Gatwick best meets Labour’s four key tests on airport expansion

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Gatwick best meets Labour’s four key tests on airport expansion

  • Gatwick best meets Labour’s key airport expansion tests to deliver for Britain
  • Links and economic boost come at a dramatically lower environmental impact
  • Gatwick’s plan for balanced growth passes Labour’s tests with flying colours

Gatwick Airport has today outlined how it best meets all four tests that the Labour Party put forward as a basis for assessing airport expansion plans.

Last year, the Labour ­­­Party set out four key tests that any expansion of airport capacity must meet. Of the options being considered by Government, Gatwick Airport has shown it is best placed to meet these requirements and to help connect Britain to the future.

Gatwick Airport CEO Stewart Wingate said:

“Gatwick’s plan remains the best and only deliverable solution that gets Britain building sooner so we can get the new links and economic growth the country needs faster. On every measure, Gatwick doesn’t just meet the tests Labour has set out, it actually goes much further to provide far and away the best option for expansion.

“It is accepted that expansion at Gatwick delivers crucial connectivity and balanced economic growth but our plan impacts fewer people by noise, will not result in breaches of air quality laws, and is consistent with climate change obligations.

“While Labour’s tests are met, Gatwick is also clearly ahead when the crucial questions of deliverability risk, cost, competition, and speed of delivery are addressed. The time for debate is over, it is time for the certainty, growth and competition that Gatwick expansion can actually deliver for Britain.”

Labour’s four tests are:

Increased aviation capacity will be delivered: in the past 12 months Gatwick served 42 million passengers, a number the Airports Commission forecast would not be reached until 2030. Gatwick now reaches over 50 long haul destinations, which exceeds the Commission’s forecast for 2050 (with a second runway).

Subject to a Government decision by November and normal planning cycles, Gatwick’s second runway will be operational by 2025 with planning consent granted within this Parliament. Heathrow has been approved for expansion a number of times before, but has never succeeded.

Legal climate change obligations: Gatwick and its airlines are inherently more carbon efficient as a result of its higher load factors, less premium style seating and fewer transfer passengers. An expanded Heathrow would account for 58.9% of the UK aviation’s carbon limit, based on the Committee on Climate Change’s ambition to return aviation CO2 to 2005 levels by 2050; by contrast an expanded Gatwick would account for 16.8%.

Local noise and environmental impacts: Government policy is “to limit, and where possible reduce, the number of people significantly affected by aircraft noise” and Gatwick recognises that this issue is fundamental to the debate. With a second runway, Gatwick will introduce a noise contour cap covering 15,000 people most affected by noise. Gatwick has also offered to pay £1,000 towards the council tax of those most significantly affected by noise, the most progressive compensation offer for local people of any major infrastructure project in the UK.

In contrast to the situation at Heathrow, Gatwick has also never breached air quality limit values and, working in cooperation with its neighbouring local authorities, it can be confident of delivering a second runway lawfully with no exceedances

The benefits of expansion are shared beyond London: Gatwick believes that a network of airports, competing on the basis of service, price and passenger satisfaction, as well as accessibility and convenience, will best serve the interests of passengers in the South East, and across the nations and regions of the UK as a whole.

Expansion at Gatwick would assist further growth of point-to-point travel from airports outside London. This allows greater opportunities for passengers to fly direct from their local airport and bringing to those cities the economic benefits that direct international connections provide and is why Birmingham International this week wrote a joint letter with Gatwick to the Prime Minister supporting Gatwick expansion.

Expanding Heathrow will further concentrate the UK’s economic opportunities in West London.

Gatwick expansion passes these tests with flying colours and also delivers for the UK in the following ways:

  • Keeping fares low for everyone: Gatwick’s cost is half that of Heathrow, meaning passenger charges can be capped at £15 to keep travel affordable for all
  • Minimising the burden on the taxpayer: Heathrow’s expansion needs at least £5 billion from taxpayers, Gatwick does not need a penny
  • Delivering new capacity quickly: Gatwick will be operational by 2025, years ahead of even the most optimistic forecast for Heathrow
  • Avoiding another false start: Gatwick’s plan is lower risk, lower cost and lower impact than Heathrow, meaning it is more likely to be delivered
  • Future-proofing capacity: Gatwick is best placed to capitalise on the future trends in aviation to deliver capacity for the 21st Century
  • Which airport expansion will have the least impact on public health: Gatwick has never breached air quality legal limits and all projections show it will continue to operate safely within these limits; Heathrow has no track record in this area.

On every test, Gatwick is, by far, the best option for the UK.

Source: Gatwick Media Centre

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