Opponents have expressed concern over Gatwick Airport’s plans to bring its emergency runway into routine use.
The airport in West Sussex hopes to double its capacity to 78 million passengers by making use of its existing northern runway.
Campaigners said the expansion would aid Gatwick’s growth but there would be “very few” benefits for local communities or the environment.
The airport said the development would “boost” the region’s economy by £1bn and generate 14,000 new jobs.
Opponents of the plans said airports cannot be expanded at the same time as trying to hit net zero carbon emission targets.
Surrey county councillor Jonathan Essex said the extension “will mean 100,000 extra flights and a million tonnes of extra carbon”.
“If you accept you need to deal with climate change and we need to do it now, you need to stop expanding airports,” he said.
Sally Pavey, chairperson of the Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions group, said it is crowdfunding for a legal battle as she does not believe planners will reject the application.
She said: “Gatwick is saying it will bring jobs and economic benefits but aviation and low-cost airlines are going towards automation. The jobs are decreasing.
“This benefits Gatwick, there are very few for the local communities.
“It really slaps in the face of what we are all trying to do which is to cut our carbon footprints.”
According to Gatwick’s website, operating as a two-runway airport would “unlock new capacity and allow for a more efficient and resilient operation”.
“If approved, the £2.2bn privately-financed plan would be one of the largest capital investment projects in the region for decades,” it said.
Chief executive Stewart Wingate added: “The northern runway plan will help secure the long-term future of the airport and economic prosperity for thousands of families, businesses, and future generations across the region.
“We are confident that our plans are both economically and environmentally robust.”
#Opponents #express #concern #runway