Gatwick Airport position statement

2022 supplementary consultation

Gatwick Airport have been developing their proposals to routinely operate the northern runway.

The northern runway (previously referred to as the ‘standby’ or ‘emergency’ runway) was previously restricted to use only when the main runway is unavailable (for resurfacing or because of an incident) due to a 1979 legal agreement with West Sussex County Council. This agreement expired in 2019 and so Gatwick investigated how it could be used to enable growth, in line with the Government’s policy on making best use of existing infrastructure.

For Gatwick Airport to routinely use the northern runway for departing smaller aircraft (for example, Airbus A320s), they will need to undertake a number of infrastructure improvements. This would then allow the airport to grow from 46.6 million passengers per year in 2019 to 75.6 million passengers per year by 2038.

Since their statutory consultation in 2021, Gatwick Airport have been completing further work to revise their proposals. The changes made resulted in Gatwick Airport undertaking a further round of consultation that ran from 14 June to 27 July 2022

The highway improvement changes and project update consultation focused on:

  • updated local highway designs
  • updated plans for car parks, hotels, offices, the airfield water management, carbon and noise.

To view the full consultation visit Gatwick Airport’s website.

A Development Consent Order (DCO) application is expected to be submitted by Gatwick Airport in spring 2023. The Planning Inspectorate will then review the application and decide whether to recommend to the Secretary of State for Transport that permission is granted to Gatwick Airport to construct the scheme.

If Gatwick Airport’s DCO application is successful, then a phased period of construction will start in 2024, with the main airfield construction works lasting a total of 5 years. The northern runway is expected to be fully operational from 2029.

Our position

Kent County Council’s (KCC) proposed response remains in line with our existing Policy on Gatwick Airport, which was adopted by Cabinet in December 2014. The policy explicitly states that KCC opposes a second runway at Gatwick. Whilst at the time, this was in response to the Airports Commission and the proposals for a newly constructed and independently operated second runway, we consider these latest proposals to routinely use the northern runway as a way for Gatwick to become a two-runway airport by another means.

Therefore, KCC continues to strongly oppose the proposals to bring the existing northern runway into routine use. Our response also focuses on a number of concerns regarding:

  • intensification of the main runway
  • noise of overflying aircraft
  • carbon emissions
  • lack of efficient rail and public transport connections to Kent.

Read our full response for more details (PDF, 163.8 KB).