Update: 19th June 2018
I recently wrote to a constituent to explain why I believe expansion at Heathrow is the right option for our country. Please find below an excerpt of my letter.
We need to expand capacity at Heathrow to meet our commercial needs and in particular support our economic and productivity growth.
Prior to being elected to Parliament, I regularly had to fly abroad on business and am familiar with the current options available from first-hand experience. I have also examined the independent Davis report which laid out clear recommendations. The Davies Commission in coming to its conclusion, studied this matter in depth with subsequent analysis. As I am sure you are aware, it found the building of a third runway at Heathrow to be the best option for the country. I have enclosed a copy of Sir Howard’s recent letter to MPs in light of the National Policy Statement for Airports and a statement from Airlines UK which I hope is of interest.
The same conclusion has been reached by successive Governments over a protracted period of time. The economic and connectivity case for Heathrow is in my view, overwhelming.
We have not had to engage on the mitigation that we would have to enter in to had Gatwick been chosen but this would have been extensive. Unlike Heathrow which benefits from a tube line, Heathrow Express, Great Western Rail and easy road connectivity. Additionally Crossrail linking Heathrow direct with central and East London should be fully open by the end of 2019. An interchange at Old Oak Common with HS2 will connect Heathrow to the Midlands and North and proposed linkages to the Chiltern Line and the Southern Network will further bolster connectivity.
Gatwick on the other hand has one railway line (which travels through the deepest cutting in Europe).
The Gatwick Express and Southern Rail service forms part of the most congested rail service in Europe, anyone who regularly uses these services know their limitations. Our roads as you point out are already congested before doubling the number of passengers using Gatwick which would put it on a par with numbers currently using Heathrow. The simple fact is that Gatwick is on the ‘wrong’ side of London for many wishing to access an international hub – which would increase congestion not only locally but through the capital. Clearly I wish to see full employment locally but we are in a happy position of already having very low unemployment indeed compared to national statistics and West London. One of the biggest concerns I hear about from local businesses is their difficulty in recruiting locally.
Were Gatwick to be chosen tens of thousands of workers would have to commute daily from extended distances to the airport or (and potentially both) tens of thousands of new homes would need to be built locally. Given the existing pressures on our public services and infrastructure to which you refer, you will appreciate the scale of challenge that this would represent. Although I clearly would have battled for all the improvements we would have required in our area to cope with expansion at Gatwick, I strongly believe on the basis of evidence as did the independent commission, and both this Government and its Labour predecessor that expanding Heathrow is the best option in the national interest.
Update: 28th February 2018
Meeting Sally Pavey of CAGNE with colleagues Nicholas Soames and Crispin Blunt to discuss a range of issues relating to Gatwick. As I said yesterday in the Transport Estimates debate the decision to expand Heathrow (on the back of the work of a thorough independent commission) is the right one in the National interest and we need to get on with it - however there are as always plenty of other Gatwick issues which cause concern to constituents, notwithstanding the valuable contribution it makes to our local economy.
The Gatwick Independent Arrivals Review published its recommendations on 31st March. Gatwick's response and proposed Action Plan can be viewed at – http://www.gatwickairport.com/business-community/aircraft-noise/airspac… All residents wishing to respond should provide feedback to ArrivalsReview@gatwickairport.com so that your views can be considered in the full analysis of responses. The deadline for submitting feedback is 16th May 2016.
"Following the well-attended public meeting held in Warnham at which Horsham MP Jeremy Quin arranged for local residents to make their views on aircraft noise known direct to the independent commission appointed by Gatwick he followed-up this week in Parliament. Working with MPs from across Sussex Jeremy met once again with the independent commission but on this occasion they were joined by Gatwick Chairman Sir Roy McNulty.
Jeremy made clear to Sir Roy that history was not on Gatwick's side when it comes to convincing local communities that Gatwick is a "good neighbour" and that any exercise like this is greeted with understandable cynicism. Sir Roy was very open that he was fully aware of that concern and that Gatwick will judged not on setting up the Commission but on its delivery of the Commissions Report (due in January). The Report is expected to detail means to deliver quieter Arrivals and better local communication and complaints procedures. Most of the techniques for combatting excessive noise have been around for years - its a question of proper application.
Although the meeting in Parliament (like the Commission) was established to discuss Arrivals Jeremy also raised Departures which is of great if not greater concern to local residents. He was delighted to receive confirmation from Sir Roy that Gatwick will be undertaking a review into Departures in the coming year.
Jeremy Quin commented
"The Independent Commission on Arrivals will I believe produce a solid report - the proof of Gatwick's sincerity will come in its implementation. Gatwick have now also committed to tackle in the coming year the issue of Departures - a project that cannot come too soon."
On the evening of Friday 27th November2015 Jeremy Quin MP for Horsham hosted a very well attended public meeting in Warnham for local residents to express their concerns and experiences to the Independent Commission for Airport Noise during the consultation ahead of their report on noise generated by arrivals to Gatwick Airport which is sue for publication in late January.
The meeting was attended by over 150 local residents from the Horsham constituency. Attendees were given a thirty minute presentation by Bo Redborn and Graham Lake who explained that following pressure from local MP’s, including Jeremy Quin along with pressure from the Government following an increase in noise complaints from local residents Gatwick Airport have commissioned the review.
Following the presentation Jeremy Quin chaired a question and answer session, where local residents had the opportunity to question the commission and offer their personal experiences relating to the disturbances they experience as a result of aircraft at Gatwick Airport. Questions ranged from the frequency of flight, possible changes in flight paths to reduce noise to why the commission are only reporting on arrivals and not departures.
Bo & Graham answered all questions residents posed and explained that they would ensure that Gatwick Airport were left under no illusion as to the feeling of the local community. As a member of the Gatwick Co-Ordination group, Jeremy Quin has been vocal in his opposition to a second runway at Gatwick whilst championing all commercial benefits Horsham already has to offer.
Jeremy said ‘I am thrilled to have seen so many residents at my public meeting last Friday. To have had such a good turnout has shown the commission the strength of feeling in our communities when considering the noise generated from Gatwick. I thank Bo and Graham for attending the meeting and look forward to receiving their proposals in January’.
Please see the attached documents for a copy of the powerpoint presentation made on the night by the Independent Commission for Airport Noise.