County Council votes to support in principle expansion of Gatwick Airport on economic grounds
Date: 19 July 2013
Press release number: PR5585
West Sussex County Council has voted to support in principle the
expansion of Gatwick Airport on economic grounds.
A notice of motion went in before the full Council meeting today
(Friday) and was approved by 42 votes to 10 with 12
The debate took place with Gatwick Airport Ltd (GAL) due to
lodge its proposals with the Government’s Airports Commission,
which are expected to include a second runway.
The motion from Pieter Montyn, the County Council’s Cabinet
Member for Highways and Transport, said:
"This Council supports a vibrant, growing economy and the
Government’s drive for growth for the future economic prosperity of
"Gatwick Airport Limited has recently given a clear indication
of its intent to publish details of proposals submitted to the
independent Airports Commission for future expansion of the
airport’s capacity, including the addition of a second runway.
"This Council, in principle, supports such proposal as conducive
to economic growth and prosperity in West Sussex, and is equally
cognisant of the environmental and infrastructure issues that may
arise from a future increase in airport capacity.
"The County Council therefore asks the Leader and Cabinet to
exercise influence and pressure in supporting such expansion at
Gatwick Airport whilst having due regard to the potential
environmental and infrastructure issues and, where possible, to
take a lead in addressing these issues and securing benefits for
the communities in the county."
County Council Leader Louise Goldsmith, who
voted for the motion, said:
“The County Council has always been crystal
clear that a decision on whether there should be a second runway at
Gatwick would be taken after balancing the economic benefits
against the needs of the environment.
“With the formal bid being made today by
Gatwick Airport Ltd (GAL) to the Airports Commission for expansion
with a second runway, the time has now come to set out the
Council’s view, and we felt it important to debate the issue.
“I do firmly believe that on balance there are
compelling economic arguments for a second runway because of the
benefits to everyone in West Sussex.
“There is a clear need for long term,
sustainable business growth in order to protect the local economy,
and create new jobs.
“Airport expansion at Gatwick would help many companies grow and
expand, as well as creating new opportunities.
“The economy is a major priority for the Council, and there is a
need to support investment in new infrastructure and business
growth, particularly at a time of growing national and
“Airport expansion will not just benefit the
immediate area around Gatwick, but everyone in the county.
“Changes in the way that councils are funded
mean that in future the essential local services residents depend
on will be linked to income generated by business rates.
“That increases the importance of having a
strong, sustainable local economy in West Sussex for the entire
“I am glad we have had this debate because
although the County Council is not the planning authority for an
application on this scale, we do want to be in the best possible
position to lobby hard and relentlessly over such things as
environmental protection, and for improved infrastructure including
road and rail connections.
“In particular we want to see measures to
encourage passengers to use public transport on journeys to and
from the airport.
“We will also press for a detailed
environmental impact assessment of any runway proposals and for the
Government and GAL to look at what can be done to minimise the
impact of any development in terms of noise and air quality.
“I do believe that the County Council’s
decision will be good for the county and the country.
“In the meantime the 1979 agreement between
the County Council and the British Airports Authority – owners of
the airport at the time – which prevents any start of construction
of a second runway at Gatwick before August 2019 remains in force.
GAL is committed to this.”
There are further details on the
Aviation pages, including an email address that people can use
to comment on the issue.
A webcast replay of today’s debate can also be viewed on the
The County Council is no longer the relevant
planning authority and would not decide any application for an
Any such application is likely to be handled
by the Government’s Major Infrastructure Planning Unit which sits
within the Planning Inspectorate.
It will administer any application before
advising the relevant Government Minister who would make a final
The Airports Commission is due to issue an
initial report by the end of 2013, which will include options for
further investigation for increasing airport capacity with a final
report in the summer of 2015.
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