'It's only right' - Planning Inspectorate's decision to include Climate Change specific hearing during Northern Runway examination welcomed

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The Planning Inspectorate's decision to include a climate change specific hearing during London Gatwick’s Northern Runway application examination has been welcomed by a local campaign group and the airport.

The six-month examination process started two weeks ago at the Sandman Hotel in Crawley. Gatwick’s planning application proposes repositioning the centre line of the Northern Runway 12 metres north to allow dual runway operations, aligning with international safety standards.

Airport chiefs at the country’s second busiest airport want to modify its northern runway so that it can increase passenger numbers to about 75 million a year on 386,000 flights. It says this will help minimise delays, bring in about £1billion into the region’s economy every year, and create 14,000 jobs – all while staying within agreed noise levels.

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It also has a carbon action plan for how the airport will be net zero for its own emissions by 2030.

London Gatwick chiefs have put in an application to bring the Northern Runway into more routine use | Picture: Jeffrey MilsteinLondon Gatwick chiefs have put in an application to bring the Northern Runway into more routine use | Picture: Jeffrey Milstein
London Gatwick chiefs have put in an application to bring the Northern Runway into more routine use | Picture: Jeffrey Milstein

But they have faced opposition from local campaign groups including CAGNE (Communities Against Gatwick Noise Emissions), who have put Climate Change at the forefront of their protestations.

And now the Planning Inspectorate plan to hold specific hearing on the issue. Sally Pavey, chair of CAGNE, said: “The CAGNE committee are delighted that the government’s Planning Inspectorate has accepted the strength of feeling displayed at the open hearing (February 28) that a specific hearing to tackle the impact on the planet of a new runway must be included in this planning process.

“On top of the growth Gatwick currently seeks from the main runway (not counted), it is paramount that environmental damage is not be permitted to be ignored.”

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London Gatwick believes it is only right the Planning Inspectorate focus on the issue and believe they have accounted for the environmental impact the plans have. A London Gatwick spokesperson said: “The Planning Inspectorate recognised climate change and greenhouse gas emissions as one of the principal issues for the examination and it is only right they have decided to hold an issue specific hearing on the matter.

“London Gatwick has thoroughly assessed the environmental impacts of its growth proposals and are confident they will withstand independent scrutiny as part of the examination process.

“The government has clear policies on climate change and other environmental topics and London Gatwick has a proven track record of meeting targets and reducing its environmental impacts.

“London Gatwick is delighted with the strong support shown by many local people and businesses during the recent hearings, who all voiced their desire to see the airport grow for the economic benefit of the area.

“We thank them for their ongoing support.”

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The CAGNE spokesperson added: “Gatwick cannot be allowed to ignore the planes that land and depart – the 101,000 extra flights they seek with a new runway; they must be held accountable and CAGNE are delighted by the Planning Inspectorate’s move to add this hearing, plus an additional hearing on other environmental impacts (May 1) as well as offer the public another opportunity to voice an opinion on 2nd May.”

“It is not just about carbon, but also the greenhouse gases not accounted for; the decline in air quality due the ultra-fine particles released by aircraft, that cause serious health impacts; the flooding implications; the lack of sewage management; the list goes on with the ramifications of this new runway plan.”

Those wishing to attend must register beforehand to do so – https://forms.office.com/e/Xrj55tdAqK

Those that have not spoken at an open hearing can register here to do so. Venue - Sandman Signature Hotel, Three Bridges, RH10 8XH – limited free parking – and lack of refreshments onsite!

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