In a joint letter to the Secretary of State for Transport, representatives of more than 55,000 businesses across the UK, have come together to pledge their support for Gatwick Airport’s Northern Runway Project.
This low-impact plan, designed to maximise the use of existing infrastructure, involves moving the centre line of Gatwick’s current Northern Runway 12 metres – to enable it to be used for departing flights alongside the existing Main Runway.
Led by the Gatwick Diamond Initiative, 52 business groups across the UK – including the Institute of Directors Sussex, CBI London and the London Chamber of Commerce – have put their names to the letter of support. In 2021, 36 business groups, representing 20,000 members across the South East wrote to the Transport Secretary offering support for Gatwick’s plans. This increase in support, both in numbers and geography, demonstrates the appetite from the UK business community to support Gatwick’s future and to recognise the national importance of this application.
Many of the businesses represented in the letter have benefitted from Gatwick’s supply chains, from the millions of tourists who fly into the airport each year and from the diverse economic clusters that have flourished in the Gatwick Diamond region due to the connectivity and opportunities offered by the airport.
In the letter, issued today, the signatories said they recognised the benefits Gatwick had generated for the region in previous years, but stated that the impact of the pandemic and ongoing economic challenges, means these benefits cannot be taken for granted. With the Northern Runway plans offering new global and regional connections, not to mention more than 10,000 jobs and a significant economic boost of over £1bn per year, the opportunity to support the nation’s economy and increase our country’s resilience is the business community is proud to support.
Brett North, Chair, Gatwick Diamond Initiative said: “Gatwick Airport is the epicentre of the South East economy, and plays an important role in attracting and retaining businesses, strengthening the diversity of our economy. Gatwick’s plans for the northern runway and its continuing commitment to invest in its infrastructure offers opportunities for employment, retaining a skilled workforce and the continued economic success of the region.”
Michele Augousti, Chair, IoD Sussex said: “Gatwick Airport’s use of an existing runway and its preference for sourcing local suppliers shows a commitment to the utilisation of existing facilities, as well as encouraging economic growth in the area thereby supporting the local business community; both initiatives are to be commended.”
Anneka Hendrick, CBI Regional Director, London and South East said: “A thriving aviation industry is critical to supporting the ambition for delivering greater sustainable growth by ensuring that the UK remains an internationally competitive destination for investment. Airports also play a key role as economic anchors in local communities by creating jobs, supporting supply chains and driving growth.
“With the transition to net zero a key challenge for the economy, Gatwick are absolutely right to focus on their sustainable aviation plan to help reduce noise levels and carbon emissions. As a predominately leisure-orientated airport, Gatwick’s plans for its Northern Runway can play a major part in the success and growth of the country’s tourism industry, whilst improving the airport’s reliance and resilience, help meet future passenger demand and provide greater international connectivity.”
The 52 groups now urge their members to register with the DCO to ensure the views of their members are represented in the government’s consultation process. Visit here to discover how.