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Gatwick leaflets ‘underhand’ - say campaigners

EXPANSION What Gatwick could look like with two runways

Airport warns west London residents of extra noise from Heathrow • Julie Rae GATWICK leaflets warning west London residents of extra noise from Heathrow are an ‘underhand’ bid to secure an extra runway, according to campaigners. The airport was due to distribute 400,000 fliers stating that 683,000 people and 362 schools would be affected if Heathrow won the battle to expand, compared to 36,000 people and 15 schools. But campaigners claim another runway at Gatwick would affect far more people than the airport suggests, and that its bosses are now turning communities against each other in their bid to win. Dominic Nevill, of East Sussex Communities for Control of Air Noise, said: “Millions of people would be affected by a second runway. “Overall the leaflets are a cheap trick. They’re underhand and a bit sneaky. It’s frightening. “They’re part of a flawed strategy and it’s not right, especially as all the communities around the airport object to the expansion. It would be a disaster

for the southeast if Gatwick were to get a second runway.” The two airports are vying to be chosen by the next government for expansion, to increase flight capacity in southeast England Richard Streatfield, of the High Weald Councils Aviation Action Group said: “I’m dismayed Gatwick have decided to try to turn one community against another in Frank their bid to get a second runway. Foster “They’ve given up trying to persuade the communities around Gatwick because every single local council except East Sussex County Council has voted against expansion and they’re now trying to persuade people around Heathrow that a second runway at Gatwick is a good idea. They’re trying to use others to get their way. “The point is that it’s dishonest to suggest that imposing excess noise levels on one group of people is better than imposing it on another.” A Gatwick spokesman said: “We issued a leaflet because we do not think communities around Heathrow have been given the facts about the huge and direct impact expansion will have on them. We have always been open with our

neighbours – we accept more people will be impacted by noise if Gatwick expands and this is why we will offer an industry leading noise insulation scheme and direct cash compensation. “The leaflet uses Airports Commission data and shows which areas would be affected by expansion at both airports. The contrast is stark and shows that 20 times fewer people would be impacted by noise if Gatwick expands.” Heathrow spokesman Marianna Panizza said: “Our plans deliver vast economic and social benefits while reducing Heathrow’s negative impacts, and have been developed by listening to other communities. As a result over 300,000 people could be taken out of the airport’s noise footprint with expansion. “In addition, we are proposing a £700 million schools and homes noise insulation scheme which goes above and beyond government policy. With the potential to create up to 70,000 new jobs, it’s clear why the majority of local people back expansion at Heathrow.”

Election hopefuls oppose expansion A SURVEY of local parliamentary candidates by Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GAAC) showed many of them opposed Gatwick’s expansion, citing reasons such as noise, the environment and infrastructure. All 11 Conservative candidates in the seats around Gatwick were against a new runway, as were all the Green and Ukip nominees. Almost all the Lib Dems opposed expansion, except the candidates for Crawley

and Horsham, while half Labour candidates were for, half against. At national level, Labour and the Conservatives say they will wait for the Airports Commission recommendations. The Green Party opposes any new runway as does Ukip, which supports greater use of Manston Airport in Thanet. Last year’s Lib Dem conference defeated a resolution supporting a Gatwick runway and the national manifesto reflects this, although this position could change should the Airports Commission produce strong enough reasons to support it.


Wednesday 29th April 2015

Times of Tunbridge Wells issue 9, April 29th 2015  
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