WE AT the countryside charity CPRE Sussex are warning that all progress made by Sussex councils declaring a climate emergency would be “wiped out” by Gatwick Airport’s new “masterplan”.

Nearly all Sussex councils have now pledged to cut carbon emissions in response to the overwhelming evidence of a growing environmental crisis.

However, at the same time Gatwick Airport is preparing a planning application to expand the airport in a move which, CPRE Sussex says, would make a mockery of local councils trying to tackle the climate issue.

Given the reality now generally accepted, that climate change is an existential threat, Gatwick Airport’s proposal to bring its standby runway “into full-time routine use” would seem to be entirely inappropriate and untenable.

If these proposals are permitted then there would be a significant increase in the movement of aircraft flying in and out of Gatwick – and in the number of passengers travelling to and from the airport.

The consequent increase in harmful emissions would wipe out all the good work being done by local councils trying to cut carbon emissions and make a mockery of their efforts.

CPRE Sussex has criticised the airport for pursuing an expansion plan “via the back door” after losing out when the Government decided to back Heathrow for expansion in 2016. The charity has also criticised Gatwick for holding its consultation “roadshows” in areas least likely to be affected by noise and pollution.

Any carbon savings made by new aircraft technology is lost when you constantly increase the number of planes you fly.

Airport expansion is in direct conflict with the growing public concern for the environment.

We must all act now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – climate change affects all our lives.

CPRE Sussex trustee Dr Roger Smith CPRE Sussex vice-chairman David Johnson