‘Not enough information’ in Gatwick Airport masterplan Chichester councillors argue

Gatwick's expansion proposals SUS-180312-162809001
Gatwick's expansion proposals SUS-180312-162809001

‘Insufficient information and evidence is available’ on the noise impact to residents in the northern part of the Chichester district if Gatwick brings its standby runway into more active use, the district council has said.

The airport is holding a consultation on its masterplan setting out three scenarios for future growth. The first would look at how new technology could be deployed to increase the capacity of the main runway.

The second would bring the existing standby runway into routine use for departing flights alongside the main runway, while the third would see land south of the airport continuing to be safeguarded even though Gatwick says it is not actively pursuing the option of a building a brand new runway.

Chichester District Council cabinet members agreed to a consultation response put together by officers at a meeting on Tuesday (January 8).

On the second scenario to use the standby runway, the response said: “At this stage, insufficient information and evidence is available to fully inform a considered response to this option, particularly the potential noise impact on residents in the northern parishes of Chichester district, the existing infrastructure to the south of the airport and any potential additional need for housing arising in the wider area.

“Other associated impacts are also unknown e.g. the potential for a deterioration in air quality as a result of increased traffic congestion on local roads.”

An analysis but together by officers on the potential impacts to the Chichester district of the masterplan highlights how it does not go into any detail about the geographical areas affected by extra flights other than the numbers of the population exposed to various noise metrics.

Their report said: “The preferential flight routes ultimately selected are not discussed although it is likely to affect a much wider area, including parts of Chichester district.

“Significant increases in flight numbers may present a different pattern of noise by spreading noise more evenly with less respite between overflights. The introduction of an additional runway at Gatwick may impose new noise on areas of existing tranquillity.

“The council would, for the reasons stated above, have some concerns about the future expansion proposals, particularly with the final proposal that may include an additional new runway to the south, which it is felt will impact on the amenity of Chichester district by increasing disturbance and emissions particularly across rural areas.”

When asked about the amount of detail in the masterplan, an airport spokesman said: “We are following best practice and consulting people early on our intentions. While this means that not all the detailed work has yet been worked up, more detailed plans, and a public consultation, are likely to follow if we pursue our plans to use our standby runway.”

Council leader Tony Dignum said: “We are very early days with this one. I’m sure we will be consulted again in the future.”