Gatwick warns of ‘Groundhog Day’ if Heathrow gets runway nod

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Gatwick Airport says the choice before the UK Government on airport expansion is stark – “it’s either growth and certainty with Gatwick or Groundhog Day at Heathrow”.

The government is reportedly set to make a decision tomorrow on whether Gatwick gets a second runway or Heathrow Airport a third runway. Heathrow is rumoured to be set to get the go ahead, but another 12-month consultation is set to take place over their bid.

Gatwick says in recent memory Heathrow expansion has been given the green light twice by the Government and twice it has failed.

The gateway says it first happened in December 2003 when expansion plans for a third runway were thrown out, as challenges over noise and air pollution were identified and this subsequently led to delay and division.

Similarly, in January 2009, the government had approved a third runway at Heathrow and asserted that air quality around the airport, even with expansion, would be within legal limits by 2015, and this bid also failed.

Gatwick says the barriers and obstacles – especially noise and air quality – to Heathrow expansion have only become “harder to surmount” as Heathrow’s present scheme is bigger, more complex and more “impactful” than any that have come before.

The Sussex airport says its expansion will result in the same number of additional passengers, the same number of long haul routes, better UK and regional connections, and the economic boost the UK needs, all at a dramatically lower environmental impact, at less than half the cost of Heathrow, and with no public subsidy.

Gatwick chief executive, Stewart Wingate says: “Airport expansion has been in a holding pattern for decades. We are finally getting to the point of decision again. The choice is crystal clear – growth at Gatwick or Groundhog Day at Heathrow.

“There is one reason why Heathrow has repeatedly tried and failed to expand – its location. Many things have changed in this debate but Heathrow is still based at Heathrow.

“Einstein said the definition of insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting a different result. Now is the time for Britain to abandon the failed orthodoxy of the past and choose certainty. We can’t afford another false start.

“Gatwick offers an end to this debate by providing a deliverable solution for balanced economic growth across the UK. With all the economic benefits at a fraction of the impacts, it is the obvious solution.”