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Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council say justification for second runway at Gatwick Airport is 'inadequate'


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A council has expressed its frustration at Gatwick Airport in a consultation over the possibility of a second runway.

The airport only uses one runway full-time and is currently holding a consultation into turning its northern runway into a regular service. Currently it is only used for emergency landings.

A consultation has opened into the expansion of Gatwick Airport
A consultation has opened into the expansion of Gatwick Airport

Plans would also include extending terminal buildings, roads around the airport, hotels and over 18,000 car parking spaces.

If approved, Gatwick estimates that 13 million more passengers would fly through their gates annually by 2038.

Replying to the consultation, Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council said that it would bring "limited material benefit" to residents.

Tonbridge only sits around 30 miles away from Gatwick and is therefore under the flight path of planes using Britain's second biggest airport.

The 12 week consultation finishes on Wednesday, December 1.

"At present the proposals are of limited material benefit to Tonbridge and Malling residents and businesses ... "

In a response to the consultation the council said: “We have reviewed the detail of the proposals and consider that the justification for them is inadequate.

“Especially given that the government has made it clear that the focus of airport expansion in the South East should be at Heathrow following the publication of the Davies review in 2015.

“The nature of business travel is likely to change in the future as a consequence of the pandemic, with greater use of virtual communications reducing the need for some to travel.

“This combined with a growing concern regarding the need to reduce carbon emissions, could result in demand for air travel in the future.

“At present the proposals are of limited material benefit to Tonbridge and Malling residents and businesses and are likely to worsen the impacts of aircraft overflight.”

MP Tom Tugendhat. Picture: Parliament TV
MP Tom Tugendhat. Picture: Parliament TV

In August, MP for Tonbridge and Malling Tom Tugendhat said he believed expansion at Gatwick hadn’t been effectively scrutinised.

He said two things had been made clear to him: "First, that government policy requires any significant growth at an airport to be robustly scrutinised so that both its benefits and its adverse impact can be assessed, and an informed decision made. That is, clearly, right and I welcome it.

"Secondly, that there has been no such scrutiny in relation to Gatwick's proposed main runway growth, of some 16 million passengers per annum.

“This is an important issue in Tonbridge, Edenbridge and Malling and, I understand, for many other communities near the airport and under flight paths.”

Today online protests were also held against the expansion of 10 UK airports, including Gatwick.

An online protest was held against the expansion of Gatwick Airport. Picture: CAGNE
An online protest was held against the expansion of Gatwick Airport. Picture: CAGNE

It was organised by the Stay Grounded Network and Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions (CAGNE), as part of the Global Day of Action for Climate Justice.

Mira Kapfinger from Stay Grounded outlined: "Maybe, one day, we’ll be able to fly in large, long-haul, zero-emission aircraft but we know that’s not an option in the foreseeable future.

"In a climate emergency the only thing we can do right now to cut emissions from flying is to fly less.

"The recent UN climate code red IPCC report made clear that emissions need to be cut in half by 2030 to avert dangerous climate tipping points.

"We all need to focus right now on reducing flights to a minimum and this means finally taxing aviation fuel; taxing tickets; and shifting short-and medium-haul flights to rail."

CAGNE will now speak at the Friends of the Earth event in Tunbridge Wells as it says a second runway would add one million tonnes of extra carbon a year, plus greenhouse gases and particles, to the growth from the main runway.

Read more: All the latest news from Malling

Read more: All the latest news from Tonbridge

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