Planet ‘cannot afford’ expansion plans – MEP
2nd November 2018 – Crawley Observer
Keith Taylor, Green MEP for south east England, joined protests against plans to expand Gatwick Airport.
He said that, having been passed over in favour of Heathrow Gatwick had devised a plan for expansion ‘by the back door’.
The plan is for the airport to use its emergency runway to create extra capacity.
Keith Taylor, Green MEP
The protest on Tuesday October 30, saw the senior Green politician join local residents, Green Party members and campaigners from the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC) at Gatwick Airport.
Mr Taylor, a member of the European Parliament’s Transport and Tourism Committee, said: “l’m joining campaigners here because Gatwick’s plans for expansion by the back door are as deceitful as they are reckless. The planet cannot afford airport expansion.
“At the same time, residents cannot afford to have their health and wellbeing even further impacted by the air and noise pollution generated by the airport’s greed.
“Earlier this month climate scientists from across the world came together to highlight the need for urgent and radical action to avoid the very worst effects of a climate breakdown that is already in process. Airport expansion quite literally flies in the face of the government’s claim that it is committed to protecting our planet and our environment.
“Aviation is a top ten global polluter and emissions from the heavily subsidised industry are set to balloon by 300 per cent if action is not taken sooner rather than later. Not accounting for any airport expansion, emissions from aviation are already expected to use up more than two-thirds of the UK’s carbon budget by 2050.
At the same time, the ‘Clean’ Growth Strategy the government has been promoting this month will already see the UK miss its legally-binding climate targets. As Greens, we support a fairer frequent flyer levy that would help reduce demand driven by the privileged few and reduce costs for the average UK holidaymaker.”
GACC chair Peter Barclay, who joined Keith at the protest, added: “Gatwick has decided in a month that highlights the health impacts of noise and an announcement from the UN’s IPCC warning of a crisis in meeting carbon emission limits, to contribute further noise and pollution by suggesting additional runway capacity in its latest Master Plan.
“Having lost the south east runway challenge to Heathrow the owners of Gatwick have decided to create their own runner-up prize via the back door.
“The proposals will create a huge increase the problems already being experienced by local communities – noise, air pollution and excessive road traffic. lt would also put even greater pressure on the tottering road and rail infrastructure both locally and further afield.”
‘Not Now. Not Ever’, say CAGNE protesters
Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions (CAGNE) has launched a new campaign against the expansion plan.
CAGNE members at the Gatwick Masterplan event on November 3
CAGNE chair Sally Pavey said: “This Master Plan is about continuing the blight of these counties for Gatwick’s pursuit of profit. We therefore call upon residents to join us in rejecting the Gatwick Master Plan for a three runway airport in West Sussex.
“lt is more than just airport expansion; it is about the enormous increase in noise that is proposed for the people that have no respite today.
“It is about flying in the face of carbon reductions to save our planet, concreting over our green space for mass housing and industrial parks, not to mention huge road infrastructure projects that would be needed to support an airport of this size.”
Gatwick Masterplan events will be held at County Mall 11am to 5pm Saturday November 17 and Horley Leisure Centre 3.30pm to 7.30pm November 24.
Plan is hailed as ‘ingenious’ and ‘a masterstroke’
The Gatwick Diamond Initiative is backing Gatwick’s expansion plan.
Rosemary French OBE, executive director of the partnership said: “This masterplan is also a masterstroke because in one idea, it has identified a low-cost, safe, sustainable and fast solution to meet its growth needs.
“This important proposal means that our area could benefit from a much-needed second runway in just a few years, possibly even before the third runway is built at Heathlow.
“Time is of the essence, as connectivity with existing and new export and visitor markets is vital as we seek to protect and improve the prosperity of local businesses and people in a post Brexit world.
“We believe that utilising the existing standby runway is a fast, efficient and cost-effective option and the environmental implications are minimised.”
Platinum Publishing Group also welcomed the plan, – calling it ‘an ingenious way to expand’. “What a great wheeze to get around the ridiculous decision to award the second runway to Heathrow,” said a statement from the group.
“The decision should always have been develop both but it seems the government, in their great wisdom, didn’t agree.” It added: “With Brexit upon us, Gatwick’s development will help meet future aviation demand with sustainable growth and ensure strong connections between Britain and global markets.
“It will also provide new opportunities for the South East and-continue to bolster the local economy for future generations.”