Gatwick banking on speed of delivery to bag new runway

The Board of Gatwick Airport has written to the Prime minister in a last ditch attempt to lobby for the new runway. Its chair Sir Roy McNulty sets out eight pledges the airport says it will make including delivering a fully operational new runway by 2025 if it is chosen.

Sir Roy says in his open letter: “The expiry of a 40-year moratorium on a new runway at Gatwick means Britain can finally solve this policy problem and secure the economic growth it needs at a fraction of the environmental cost of the alternatives. These pledges offer the route map to making that happen.”

Its first pledge is that if a decision is made by this October, its second runway will be operational by 2025 with planning consent granted within this Parliament. 

“This means ground could be broken at Gatwick before the next election and the runway officially opened before the election after that. Our confidence in an accelerated timetable is based on further analysis of our programme, validated by independent planning and construction experts. Our scheme is comparatively simple in terms of planning and construction risks,” the letter says.

“There are no legal issues with air quality that would run the risk of being challenged in the courts. As the Airports Commission stated 'The Gatwick Second Runway is not forecast to cause any exceedances of legal limits by 2030'.

Further pledges are around guaranteed economic growth across the UK; no taxpayer subsidy with the air committing to funding the scheme privately and in full, and a cap on the number of people most affected by noise expansion.

The letter comes as industry grows increasingly frustrated with the delays to the project. It is almost a year since the The Davies Commission released its report into airport expansion in the South east, coming down in favour of expansion at Heathrow. There is speculation the decision could be made once the referendum is out of the way if there is a remain vote, or alternatively after the party conference season in october.