Reigate MP Crispin Blunt has attacked the recent Airports Commission interim report into the future of UK aviation and its shortlisting of proposals for a second runway at Gatwick.
The Conservative MP, who recently won a battle to be re-selected to stand for the party in Reigate at the next General Election, called the report “nothing short of calamitous” for his constituents.
And he said the development a second runway at Gatwick would bring with it “would devastate the local environment and leave the UK with its major airport in the wrong place.”
In a statement on his website, Mr Blunt said he had “registered his dismay at the Airports Commission interim report which has shortlisted proposals for a second runway at Gatwick Airport and a third runway at Heathrow, while scrapping the Thames Estuary plans which would secure the UK's status as a global aviation hub for the next century.”
Mr Blunt continued that after reviewing Sir Howard Davies' report, he felt, “this shortlist represents strategic failure to address the future of UK aviation. “In ducking the essential question of how we are to build a proper hub airport, capable of working 24/7 for most of the 21st century, the report merely represents a series of damaging, and potentially catastrophic compromises."
Outlining the report's shortlisted three submissions - a new runway at Gatwick to the south of the existing runway, a new 3,500 metre runway at Heathrow, and the Heathrow Hub proposal to extend the existing northern runway to at least 6,000 metres, enabling it to operate as two independent runways – Mr Blunt lamented the fact that none of the Thames Estuary proposals, those he supports, have been taken forward.
He called the scope of the report “depressingly short-term.”
Mr Blunt stated: “What should have been a marvellous opportunity to properly address the question of securing the UK's economic future in an environmentally sound way has been missed, yet again.
“As far as the national and local interests of my constituents are concerned, this report is nothing short of calamitous. “The second runway at Gatwick airport would be a disaster for the surrounding communities and environment.”
He continued: “My overwhelming objection remains that the level of development associated with an airport serving three times as many passengers as it does now, would devastate the local environment and leave the UK with its major airport in the wrong place. “The rail line is already at capacity, as are the roads that serve Gatwick. This airport is simply not in the right place to serve as the UK's hub, or as a key part of it. “Plans for new housing are already controversial given the existing constraints. Quite where the 40,000 new houses are to go to house the new workers at an expanded Gatwick is beyond me. “I suspect it has been beyond proper consideration in this disappointing report."