I am a supporter of an additional runway at Gatwick Airport, rather than Heathrow, due to the positive affects it would have for our region. I have been campaigning for this since I was a Borough Councillor on Eastbourne Borough Council, and much to the frustration of many, including some on my own side in Parliament, I am still firmly of the belief that Gatwick is by far the best solution.
On noise, air quality, deliverability, cost and time – it all points to Gatwick as the better solution. For a tourist town like Eastbourne, with ambitions for a new conference centre, transport links are vital, and it would expand the local economy and bring thousands of jobs to the area.
I recently delivered a letter directly into the hands of the Prime Minister, copied to the Chancellor and Transport Secretary arguing for the decision for Gatwick. The letter was from ACES, the Association of Chambers of Commerce in East Sussex, who represent some 4000 businesses in the area. Business in the area wants it; it will deliver enormous benefits in terms of jobs for our area, as well as procurement of products and services during the construction stage and on an ongoing basis.
I was initially disappointed when the decision was made to delay the announcement just before Christmas of where a new runway would be situated – but on reflection the delay serves to highlight Gatwick’s strongest claim for expansion – it’s deliverable.
The delay is to allow time for further environmental impact assessments to be carried out before a final decision is made, and in the light of the Prime Minister stepping down that decision has been put further back to the Autumn, which begs the question ‘where do the candidates for PM stand on this issue’?
I am told that Theresa May and Michael Gove are anti Heathrow, and Andrea Leadsom is open to expanding both! I am supporting Theresa May.
Much has been made of the Davies Commission’s recommendation last year in favour of Heathrow but very little said about the whole host of recommendations attached to whether Heathrow will accept them. That may well mean the Heathrow proposal can’t go ahead. The Heathrow scheme has been stalling for years, and is unlikely to ever get off the ground, and if there were to be even more scrutiny over environmental concerns, it will be harder still to achieve the standards required.
So the delay is a frustration, and it will be fascinating to see the outcome. I am still fighting for Gatwick! I’d be interested in any thoughts you have, and you can as always contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Gatwick campaign website ‘Gatwick Obviously’ can be seen here.
7th July 2016