UK election could end Heathrow expansion

Heathrow will not meet air and noise pollution standards, Gatwick does.

The close UK election could finally end Heathrow expansion plans says Gatwick Chairman Sir Roy McNulty.

A minority or coalition government after the general election will put an end to expansion plans at Heathrow, according to the chairman of Gatwick airport.

Chairman Sir Roy McNulty will tonight show why expansion at Gatwick remains the solution that can actually be delivered to ensure the UK gets the capacity and connectivity it needs.

Sir Roy will deliver the Royal Aeronautical Society’s Whittle Lecture on trends in aviation, past, present and future, and will explain that expansion at Gatwick can be delivered at a fraction of the environmental impact of Heathrow, particularly in respect of noise and air quality.

Gatwick’s plan will be flexible enough to serve all airline business models and will reflect changing business trends meaning it can deliver more passengers and more destinations, earlier. It can provide the economic boost the UK needs and will boost choice, and enhance competition at a fraction of the cost of expansion at Heathrow.

While Gatwick’s scheme is around half the cost of Heathrow’ plan, and will not require any taxpayer subsidy, Sir Roy will say that the biggest challenges facing Heathrow are the environmental ones that have halted Heathrow’s plans time after time.

Gatwick Chairman Sir Roy McNulty:

“While the airport expansion debate has rolled on for decades, what everyone can unite around is the fact that something needs to happen. Expanding Gatwick will provide the connectivity and capacity the UK needs, help the industry respond to change, and encourage competition, innovation, and growth.

Economic growth should not be pursued at any cost, however, and ultimately the next Government will have to strike the right balance between the environment and the economy. We’ve seen the film about Heathrow expansion before and we know how it ends – nothing happens because of the massive negative impact it would have on the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.

Heathrow already generates more noise for more people than all the other major hub airports in Europe put together. While a lot of things can change in this debate, the one thing that cannot change is Heathrow’s location and it is becoming clear that Gatwick is the option that politicians will be able to unite around if they actually want something to happen.”

Noise levels

Heathrow affects more people with significant levels of noise than all major airports in Europe put together today. An additional 320,000 people will be affected by noise if Heathrow expands; Gatwick, on the other hand, would affect around 5 per cent of the number.

Air quality

Heathrow currently breaches legal limits on air quality – and a third runway can only make this worse – while Gatwick has never breached legal limits and has guaranteed that it won’t in the future, even with a second runway.

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