Gatwick Second Runway

UPDATE - Wednesday 6th June 2018

Yesterday I attended the Airports National Policy Statement in the House of Commons. The UK aviation sector is one of the largest in the world, contributing £22bn to the economy and servicing 285m passengers.  Gatwick has a proud role in an industry which must expand to meet demand and secure our connectivity with markets which are critical to global growth.  I am pleased that after a decade of delay we have a firm Government commitment to expansion at Heathrow.  Heathrow’s economic case (with freight included), existing infrastructure and connectivity made it the right choice, in the national interest, for expansion.  It is though also a relief that our congested train lines and roads and existing demand for housing and public services should not be further stretched by a massive expansion in local journeys and population resulting from the construction of an additional runway locally.   


UPDATE - Tuesday 25th October 2016

Good news on Airport Expansion

The Government announced this morning their preference for expansion at Heathrow. There was no suggestion in the announcement that expansion would also proceed at Gatwick. In line with the Davies Commission this was a straight forward binary choice and the preference is Heathrow.

 I am delighted by this announcement which follows a great deal of work in and out of parliament to put the right arguments across.

Heathrow expansion is the right answer. The economic case for Heathrow was overwhelming, and Heathrow's expansion is clearly the best decision in the national interest. This shows the Government is determined to ensure that the UK is "open for business".

As required by law the Government will now embark on a consultation. They have conducted this process with immense thoroughness throughout and have widespread support from right across the UK to see Heathrow's expansion successfully implemented as swiftly as possible. This was clear from the reaction in the House of Commons this afternoon and it was the support from throughout the UK that I choose to highlight when congratulating the Transport Secretary on the announcement.

Gatwick is a huge asset to our area on its current configuration but its doubling in size would have created a vast infrastructure deficit - not least on our rail services. The Heathrow decision will be a great relief to those locally who have had the threat of Gatwick's expansion looming over them for too long.


UPDATE - Tuesday 25th October 2016

Gatwick Coordination Group welcome Government’s airport decision

Members of the Gatwick Coordination Group (GCG) welcome the Government’s announcement on increasing UK airport capacity by building a new runway at Heathrow, in line with the independent Airports Commission’s recommendation.

Chairman of the GCG, Crispin Blunt MP said: “This is a decision in the national interest, approving anything other than Heathrow today would have let down the whole of the UK.

“Only Heathrow is able to develop the international aviation hub the UK requires to compete on the world stage, increase the UK’s export trade and provide long haul links for commerce and investment. The Government’s decision confirms the 3 years of deep and rigorous analysis by the Airports Commission.

“Gatwick being kept in the running leveraged a good package of mitigation measures and commitments from Heathrow, including a ban on night flights. Gatwick had already failed in making its case to the Airports Commission due to its inferior economic case, lack of resilient surface transport infrastructure and lack of any available local labour force to staff the airport.

“We are pleased that the blight on local communities around Gatwick is now being lifted as the prospect of the environmental destruction caused by increased local housing development and intolerable strains on the already over-stretched rail network, which a new runway at Gatwick would have entailed, is finally removed.”

“It is now time for the owners of Gatwick to abandon their plans for a new runway and concentrate on restoring the previously constructive relationship with local residents which has so spectacularly disintegrated during this process.

“I would also like to thank the very wide coalition brought together by the Gatwick Coordination Group and for the work they have done. Over 2½ years ago we formally brought our efforts together within the Group and today delivers a significant victory for the people we represent.”


Government Statement on Airport Capacity


The Government made a formal statement on Monday, 14th December on its reaction to the Davies Commission.


The Davies Commission was established to “take the politics out” of the decision on airport expansion.  The Commission, which was independent of Government, worked hard over several years and at a cost of £20m to produce an extremely authoritative report.  The report had an extremely strong and unanimous recommendation – which was for the expansion of Heathrow Airport.


I am therefore very disappointed that the Government has delayed a final decision to the Summer at the earliest.  I am aware that this will cause a great deal of distress to many constituents as a decision is delayed yet again and the threat of a second runway at Gatwick continues to hang over us.


Prior to the Government’s announcement the Gatwick Area Co-ordination Group of MPs (of which I am an active member) issued the following statement:


"Let's stop pretending that the Airports Commission offered ministers options - it didn’t.  The Commission made an unequivocal recommendation for Heathrow.  It said that Gatwick would deliver half the economic benefit, has insufficient transport connections especially to the north, and would fail to provide the hub airport which Britain needs. 


Keeping a sub-optimal choice of Gatwick alive just so as to delay an inevitable decision on Heathrow blights local communities, helps no-one and risks reflecting badly on us.

Five months have now elapsed since the Commission produced its report.  We can’t credibly talk about a long-term economic plan, or taking decisions in the national interest, if we then run away from the big tests.

The Government set up this Commission.  The recommendation is clear.  It’s time to get on with it”.


I fully endorse the statement and many colleagues, not just from Sussex but from around the UK made clear their frustration with this outcome in their response to the Secretary of State’s Statement yesterday.


However given that the Government has decided to delay a final decision in order to look into Air Quality it is important they do so properly. 


Heathrow’s issues with air quality relate to car emissions especially the M4 and M25.  I used my question to the Secretary of State for Transport after his statement to remind him that (i) Heathrow has far more effective and rapid public transport links than Gatwick (over 8m more people are within 2hrs of Heathrow by public transport than Gatwick).  (ii) Heathrow has 4 main rail links (it also has the additional possibility of a spur to HS2).  Gatwick has one rail link which is one of the least reliable lines in the country.  (iii) The new runway requires tens of thousands of new employees.  Heathrow has them on its doorstep, Gatwick doesn’t – they would have to travel long distances to get to their place of work.  (iv) The Government must, if it is to look seriously at Air Quality recognise that Gatwick with a second runway would be busier than Heathrow but will be vastly more dependent on cars – with all that flows from that (including pollution).


