From the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign
20th October 2014
GACC Press Release – Road and Rail
Road and rail chaos predicted if new runway built
A new research paper prepared by author and environmental expert Jeremy Early (see below) predicts that a new runway at Gatwick would bring road and rail chaos.
Early points out that the existing road structure is nearly full, with serious delays occurring on many routes, especially on the M23 and A23 into London. Planned improvements, such as hard shoulder running on the M25 will only be sufficient to deal with the forecast growth in traffic – without a new runway.
A new runway, operating at full capacity of 95 million passengers a year, would mean an average 56,000 more road traffic movements a day (more in summer). On top of that, journeys by Gatwick staff, and journeys by workers at new firms attracted to the area, are forecast to mean an extra 64,000 cars and buses on the road – bringing the total to over 120,000 extra vehicles every day.
Brendon Sewill, chairman of GACC, says: ‘This colossal increase would be bound to reduce the M25 and M23 to a standstill – all day not just sometimes! And for a large area around Gatwick it would cause chaos on both on A roads and minor roads with traffic jams at many road junctions so that travel to work would take longer and become much more stressful.’
Problems on the trains
Similar problems are forecast for rail travel. Already between 2010 and 2014 rail journeys in the South-East have increased more than 20 per cent Gatwick Airport Ltd are boasting that there will be six extra trains an hour – but in fact these are already scheduled to come into service in 2017 to cope with the expected increase in demand – with no new runway.
With a new runway Gatwick predict a three-fold increase in the number of air passengers using Gatwick station.
On top of that it is claimed that one in five employees at the airport and in new local firms will use rail services. That would bring the total up to over 110,000 extra passengers a day using the trains.
The airport has claimed that extra trains will run to London, and that the length of trains will be increased. But as Early points out, the new Thameslink trains on order are designed to carry more passengers standing than sitting. ‘So it will be standing room only – pity the poor commuters!’
Moreover no solution has been put forward to the bottleneck at East Croydon. Steve Knight, Network Rail area director for Sussex, said this week: ‘We are fast approaching the point where there simply isn’t any more space for more trains on the busiest parts of the network’.
Sewill added: ‘Last time a plan was put forward for a new runway at Gatwick (in 2003) the Department for Transport reckoned that a long tunnel might be needed under East Croydon We will see soon whether the Airports Commission come to a similar conclusion.’
Alternatively contact directly
John Byng 01293 537234
Peter Barclay 01293 862821