London Gatwick Airport has published its final masterplan and a report on its 12-week public consultation, which concluded earlier this year.
The final masterplan sets out how Gatwick could develop to meet demand in the most sustainable way over the next 15 years. Additional capacity would also deliver enhanced operational performance and further improve the experience for passengers, with continued competition ensuring excellent choice and service for the long term.
The plan includes: the use of new technology to build capacity and resilience on the main runway; bringing the existing standby runway into routine use for departures only alongside the main runway by the mid-2020s; and the recommendation that planning policy continues to safeguard land for an additional runway.
Taking into account consultation feedback, Gatwick will continue to make the best use of its main runway. The airport also announced that it will prepare a planning application to bring the standby runway into routine use. This will be through a Development Consent Order (DCO) – a statutory planning process that will include public consultation next year to allow local authorities, communities, businesses and partners the opportunity to provide more feedback as the scheme evolves. Additionally, Gatwick is recommending that national and local planning policy continues to safeguard land – as it has been since 2003 – should a new runway be required in the longer term. The airport is no longer actively pursuing plans for an additional runway.
London Gatwick CEO Stewart Wingate said, “The plans would deliver additional capacity for Gatwick, which will provide choices for the future – including incrementally growing our airport to meet demand and continuing to provide solid operational performance for passengers and airlines. This would be the biggest private investment for the region in the coming years, which would result in significant local economic benefits, including new jobs for the area.”
Following the publication of the draft masterplan, a 12-week period of public consultation took place to gather feedback. Two-thirds of the 5,000 respondents were in favor of Gatwick making best use of existing runways in line with government policy, including the airport’s plan to bring the existing standby runway into routine use alongside the main runway. More than half (59%) supported the continued safeguarding of land for an additional runway, should it be required in future.
To gain planning permission to routinely use the standby runway, Gatwick will follow the Development Consent Order (DCO) process. The first stages will see the airport carry out surveys and preparation of detailed environmental information on the standby runway plans later this year. This information, together with further details on the plans, will then be subject to a period of public consultation to allow local residents, councils, businesses, community groups and other key parties to have a say on the plans. Gatwick expects public consultation to take place next year.
Once consultation has been completed, further updates to the plans will be made before a final DCO submission is made to the Planning Inspectorate, which will then provide a recommendation to the Secretary of State, who will publish a decision.