Gatwick Obviously

e-newsletter No.79

Our Mission Statement

Full dispersal • • • Maximum altitude • • • Continuous Descent


Some of you have been asking why there are far fewer newsletters at the moment and are we still highly active?

The simple answer is this: we have evolved from outright campaigners to negotiators and now a huge amount of our time is spent around the table with those who control our skies.

This doesn't mean we can't flip back in an instant but as I have stated repeatedly since our inception in the Spring of 2014; everything we did and do has just one overarching purpose - to improve the airspace for us all.
We don't campaign for campaigning sake.

We are inching forward on Fair and Equitable Dispersal.
We are working with the industry to fundamentally improve Continuous Descent Approaches.
And we never stop asking about altitude, and the bizarre variations we see every day, indeed every hour.
Around 80% of easyJet's whining aircraft are fixed, and all will be by the end of 2017.

But if we need to do something like this again, we'll let you know:


The 2nd Runway

Gatwick's aspiration for a second runway has not disappeared and you can be sure they are pulling every lever they have to try and win it back from the government.

We know some of the London councils are encouraging their residents to write in arguing that Gatwick is a better option than Heathrow, and it will help if there's a good number of responses putting counter arguments.

There are 3,300 of you on the database. Normally when we appeal we can expect around 10% of you to respond. For the night flight consultation this reached around 650.

Now we need as many of you as possible to send a 1-line message to the government to let them know why Gatwick really shouldn't have that second runway. Here's the address

You definitely do not have to do a long email; literally a single reason will do it.

The critical thing is for us to generate as much sensible opposition as possible.

Deadline is two weeks away - 25th May

You do not need to copy us in.

With GACC's express permission, I copy in below their 16 reasons why it should be opposed. The "Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign" is the senior campaign group around Gatwick that was established in 1968. I am very grateful to their Chairman, Brendon Sewill, for allowing us to use their words.


Martin Barraud
Gatwick Obviously Not

16 reasons for opposing a new runway at Gatwick

  1. Rejected by the Airports Commission and the Government

    After three years intensive research, at a cost of £20 million, the Airports Commission reached the clear and unanimous decision that Gatwick would be a poor second best.(1) After further detailed study that conclusion has been confirmed by the Government.

  2. 'Bucket and Spade'

    Gatwick has always been mainly a leisure airport, catering for short-haul traffic to Europe. According to theGovernment: "…expansion at Gatwick Airport would not enhance, and would consequently threaten, the UK's global aviation hub status."(2)

  3. Worsening the North - South divide.

    It has been estimated that a second runway at Gatwick at full capacity would create around 60,000 new jobs.(3) Since there is low unemployment in the Gatwick area, these would all need to come from abroad or from other parts of the UK, worsening the regional imbalance.

  4. Wrong place

    Making Gatwick bigger than Heathrow would mean that many passengers would need to travel from north of London, making congestion on the M25 even worse. Expanding Gatwick would inhibit the growth of regional airports. The South East has one third of the population of the UK but two thirds of the flights.

  5. Severe environmental damage

    The town of Crawley with 110,000 residents would suffer severe noise and pollution. The proposed new airport boundary would be only 100 yards from residential areas. The character of parts of Surrey, Sussex and Kent would be altered for ever as a result of urbanisation, noise, pollution and traffic congestion.

  6. Urbanisation

    About 40,000 new houses would be needed, also many new commercial premises, causing urbanisation and loss of countryside.(4)

  7. Twice as many aircraft in the sky

    A second runway is designed to double the number of aircraft in the sky.

    New routes over previously peaceful areas or doubling the number of aircraft on existing routes would cause great disturbance, distress and anger.

  8. Worse air quality

    The Airports Commission found that a second Gatwick runway would mean that over 50,000 people would suffer worse air quality; more schools and hospitals would suffer pollution than with a new north-west runway at Heathrow; and more households would be placed at risk of health-damaging air quality.(5)

    An Air Quality Management Area (where there is a risk that pollution may exceed legal limits) has already been designated in Crawley within 1 mile of the proposed new airport boundary.

  9. Road traffic delays

    It has been estimated that a second runway at full capacity would mean around 100,000 more vehicles a day in the Gatwick area, causing serious road congestion and delays.(6)

    Gatwick's aim to achieve a tenfold increase in freight would mean more commercial vehicles, increasing pollution and congestion.(7)

  10. Rail chaos

    A second runway would mean around 90,000 extra people a day using rail services in the Gatwick area.(8) Most of the improvements planned at present for the Brighton-London line are necessary to deal with natural growth, so the result would be standing room only on some services.

  11. Risk of disruption

    With Gatwick served by only one rail line and only one motorway (the M23) any serious incident could bring the airport to a standstill.

  12. Heritage at risk

    Seventeen listed buildings would be demolished - more than at any time since the WW II blitz.(9) Five of these buildings are listed grade 2* - of special importance. HS2 would only mean demolishing six listed buildings, of which only one would be grade 2*.

    14 hectares of ancient woodland would be destroyed.(10)

  13. Climate change damage

    Twice the number of flights would mean twice the climate change damage; or worse if there are more long-haul flights. It would be difficult to reconcile a new runway at Gatwick (or at Heathrow) with the agreement signed by 175 nations in Paris 2015 to limit global warming to 20°, and to aim for 1.5°.

  14. Tax subsidy for airlines

    Aviation is subsidised by paying no fuel tax and no VAT. Air passenger duty only represents a quarter of the value of these tax concessions. Gradually increasing tax on air travel would slow the rate of growth and, with full use of existing runways, render any new runway unnecessary.

  15. Larger aircraft

    London has five main runways (2 at Heathrow, plus Gatwick, Stansted and Luton). If the average number of passengers per aircraft increases by 20% that would be equal to one new runway.(11)

  16. Strong opposition

    A second Gatwick runway is opposed by:

    • easyJet and British Airways
    • West Sussex County Council
    • Kent County Council
    • Crawley Borough Council
    • Horsham District Council
    • Mid Sussex District Council
    • Mole Valley District Council
    • Tandridge District Council
    • Tunbridge Wells Borough Council
    • Wealden District Council
    • 50 Town and Parish Councils
    • CPRE
    • The Woodland Trust
    • Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace
    • RSPB and WWF UK
    • Campaign for Better Transport
    • The Aviation Environment Federation
    • All ten local Members of Parliament.

April 2017

Sources for the above:

  1. Airports Commission Final Report.
  2. Airports National Policy Statement, paragraph 3.18.
  3. 20,000 on-airport; 3,000 indirect; 25,000 catalytic (expansion of existing local firms and new firms attracted to the area by an airport larger than Heathrow); 15,000 induced (jobs created when employees spend their pay locally). See GACC Response on
  4. Study by consultants commissioned by West Sussex County Council. Lower figures were estimated by the Airports Commission but that was because they excluded catalytic employment.
  5. Airports Commission air quality assessment. 8 May 2015.
  6. GACC Response to Airports Commission Consultation. February 2015. . This figure is larger than that used by the Commission because it relates to Gatwick at full capacity not at 2030, and because it includes traffic generated by catalytic employment.
  7. GAL. Connecting Britain to the Future. July 2014. Page 18.
  8. GACC Response to Airports Commission Consultation. February 2015. See note 9.
  9. Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings.
  10. See Research Study: Heritage and Countryside.
  11. During the past ten years, 2006-2016, the average number of passengers per aircraft increased by 18% in the UK. Heathrow from 141 to 160 (13%), Gatwick 133 to 156 (17%). CAA airport statistics.–1990-onwards/

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May 12th 2016

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