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Last Updated:  Sunday, 23 February, 2003, 13:04 GMT
Gatwick expansion plans expected
Gatwick Airport
Gatwick was excluded from plans announced last summer
Options for the possible expansion of Gatwick Airport are expected to be outlined by the government this week.

Gatwick was excluded from the original consultation process on airport expansion, announced last year.

But councils in Kent and Essex, where new airports or runways were proposed, won a legal battle to force the government to consider extending Gatwick.

People living near the West Sussex airport, already one of the UK's biggest and busiest, say they are furious it may be expanded further.

Transport secretary Alastair Darling announced which schemes were being considered to increase runway capacity in the south of England last summer.

Gatwick was left off the original consultation exercise as part of a deal struck in 1979.

This whole process will cause blight and anxiety for thousands of people living around Gatwick
Campaigner Brendon Sewill

The agreement then, between airport operator BAA and West Sussex County Council, had said there should be no further expansion of Gatwick until at least 2019.

The possibility of a new 9bn airport at Cliffe, in north Kent, was on the summer 2002 shortlist, to the anger of many locals and wildlife groups, who say the area is a vital breeding area for birds.

There were more protests from people living close to Stansted airport in Essex, who were angry at plans to build three new runways there.

Essex County Council, Kent County Council and Medway Council united to seek a judicial review on the decision not to consider Gatwick and the High Court ruled in November that it would have to be included in consultation.

With options for what could happen at Gatwick expected to be announced this week, anti-expansion campaigners have been speaking out.
The village of Cliffe
There was anger at plans for an airport at Cliffe

"This whole process will cause blight and anxiety for thousands of people living around Gatwick," said Brendon Sewill, chairman of the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign.

"It would be extremely difficult to fit in another runway at Gatwick.

"The government has been forced to consult on Gatwick but we detect no desire from any quarter for any expansion here," he said.

Gatwick may still not be expanded but possible options could include one new runway either to the north or south of the existing one, which would at least double passenger numbers but see up to 300 houses demolished.

Or it has been suggested two new runways could be built, with more impact on the surrounding area but almost quadrupling capacity to 115 million passengers a year and creating 58,000 new jobs.

A final decision on which schemes will go ahead is expected from Mr Darling later this year.



Groups unite to fight airport
30 Aug 02 |  England
Airport expansion plans unveiled
23 Jul 02 |  UK Politics

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