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Last Updated: Thursday, 5 June, 2003, 17:11 GMT 18:11 UK
Council backs new runway
Gatwick Airport
The council says fast rail links are needed if Gatwick expands
Council leaders in Brighton and Hove are to support plans for one new runway at Gatwick - but have insisted transport links must be improved.

The city's draft response is part of the government's UK-wide consultation on airport expansion, which includes options to build one or two more runways at the West Sussex site.

The council, which should formally pass the comments on 18 June, recommends backing the development of one more runway at the airport.

But Labour council leader Ken Bodfish said it should only happen alongside improved transport links to the city.

Huge economic benefits

He said: "Brighton and Hove reaps huge economic benefits from having a major international airport close by, both in terms of jobs, as a European business location and from visitors who come to enjoy our seaside city.

"We have to ensure that the region maintains these advantages.

"However, alongside any new development at Gatwick we need a transport corridor into the city, with fast rail links such as currently exist from Victoria to Gatwick.

"We are discussing with BAA Gatwick the need to extend rail links to and from Brighton."

Busy road link

The council also highlights potential problems on the roads, particularly the M23, if the government opts for two new runways at Gatwick.

A council spokeswoman said: "As long as they only go for one runway the roads can cope.

"But there is concern about the M23, already a very busy road link on to the M25 - they would have to improve that in some way."

A new plan for Shoreham Airport, a small airfield currently used by light aircraft, is expected in October.

A final ruling on which airports will be expanded will be made in a government aviation White Paper due later this year.

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23 Feb 03  |  England

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