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“the scale of expansion currently being proposed would have a very wide range of impacts on the local community” says Crawley Council as Gatwick confirms to use standby runway

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It was not at all unexpected. Gatwick Airport has revealed their plans to use its current standby runway for departing flights.

In order for them to do so though they will have to seek planning permission so that the airstrip can be widened as well as increase the gap between both runways.

But whilst some it’s potentially good news for jobs there has already been a backlash from campaign groups.

Crawley Council meanwhile has also made a statement, carefully worded to neither show support for or against the move.

A council spokesperson said:

“Gatwick Airport Ltd (GAL) is currently seeking permission for simultaneous use of both the airport’s existing and its standby runways. The question of whether or not to permit the dual use of these runways belongs exclusively to central government, with Crawley Borough Council having no direct role in the decision-making process. However, alongside other neighbouring planning authorities we do have the opportunity to participate in the process of scrutinising their emerging plans to ensure that all relevant considerations have been taken into account.

“Gatwick Airport is the biggest business in Crawley and the scale of expansion currently being proposed would have a very wide range of impacts on the local community. The participation of council officers and consultants in scrutinising Gatwick’s proposals is vital to ensuring these impacts are fully considered and that, in the event the Government approves the proposal, all possible mitigations are put into effect.

“When a developer seeks planning permission they are required to pay the council a planning fee to cover the costs involved in determining their application. In this case that fee will be going to the Government, as they are taking the decision. Consequently, to ensure we can afford to fully participate in the scrutiny process without unreasonable cost to the taxpayer, Crawley Borough Council alongside other neighbouring councils are negotiating an agreement with GAL to ensure that they provide the funding necessary for local authorities to fully participate in the planning process.”

But only time will tell on whether negotiations with GAL will provide the funding Crawley Borough Council needs to be able to participate in the way they feel they need to.

Education

Two hundred local pupils attend Eco summit at Crawley school

The Gatwick sponsored ‘Eco, Young, and Engaged’ (EYE) conference saw eight local schools and 200 pupils from Crawley and Horsham attend Ifield Community College on Monday to get a practical understanding of the environment and the importance of sustainability.

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Aged between six and seventeen, pupils chose between 13 workshops where they could learn about making their own compost and the wildlife within it, and about the effect that different clothing materials have on the environment and therefore which ones are more sustainable to buy and wear.

Other workshops included practical team challenges on how to upcycle (reuse) everyday items – such as using old milk bottles as planters for herbs – and how to harness the power of both wind turbines and solar panels to generate electricity.

The conference is part of the wider EYE campaign which seeks to bring schools in West Sussex together to focus on the importance of caring for our planet – to promote sustainability and encourage young people’s interest in environmental issues.

Gatwick’s Head of Sustainability, Rachel Thompson, gave an introductory talk on what sustainability is and its importance for protecting the environment.  She also discussed Gatwick’s ‘Decade of Change’ report, which tracks the airport’s progress on ten sustainability targets set over a ten year period (2010 to 2020), and explained how Gatwick’s buildings and fleet are carbon neutral.

The sponsorship of the conference is part of Gatwick’s wider community engagement programme which aims to make lasting and positive impacts to local communities and young people. Gatwick is also partnering with 15 local schools as part of the Primary Engineer programme to help schools teach STEM-based subjects in a more relatable and practical way to inspire more students to study the subjects.

Rachel Thompson, Head of Sustainability, Gatwick Airport said:

“It was great to see the enthusiasm of the students and hear their excellent questions and ideas. We hope today’s event will inspire more eco school projects and also encourage more students to consider studying STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects and pursuing careers in sustainability.”

Irram Ali, Ifield Community College Eco Lead, said:

“It was an honour to have been able to host the first Eco-Summit in Crawley. At Ifield Community College we are focused on encouraging our students to proactively engage with environmental issues and this was an excellent opportunity for such engagement to take place. All students were passionate and enthused and will hopefully implement some of their new knowledge in our local schools and community.”

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