A letter from Stuart Wingate, Gatwick Airport’s CEO, is published in the Financial Times today. It is Putinesque in its deception. Mr Wingate says, basically, that Heathrow is an unpopular choice and therefore, his airport is the popular choice for expansion in the South East.
Indeed the way in which the Government has framed the Airport’s Commission objectives forces people to choose between Gatwick or Heathrow, and by doing this each and every individual or organisation taking part is effectively agreeing to airport expansion in the South East at all costs. The reality is that given the choice, people disagree with large scale destruction of trees and wildlife and value more natural surroundings, especially during leisure time with family and friends (when we are more likely to notice the absence of these valuable things). New housing estates are short on spaces where children can play and generally speaking, people prefer diverse soundscapes and cleaner air. We do not enjoy sitting in traffic queues for hours on end. Whats more we would also like to live longer, healthier lives. Yet the aviation choice for Britain we have been given, supported by the narrative in the mainstream media, means either airport can say they have our complete support. If we voice an opinion we are divided between two evils, and then that winner in the ‘race’ Mr Wingate refers to will be packaged as the people’s choice. How wrong that is. It’s a NIMBY competition and the only winners are the money men who buy and sell not only shares but human lives.
Add up all the people and organisations opposed to either Heathrow or Gatwick expansion and you see the real story here.
People in the South East of England do not want more planes and will not feel benefit from them.
For the record, the following is a list of all the organisations and resident’s associations who do not want Gatwick to be expanded:
Local councils that oppose a new runway –
West Sussex County Council * Kent County Council * Mid Sussex District Council * Crawley Borough Council * Horsham District Council * Mole Valley District Council * Tandridge District Council * Tunbridge Wells Borough Council * Horley Town Council * Wealden District Council * Surrey County Council * Sevenoaks District Council *
Senior MPs that oppose a new runway –
Gatwick Co-ordination Group consists of six senior MPs – Crispin Blunt, Sir Paul Beresford, Sir John Stanley, Sam Gyimah, Sir Nicholas Soames, Charles Hendry, Nick Herbert and informally Rt Hon Francis Maude, Cabinet Office minister.