Gatwick Diamond Business (GBD), a collective of small and large business owners in Sussex, have written an open letter to David Cameron, asking for a second runway to be built at Gatwick airport despite plans being accepted to build a third runway at Heathrow.
In July, Sir Howard Davies, chairman of the Airports Commission, recommended for a third runway to be built at Heathrow airport after undertaking a two-and-a-half year study to determine which airport should receive an extra runway. The study cost £20m to carry out, but has been met with scepticism by the independently run business group.
Acting as ‘‘a united voice” for its members, GBP consists of a number of local business leaders, including 15 Chamber of Commerce presidents and Colin Slaughter, East Sussex’s regional representative for the Federation of Small Business (FSB).
The GBP letter criticised Davies’ report, stating that there were a number of flaws contained within the document, including having out-of-date estimates of passenger numbers at Gatwick.
The letter also claims that Davies and his commission failed to accurately measure the severe noise and air pollution that Heathrow’s third runway would cause.
‘‘A third runway at Heathrow will put 550,000 residents into the 55LDEN noise contour, compared to 22,000 affected by a second runway at Gatwick. This appears to have been made light of in the Report and must be closely examined,’’ states the letter.
The correspondence was signed by 26 business leaders operating within the local area, and has been brought to the attention of senior figures at Heathrow airport, in which a spokesman stated that UK business leaders were firmly behind the commission’s decision.
‘‘The Airports Commission undertook a £20m, two-and-a-half year, detailed study of where the next runway should be in the UK,’’ said a Heathrow spokesperson.
‘‘It unanimously and unambiguously chose Heathrow because it is the only option that will connect the whole UK to global growth.’’
The government plans to reveal its final decision regarding the extra runway towards the end of the year.