A countryside charity has launched a petition against Gatwick Airport's plans for a second runway.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), is calling on Transport Secretary Mark Harper to block the plans to regularly use the northern runway, citing the growing climate crisis.

Charity representatives described the plans as a “travesty of democracy” and vowed to fight the project which was submitted for approval yesterday.

Gatwick Airport bosses said they welcomed their plans being scrutinised, adding that they have included steps to mitigate any environmental effects.

Paul Steedman, director of CPRE in Sussex, said: “Gatwick’s plans are totally incompatible with the single biggest threat to our countryside – the growing climate crisis.

“Just last week, the government’s own Climate Change Committee said there should be no net airport expansion in the UK.

“The way the application process has been conducted has been a travesty of democracy. Gatwick wants to rush its plans through a Development Consent Order (DCO) Planning Inquiry with the final decision made by a government minister, not local representatives.

“We call on the Secretary of State to refuse this application and make a stand for the health of the Sussex countryside and its residents.”

Plans for the second runway were submitted yesterday and, if approved, could begin construction in 2025.


Campaign groups fear for the environmental effect of the project including noise pollution and negative effects on infrastructure.

Speaking to The Argus at the launch of the DCO, Gatwick chief executive Stewart Wingate said: “What we repeatedly hear from the campaign groups is that the plans should be scrutinised and that is the whole point of the planning inspectorate.

“What we have to do is put forward our plans comprehensively and lay out the economic benefits but we also have to lay out what the environmental impacts are and, more importantly, what mitigations we are putting in place.

“All of that will be scrutinised before they make their recommendation to the secretary of state.”

Mitigations proposed by the airport include investing £250 million towards net zero emissions by 2030, with the expectation that new aviation technologies will make planes cleaner and quieter in the future.