The Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign has published a survey today of Parliamentary Candidates opposing expansion at Gatwick. But the Greens are the only party opposing expansion at Gatwick or Heathrow – not taking the NIMBY approach of the other parties.
The Airports Commission has been consulting on airport expansion with Parliament due to make a decision after the General Election.
The GACC survey finds that all 11 local Conservatives candidates, all Greens and UKIP candidates are against Gatwick expansion. The Lib Dems standing in Horsham and Crawley are for Gatwick expansion and UKIP has been promoting Manston airport in Kent for expansion. Many local Conservatives would like to see the environmental and social problems of expansion concentrated around Heathrow, where there is also a massive campaign against a third runway.
The Greens are opposed to expansion of airports in the South East because:
- Air pollution and additions to carbon emissions would be hugely damaging
- The land take for additional runways would have enormous local impacts on biodiversity, cultural heritage and agricultural land needed for food production
- The pressure on already overstretched road and rail services is unsustainable
- Shortage of local workers would mean more needing to move into the South East, creating the need for more homes when the supply is already at breaking point
Jonathan Essex, chair of the South East Greens, said: “Local MPs here argue against expansion of Gatwick while remaining relaxed about expanding Heathrow airport instead. MPs around Heathrow say the opposite. How selfish. Sustaining our quality-of-life is not more important than someone else’s right to a decent life”.
Nicola Dodgson, Green Parliamentary Candidate for East Surrey, said: “Our local Conservative MPs have spoken out against Gatwick expansion, but have failed to note that the Airports Commission consultation didn’t offer analysis of whether there is a ‘need’ for any expansion at all. The framing of the consultation was flawed, in that its stated aim was to keep the South East of the UK as a competitive international ‘hub’. If we want a future for our planet, then it clearly should have been framed within our legally binding carbon emissions targets.”