New owners rule out second runway for Gatwick
GATWICK'S new owners have ruled out at a second runway at the West Sussex airport for the foreseeable future, it was revealed today.
Gatwick chairman Sir David Rowlands has told local conservationists that he has "not a shred of interest" in a second runway.
In a meeting with the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC), he added that a new runway was not Government policy nor the policy of the airport.
Sir David said that, even if the Government started to look more favourably at the prospect of a second runway, Gatwick would have to "think very hard about spending £100 million to £200 million on a planning application with an uncertain decision".
GACC chairman Brendon Sewill said today: "This firm statement will kill off some silly speculation, and will remove a lot of uncertainty and anxiety."
Under a long-standing local agreement, there is an understanding that there will be no new runway at Gatwick before 2019.
But in December last year, Gatwick’s ownership passed from BAA to US-based investment fund Global Infrastructure Partners, and the GACC and other groups were concerned that the new owners would start looking at possible runway plans.
At the meeting with the GACC, Sir David said: "The simple fact is that we at Gatwick have not a shred of interest in a second runway.
"It’s not Government policy and it’s not in our policy. Even if the Government started to look more favourably at the prospect, we would have to think very hard about spending £100 to £200 million on a planning application with an uncertain decision.
"We would have to look even more carefully at the economic value of a multibillion-pound project - would there be a commercial return?"
Mr Sewill said: "GACC thanks all those who over the years have supported our campaigns against a new runway.
"The united stand by local people, by the local MPs and by all the local councils across Surrey, Sussex and Kent has helped to produce this result."
He went on: "We will remain on guard. The Government and BAA have previously ruled out new runways at Stansted and at Heathrow, only to announce them a few years later.
"We will stand ready, if need be, to launch a massive campaign to defeat any new runway plan, as we have defeated such plans in the past."