‘Gatwick already has an extra runway so why build another at Heathrow?’ asks council leader

Published: Thursday 1st November 18

Wandsworth Council leader Ravi Govindia says the news that Gatwick Airport could use an existing reserve runway that’s already built and could be made operational quickly within days, highlights the “sheer folly” of building a third runway at Heathrow.

With both airports vying to provide additional capacity, and strong opposition to any further expansion at Heathrow, it has emerged that Gatwick may soon seek permission to operate a little used runway that already exists.

Gatwick has a standby runway which it uses as a back-up when its main runway is out of action. A planning condition dating back 40 years prohibits its routine use stipulating it can only be used when the main one is closed due to maintenance or emergencies.

This planning condition expires next year and there are indications that Gatwick will seek permission from the Government to begin operating it as a second runway.

Utilising the runway at Gatwick could mean fewer flights over Londoner's homes

This would hugely increase airport capacity in the south east at a tiny fraction of the cost of building another unwanted runway at Heathrow.

It is estimated that Heathrow’s expansion plans would cost around £12 billion. It would involve the demolition of approximately 1,000 homes in the surrounding area and require the M25 motorway to be diverted through a tunnel of around three miles in length.

It would mean an additional 260,000 flights over London every year along with an estimated 25 million more vehicle movements.  Heathrow already breaches air quality laws and adding this number of extra flights and vehicle journeys would create even more serious health problems for Londoners.

It would mean more noise nuisance for millions of people that live under the existing flightpaths – and expose many more people to intrusive aircraft noise for the first time.

'Why build an extra runway at Heathrow when one already exists at Gatwick?'

In contrast, utilising the second runway at Gatwick would have less of an environmental impact and retain noise levels within its existing footprint.

Cllr Govindia said: “This is the ultimate no-brainer. The Government wants an extra runway in the south east and here is one that’s already built that could be brought into full use at minimum cost. and at almost a moment’s notice.

“No-one in their right minds could possibly argue that it would be better to spend £12bn on yet another Heathrow runway that will take years to build, involve the destruction of many small communities, the loss of people‘s homes and businesses, huge increases in noise disturbance and incredibly harmful reductions in air quality.

“Heathrow is already the busiest airport in Europe and brings in more flights over built-up areas than any other European airport. There can be no justification for making it more intrusive when an affordable and easy alternative already exists at Gatwick.”

 Make and view comments on this article



(This is only present to check if you a real person)



(Required)



(Required but not displayed on site)



(Required but not displayed with your comment. Used to help prevent spam.)



(Required)

 
(You can unsubscribe at any time)

  (Required)

 

You must carefully read and then agree to the Terms and Conditions before accessing the message board and posting a comment. If you do not wish to be bound by these Terms and Conditions, you may not access or use the message board.

If you wish to complain about a comment, contact us at press@wandsworth.gov.uk.

Recent comments

Alison, given that Wandsworth voted by a large margin to stay in the EU I suggest you keep your parochial views to yourself.
Rahil

20 November 2018

We don't need a new runway at all. It's not inevitable that the numbers of flights will keep on rising. We voted to leave the EU because we don't want to keep getting so many people coming over here. Unfortunately, just about every politician is on a mission to destroy our one chance to leave the EU. We need to reduce air travel to save the environment and limit population growth in our already very overcrowded city. We don't want our scarce housing turning into ad hoc hotels. We don't want our scarce school places going to people from all over the world. Etc. Etc. So why won't our politicians listen? Why are they bound and determined to cram us in like sardines?
Alison

12 November 2018

Well said - best solution by far ! The government knew all this about Gatwick, and yet many of our wonderful politicians still took big business 'gratitudes' to push through yet another expansion of a bad idea, despite previously PROMISING Londoners otherwise.... They gamble the British electorate have a short memory for those representatives who betray us - as is often the case...
David

3 November 2018

On the surface of it, I would agree that this is a no-brainer. Is this a well kept secret by the government or have I just been keeping my eyes closed? I can't believe all the money already spent on assessments/plans. However, I would challenge the existing access to Gatwick. It would be interesting to know plans for improved access for increased use of the airport.
Ann Hudson

3 November 2018

The comments by Cr Govindia are unsubstantiated and have been made without any regard to aviation safety. Yes, Gatwick has a second runway however, given the size of current aircraft (in comparison to those of 40years ago) means that adequate horizontal separation is not possible with the distance between the two runways. Secondly, the ability to undertake necessary maintenance would not be possible and in effect the airport would need to reduce its operation during maintenance periods. While I'm for another runway at Gatwick, the current contingent runway, if used in parallel operation, would reduce capacity, not increase it.
Evan

2 November 2018

I agree 100% with the article, Heathrow traffic should be reduced not expanded, planes over west and central London are polluting the city . The noise is continuous from early morning to late night. I have double gazing windows and i live 40 miles from Heathrow but at 5 I am awaken by the sound of the firsts plane.
Enzo

2 November 2018

Whilst we are bleating on about pollution caused by cars - how much pollution do flights create going over our London homes - sometimes from 4.30 am. If there is an existing runway at Gatwick use it - connections - trains stations are better than at Heathrow. If another runway is created at Heathrow - please can the airport/airlines pay for double glazing and soundproofing over our London homes. Talking of noise & pollution - how about Battersea Heliport - and the noise created by landings - one this week (29/2 Nov) flying in to land what looked to me to be over housing in Vicarage Crescent.
Anne

2 November 2018

Whilst we are bleating on about pollution caused by cars - how much pollution do flights create going over our London homes - sometimes from 4.30 am. If there is an existing runway at Gatwick use it - connections - trains stations are better than at Heathrow. If another runway is created at Heathrow - please can the airport/airlines pay for double glazing and soundproofing over our London homes. Talking of noise & pollution - how about Battersea Heliport - and the noise created by landings - one this week (29/2 Nov) flying in to land what looked to me to be over housing in Vicarage Crescent.
Anne

2 November 2018