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Gatwick presses ahead with planning application to use standby runway

Words: Huw Morris

Gatwick Airport will press ahead with its planning application to convert its Northern Runway into routine use.

The move follows the airport’s plans to cut a quarter of its workforce – around 600 jobs – because of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has reduced passenger numbers by 80 per cent.

The airport has formally started the process to bring the standby runway into routine use by submitting a notice to the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) of its intention to prepare an application for development consent. 

Gatwick will submit a scoping request to PINS next month and this will set out its proposed approach and key issues to be included in the process.

Following the publication of its masterplan in July, Gatwick announced it would prepare a development consent order (DCO) to bring the standby runway into routine use for smaller, departing aircraft alongside the main runway by the mid-2020s. 

“As the biggest private investments in our region for many years, the start of the process to use our existing Northern Runway is a significant milestone,” said Gatwick’s chief planning officer Tim Norwood. “This project has the capacity to offer significant local economic benefits, new jobs and an exciting future for the region.

“As we take our plans forward, we are committed to working in partnership with our local communities, councils and partners to ensure we grow sustainably and present information in a clear and transparent way, including a more detailed stage of public consultation on the project next year.”

The first stages in the DCO process will involve Gatwick carrying out surveys and preparing detailed environmental information on the runway plans later this year.

A public consultation will be held next year, after which further updates to the plans will be incorporated. An application for development consent will then be made to PINS.

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