, as there would be a serious impact on the West Sussex economy and jobs if airport expansion is allo- cated elsewhere.”
Chief executive Stewart Wingate said: “Even with a second runway Gatwick would impact less than 5% of the people impacted by Heathrow today.”
Comments are closed on this article.