Conservative and Labour groups in Brighton and Hove City Council voted today to give formal council support to building a second runway at Gatwick airport. The vote comes after Conservative-led councils in Kent and West Sussex both registered their objection to the airport expansion.
Green councillors provided the only opposition to the move, saying that there was insufficient evidence this would be good for the economy, while the environmental and predicted local impacts such as noise, increased traffic and poor air quality were well documented.
Green councillor Tom Druitt, group spokesperson for Economic Development said:
“This is hugely disappointing from an economic and environmental point of view. It’s shocking that Labour and Tory councillors have brought this to committee so soon after Conservative-led West Sussex County Council voted against the airport on economic and infrastructure grounds.
“Gatwick’s main use is for British holidaymakers on short-haul, outbound flights. That means more flights will take people away from Brighton & Hove, when we should be encouraging tourists to come and spend their money in the city”.
Green councillor Louisa Greenbaum, who also sits on the Economic Development and Culture committee that voted on the motion, said:
“Air travel is extremely damaging to the environment, and is one of the fastest growing contributors to climate change. Building a second runway at Gatwick Airport would have a huge negative impact on the environment both globally and locally. Expansion plans would destroy ancient woodland, impact hugely on air quality, and would increase road and rail congestion on already overloaded routes.
“At a time when we need to be encouraging more sustainable lifestyles to preserve the planet, this is an entirely irresponsible and damaging move. I’m disappointed to see neither of the other parties acting in the benefit of local residents, businesses or the environment”.