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Three quarters of residents support Gatwick’s growth plans say airport as one opponent says ‘poll stinks’

The polling was commissioned by Gatwick Airport to gather the views of local residents, following publication of its draft master plan in October.

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Gatwick has released the results of a poll they commissioned but the results have not been welcomed by opponents.

The results according to the YouGov poll say that three quarters of residents (74%) in Sussex, Surrey and Kent who were surveyed support Gatwick’s plans to increase capacity by making better use of its existing runways – with only 14% opposing.

It also says that a similarly high proportion (67%) surveyed also supported Gatwick’s plans to continue safeguarding land south of the airport – in the national interest – in case it is ever needed for a new runway to meet future long-term demand. Only 16% opposed this concept.

But one opponent, Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions (CAGNE), has hit back saying: “Consultation and poll stinks of propaganda.”

CAGNE say they have written to the Civil Aviation Authority demanding that the current consultation, being carried out by Gatwick Airport concerning the Master Plan for their 15 year plan, be dismissed as nothing more than a profile-raising stunt to increase share price whilst misleading people in providing little details to allow and informed opinion.

“This whole process stinks,” says CAGNE. “Residents thought that the
airport expansion debate was over, that Heathrow had won, but here we are
with Gatwick Airport seeking a 2nd runway by the back door and deceiving
local people and businesses to the true facts of what it will mean by
Gatwick adding 70-95m passengers and tens of thousand of extra workers to
the congested roads and single railway line that cannot be expanded.”

But Gatwick say that thirty eight per cent of those who supported Gatwick’s plans did so because of the potential increase in the airport’s contribution to the local economy (e.g. jobs, trade, investment); 32% recognised the potential increase in travel connections and 27% because the airport already owned the land required to increase capacity.

Stewart Wingate, CEO, Gatwick Airport, said:

“These results show that an overwhelming majority of residents in Sussex, Surrey and Kent who were surveyed both support our plans for growth and recognise how important they are in terms securing the region’s economic prosperity and new jobs for generations to come.

“Our draft master plan sets out our vision for the airport’s sustainable growth into the 2030s and explains how it can meet the UK’s increasing demand for air travel and global connectivity. The plan would help us to bolster the national and local economies for future generations and I encourage as many people as possible to take part in our ongoing consultation process.”

The public consultation on Gatwick’s draft master plan runs until 10 January 2019 and can be accessed here.

Gatwick

Henry Smith MP: Reforming Air Passenger Duty

In his article this week Crawley MP Henry Smith talks about reforming air passenger duty to boost trade.

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One way for MPs to raise issues in Westminster is through All-Party Parliamentary Groups. These Groups typically contain members of the Commons and the Lords, and include parliamentarians from across the political spectrum.

I recently established and was elected to chair a new APPG on Air Passenger Duty Reform, which seeks to encourage the UK Government to cut the rate of Air Passenger Duty (APD).

While the Government confirmed at the October 2018 Budget that short-haul APD rates will not rise for the eighth year in a row, keeping costs down for 80 per cent of passengers, there remains more to be done.

With the Band B long-haul rate scheduled to rise by £16 on 1st April 2019, reforming APD will help the UK compete on a level playing field with our European counterparts, boosting tourism, trade, jobs and growth.

The UK APD rate is the highest tax of its kind in the world. It is twice as high as the next highest, Germany. On long-haul flights it currently adds £78 to an economy ticket.

As we leave the European Union and look to forge a new identity for ourselves in the world as a global nation, it is critical we have a tax system that reflects that ambition.

With Gatwick Airport in the Crawley boundary, a significant reduction in the UK’s APD rate would signal to the world that Britain is open for business.

Henry Smith MP

Crawley Constituency

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