“The public is being asked to put up with major long-term environmental and health damage, and permanent loss of highly valued countryside, for the financial benefit and convenience of the few,” he says. “Unless the general public can be given an unbiased explanation of the social and economic case for any new 'hub' airport, no development anywhere in the UK should be envisaged.”
CPRE’s response to the Airport consultation in early 2015 warned that proposals would have a “devastating impact” on the countryside, highlighting the damage it would do to the quality of life across the South East.
Mr Johnson echoed the concerns of many local residents, saying “It is time for politicians to look beyond short-term economic gain and take the long view.
“Our national politicians, in particular, appear ready to subject us permanently to the threat of urban sprawl, grinding traffic and poor air quality, not to mention the pressure on already-strained schools, hospitals and infrastructure.”
CPRE Sussex is also concerned that aviation expansion, and the encouragement to fly that it would bring, would worsen the problems already facing the UK as a whole, including achievement of climate change targets and tackling the severe economic imbalance between the South East and the rest of England. These need to be fully calculated, evaluated and publicised.It would appear that it is ordinary people who will be expected to pay for the convenience of wealthy travellers.
CPRE Sussex is urging everyone who is worried by the prospect of airport expansion and its impact on all our futures to continue to let their local councillors and MPs know how strongly they feel, and ask them to actively oppose it.
The Airports Commission published its recommendations for expanding aviation capacity on 1 July.
Notes for editors:
The CPRE Sussex submission to the Airports Commission’s earlier round of consultation is available to view at: www.cpresussex.org.uk/campaigns/gatwick
Photo © Anders Sandberg