38,000 businesses are based inside a 20 mile radius of the Gatwick airport and contribute £19 billion in economic activity. The area has an “economically active” population of 406,000.
Proposed expansion plans at Gatwick Airport state they estimate 19,000 jobs would be created as a result of a second runway being built.
Additionally, the Gatwick Diamond Initiative’s research suggests the impact of expansion could mean up to 40,000 jobs may be created by 2030.
Thousands of businesses located around the Gatwick Diamond have given their thumbs up to the Airport’s plans.
Rosemary French who is executive director of the Gatwick Diamond Initiative (GDI) business forum, has sent a letter to the chairman of the Airports Commission, Sir Howard Davies, on behalf of 100 individual businesses and 12 business membership organisations, representing in total 5,500 businesses and neighbouring areas, giving the organisation’s support to the Gatwick Airport submission.
The proposal puts forward the argument that the South East can be best served in the future by Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports having two runways.
“Expansion at Gatwick with a second runway, alongside the maintenance of Heathrow as a two-runway airport, is the best next step in aviation provision for London and the South-east, because it is the most cost-effective of all the options, does not use public money, and the environmental implications are smaller.” Said Rosemary French. “It will also result in considerable job creation, the airport is already the best connected to London, the South-east and the rest of the UK by rail and road, and the second runway can be built quickly.”
Rosemary French commented (regarding the environmental impact of proposals to expand Heathrow) “We believe that the environmental blight that a third runway at Heathrow will bring to London communities is wholly unnecessary when a second runway could be built at Gatwick with far less environmental, noise and air pollution impact. Gatwick already handles 9,233 passengers for every person affected by noise, compared to 261 passengers handled by Heathrow, according to the Airports Commission’s own report. That means that Heathrow is already 35.3 times noisier than Gatwick.”
“The over-all number of people affected by noise with a second runway at Gatwick will still be equivalent to only 5% of the people that Heathrow impacts today, never mind how many will be affected in the future if Heathrow is expanded.”
Ms French also said: “Gatwick has a main railway line running through it that connects directly to London Bridge, St Pancras International and Victoria, as well as south to Brighton and the coast. In total, 120 railway stations can be directly reached from the airport, compared to six from Heathrow and 35 from Stansted, and once Thameslink is completed, Gatwick will offer one-change services, via Peterborough, to the North.”
She concluded: “An expanded Gatwick Airport would be a catalyst to bring further improvements to the area with faster, more efficient public transport and surface access infrastructure, enabling employees to be attracted from neighbouring communities in London, Kent, West Surrey and East Sussex.”
Editor’s comment: There is a fine balance here between growing our economy and job creation but also the environmental impact on the Surrey and Sussex countryside and also possible impact on those already living in the area if / when a further 40,000 families move into the area. We are sure all these factors will be hotly debated over the coming months and years.