GATWICK Airport has announced a string of pledges to ease disquiet over its second runway plans.

The airport has set aside around £250million for infrastructure, noise insulation and apprenticeships.

The pledges are in addition to the £90billion economic boost and 120,000 jobs Gatwick claims a second runway would deliver.

Business groups welcomed the gesture - but campaigners dismissed them as “small bribes”.

The package includes £46.5 million for essential infrastructure, £3.75m to create 2,500 apprenticeships, £50 million in noise mitigation initiatives and £131m for homes that need to be compulsorily purchased.

Chief executive Stewart Wingate said: “We are determined to be a good neighbour and not lose sight of the concerns of those communities close to home.

“We’ve listened to local people and have created a wide range of pledges to deliver improvements in many of the areas that matter to them most, from new jobs and housing, to business support and noise mitigation.

“These pledges will help Gatwick deliver on its promises to the local community and we challenge Heathrow to match our comprehensive local commitments in their own expansion plans.”

Bosses claim a new runway will support nearly 10,000 new homes with £5,000 to be provided per house for infrastructure improvements.

Gatwick will establish an apprenticeship fund with a grant of £1,500 for each new apprentice.

Properties that need to be purchased will get compensation worth 25% more than the market value. A Home Owners Support Scheme will be used to buy the homes which are subjected to high levels of aircraft.

An Engagement Charter will set out how Gatwick will engage, support and compensate affected businesses and landowners, including a dedicated helpline, website and newsletter and a team of case managers to work directly with those affected.

Homes affected by noise will receive compensation equivalent to Band A Council Tax (currently £1,000).

A noise insulation scheme will be increased by 15km at each end of the runway, with 40% more homes protected with up to £3,000 towards double glazing and loft insulation.

A spokesman for the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC) said: “If Gatwick has suddenly found itself so flush with funds, why are they not offering proper compensation to all those that will suffer.”