West Sussex County Council’s official response to a public consultation into options for additional airport capacity in the south east that include an option for a second runway at Gatwick.
The final decision will be for the new government after the general election.
The Airports Commission has been seeking views from the public and businesses about the options to increase airport capacity by building a second runway at Gatwick or expanding Heathrow.
In November it published a detailed report outlining each proposal which included analysis of the cost of each option, the effect on communities of noise, property loss and construction, and the economic benefits and environmental impacts.
WSCC’s Environmental and Community Services Select Committee members will scrutinise the council’s draft response when it meets on 14 January 2015. The meeting starts at 10.30am and will be webcast live.
A special full council meeting has also been organised for Monday 19 January so that all members of West Sussex County Council can consider and debate the authority’s response – including any recommendations made by the select committee - before the Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport takes the final decision on the response.
The Environmental and Community Services Select Committee agenda, which includes a copy of the council’s draft 94-page response, is now available online.
The Full Council agenda will be published on Thursday 8 January and is available from the same link.
Pieter Montyn, West Sussex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, said: “Since the consultation launched in November we have been encouraging people to take part in it and make their views known.
“We know there is significant opposition to expanding Gatwick but we also know that the economic benefits for the county would be huge.
“It’s important that all members of the council are given the opportunity to discuss and debate how we plan for either scenario (a new Gatwick runway or not) before we make an official response.”
Louise Goldsmith, Leader of West Sussex County Council, added: “The decision whether or not to have a second runway at Gatwick is not one that will be made by West Sussex County Council. It’s entirely out of our hands but I firmly believe that we have to start planning now for whatever decision is made.
“If there is to be a second runway at Gatwick Airport then we need to consider how best to mitigate the effects on local communities and the environment whilst considering how best to make sure the infrastructure and services that are needed for more jobs, new business opportunities, homes, as well as the increase in traffic and transport, are provided.
“If the Government opts for expansion at Heathrow Airport this would also be considerable news for the county. We would have to consider how we optimise the benefits of Gatwick Airport in its current configuration. There will still be growth but it will be very different and the impact and supporting infrastructure will need to be planned differently but no less carefully.”
The full council meeting on 19 January 2015 will be held at County Hall North in Horsham at 10.30am. Due to space limitations anyone interested in attending is being asked to contact the council and apply for a ticket in order to safely manage numbers.
Both the Environmental Services Select Committee and the Full Council meeting on 19 January 2015 will be webcast live.
Anyone wishing to attend the meeting on 19 January is asked to email email@example.com to reserve a ticket.