Gatwick has given five guarantees that it hopes will sway the bid for with the Airports Commission for its case for a new runway.
The theme is fairness – to taxpayers, passengers, airlines, Government, local people and the environment.
Gatwick has “guaranteed” the project would be privately funded with no need for public subsidy, that airport charges would be capped and it would bear the main risks of the expansion plan.
It has also promised to compensate residents by £1,000 towards council tax bills if they are affected by significant level of aircraft noise, and said it would ensure that air quality targets always were always met.
The five guarantees are:
- A privately funded runway ready for take-off in 2025
- Airport charges capped to keep fares low for everyone
- No public sector risk for Government to carry
- Cash compensation for those most affected by noise
- Air quality targets always met
Full details of the five guarantees are:
1. Fair to taxpayers – A privately funded runway ready for take-off in 2025
Gatwick guarantees that its second runway will be open in 2025, privately funded with no need for billions of pounds of public subsidy. Subject to normal timescales for decision making this means the second runway would be operational by 2025 giving London a competitive airports system fit for a global city
2. Fair to passengers and airlines – Airport charges capped to keep fares low for everyone
Gatwick guarantees that, in return for Government agreeing a 30 year contract, passenger charges will be subject to an inflation-linked £15 limit. This means fares would be kept low for all passengers – from cost-conscious business travellers to hard-pressed families
3. Fair to Government – No public sector risk for Government to carry
Gatwick guarantees that it will bear all the main risks of the expansion programme. This means that Gatwick would bear long-term risks related to traffic levels, market pricing, construction and operating costs, rather than expecting either passengers, airlines or Government to take these risks.
4. Fair to local people – Cash compensation for those most affected by noise
Gatwick guarantees that it will pay £1,000 (linked to inflation) annually towards the Council Tax of those people currently affected by significant levels of aircraft noise, or who may become affected as soon as a second runway is operational. This means extending compensation to all people who live within the affected area (57dB(A) Leq noise contour) at 1 January 2015 for as long as they remain resident there.
5. Fair to the environment – Air quality targets always met
Gatwick guarantees that air quality levels will remain within current legal limits in the area close to the airport and that this can be achieved without introducing a congestion charge. Gatwick’s location means that expansion is uniquely able to balance the economic growth we need with an environmental cost we can afford.
Sir Roy McNulty, Chairman of Gatwick Airport, said:
“Following a meeting earlier this month I am now able to make firm guarantees on behalf of the Gatwick Board to the Airports Commission and to the Government. They build on our submissions and crystallise key commitments we are prepared to make.
“Airport expansion must be fair to everyone. These guarantees would mean Gatwick takes on the main risks of building the new runway. Choose Gatwick and any Government can do so knowing that airport expansion will not be a drain on the public finances – and even more importantly it can actually happen.
“These guarantees give airlines and passengers confidence that they will not have to pay much higher air fares through higher airport charges.
“These guarantees also provide a progressive solution where those most affected by noise are directly compensated and the environment is protected. I believe that increased spending on noise mitigation and direct compensation for local communities must be an essential element of any plan for runway expansion.
“Both Heathrow and Gatwick have support. But after years of delay most people agree on one thing – something needs to happen. This is the first time Gatwick has been seriously considered for expansion, and only Gatwick can guarantee that Britain gets the runway it needs.”
N.B. Image credits: gatwickobviously.com