A major consultation exercise on the future of air transport has been launched today - and those living in west Kent could be particularly affected.
The Airports Commission has today published its assessment of proposals for additional runway capacity at Gatwick and Heathrow airports.
But it has failed to come down on either side, refusing to suggest a preferred option.
On the drawing board are two proposals for expansion at Heathrow Airport, and one at Gatwick - which will itself cost an estimated £9.3 billion, £2 billion more than predicted.
Consultation documents state the scheme has been designed in such a way that supporting infrastructure can be constructed in phases in line with increases in passenger demand - meaning the cost would be spread over a longer period.
Up for consultation is the commission's analysis of the cost of each proposal, the effect on communities of noise, property loss and construction, and the economic benefits and environmental impacts.
It is this Gatwick proposal that concerns those living in west Kent, with some fearing the option would mean new flight paths over the area.
The consultation highlights that there are areas around the airport that are rural and 'have high levels of tranquility that would be adversely impacted by new development.'
It also says the numbers of people affected by noise impacts is seen to grow in the period to 2050, with some statistics indicating a double or trebling of affected populations.
Sir Howard Davies, leading the commission, said: “Since our Interim Report last year we have undertaken a huge amount of work.
"We have carried out a thorough assessment, across a comprehensive range of subjects, looking at the benefits and impacts of each proposal.
"We have not yet taken a view on which proposal strikes the most effective balance between the assessment criteria.
"It is important first that we provide an opportunity for this evidence to be examined, challenged and improved.
"This consultation gives everyone with an interest in the issue of airport expansion that opportunity."
"The Commission will have to consider a range of factors in making their final decision.Their report today indicates why expansion at Gatwick best answers all the questions. It can give the country two world class airports" - Stewart Wingate, Gatwick CEO
Stewart Wingate, Gatwick CEO, said:“The Airport Commission’s consultation published today underlines why momentum is gathering behind Gatwick’s case for airport expansion in the South East.
"The Commission will have to consider a range of factors in making their final decision.Their report today indicates why expansion at Gatwick best answers all the questions. It can give the country two world class airports.
“The UK gets the economic benefit it needs at a fraction of the environmental impact of Heathrow today. It would mean competition and lower fares for passengers. We have a financing plan and a construction project that can be delivered without huge risk to the public purse.
“After decades of indecision, the UK needs something to happen. As the Commission underlines Gatwick can actually be delivered by 2025. We have a safeguarded site with little risk and no complex construction across major motorways.
"Our new runway can be funded without a penny of taxpayers’ money at a time when there are a lot of other competing priorities for public funds."
But a statement for the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign hit out at the proposals for the airport.
It said: "We will study carefully the consultation paper and the mass of important supporting documents.
"We remain convinced that making Gatwick bigger than Heathrow would be an environmental calamity.
"It would mean the urbanisation of large chunks of Sussex; new flight paths over many towns and villages across Surrey, East and West Sussex, and Kent; loss of tranquillity in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty; a record number of historic buildings demolished; gridlock on the M25; and a worsening of the north-south divide."
The consultation document reveals that over 150 homes in the surrounding area could be demolished during the development of a second runway, and homeowners would be compensated.
The final report is due to be published in the summer of 2015, with the consultation ending next February.