Link:  Question to Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin MP, Sectretary of State for Transport from Jeremy Quin, MP for Horsham




Speaking on behalf of the Gatwick Coordination Group of MPs (listed below), Nick Herbert said:

"Let's stop pretending that the Airports Commission offered ministers options - it didn’t.  The Commission made an unequivocal recommendation for Heathrow.  It said that Gatwick would deliver half the economic benefit, has insufficient transport connections especially to the north, and would fail to provide the hub airport which Britain needs.

“Keeping a sub-optimal choice of Gatwick alive just so as to delay an inevitable decision on Heathrow blights local communities, helps no-one and risks reflecting badly on us.

"Five months have now elapsed since the Commission produced its report.  We can’t credibly talk about a long-term economic plan, or taking decisions in the national interest, if we then run away from the big tests.

"The Government set up this Commission.  The recommendation is clear.  It’s time to get on with it”.

See also:

Gatwick Coordination Group Members:
Crispin Blunt MP (Reigate) (Chairman)
Sir Paul Beresford MP (Mole Valley)
Nusrat Ghani MP (Wealden)
The Rt Hon Nick Herbert MP (Arundel and South Downs)
Henry Smith MP (Crawley)
The Rt Hon Sir Nicholas Soames MP (Mid Sussex)
Tom Tugendhat MP (Tonbridge and Mailling)
Jeremy Quin MP (Horsham)



Update on Davies

The presentation of the Commission's recommendation this morning by Sir Howard Davies was an overwhelming endorsement of the Heathrow 3rd Runway.

What was clear coming out of that presentation was that Heathrow is vastly the best choice in the national interest.

This was made crystal clear again in the questions asked of the Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin, after he delivered a statement on the Davies Report.  I used my question to reinforce Davies' statement that the regions of the UK were overwhelmingly in favour of Heathrow.  This was echoed across the House with interventions from Scotland, Northern Ireland, the North East and Yorkshire.

Ken Clarke, a former Chancellor among many posts, and with no direct constituency interest in the debate, spoke for many in praising the diligence of the Davies Commission and urging that a decision is taken soon and taken in the national interest.




 Jeremy Quin, MP for Horsham this morning welcomed the outcome of the long-awaited Davies Report into expanding airport capacity in the South East of England.

“Sir Howard Davies and his Commission were appointed to take the politics out of the decision and make a recommendation in the national interest.  They have done so in the clearest possible terms.  Their unanimous recommendation in favour of a third runway at Heathrow is supported by three years’ work and an overwhelming weight of evidence.”

The Davies Report outlines the massive incremental economic benefits to the UK of a third runway at Heathrow compared to any other option, that Heathrow provides the best means to secure long haul routes to markets that are of critical importance to UK business and that Heathrow is the centre of a huge Air Freight network which is of increasing importance to the country.

Speaking on the Today Programme this morning Sir Howard Davies commented

“The expansion that we really need in this country….points very firmly towards Heathrow.”

Mr Quin also welcomed the fact that, as explained by the Commission, this is a different Heathrow  proposition from that ruled out six years ago.  Furthermore the package of measures with which the Commission recommends Heathrow should be forced to comply; including operating within a noise envelope and a ban on flights before 6am, makes this a different proposal to that which was previously put forward.

 “Davies has made clear that Heathrow should go ahead.  The recommendation is clear and unambiguous.  The Davies Commission is recommending a new Heathrow proposal with new restrictions being placed on how Heathrow operates in the future – it is a recommendation that those who have historically opposed Heathrow expansion can and should support.”

 In a joint statement issued by the Gatwick Coordination Group of MPs opposed to a second runway at Gatwick the Group called for the Prime Minister to swiftly implement the Commission’s recommendation. 


No New Runway at Gatwick

Jeremy fully recognises the importance of Gatwick Airport as a local employer and supports it on its current basis.  However he is totally opposed to a second runway at the Airport.

He made clear his opposition during the General Election campaign and since being returned to Parliament has joined the Gatwick Co-Ordination Group of local MPs opposed to expansion.  In common with other members of the GCG Jeremy opposes the expansion for a series of well founded reasons that make the doubling of runway capacity at the Airport unsuitable and impractical.

1.  The inability of the surface access to Gatwick to cope - it is already at breaking point causing significant knock-on impacts to our local road and rail services.
2. No explanation has been given as to where Gatwick will source the tens of thousands of extra employees it will require.  The scale of expansion is such that this cannot be met locally.  Massive additional regional housing development would be required with a consequent impact on towns, communities and the countryside.
3.  The additional aircraft noise would be impacting rural communities with currently low ambient noise meaning their existing tranquility will be blighted.
4. There is a £100billion shortfall in the economic benefit to the UK compared with the Heathrow options.  Heathrow also benefits from its status as an international "hub" and substantial and diverse infrastructure connections boosted by significant recent investment.

Jeremy believes that a decision to allow Gatwick to expand to a two runway model, in preference to an expansion of Heathrow, would be the wrong decision for the UK and that it would have a seriously detrimental effect on local communities.


MPs welcome Heathrow’s acceptance of expansion conditions

The Gatwick Coordination Group (GCG) MPs welcomed the announcement by Heathrow Airport Ltd that they accept the implementation of all the recommendations of the Airports Commission, for example, the recommended ban on night flights at Heathrow.

Jeremy Quin: Airport Expansion Update

The Government made a statement Monday reacting to the Davies Commission on Airport Expansion.  For many local residents it means an ongoing nightmare of “not knowing”:  the prospect of a second runway at Gatwick still hangs over our area.