If the Government selects Gatwick and we decide to progress our application for a second runway, a full and detailed planning process will take place. This will include further significant consultations on issues including environmental impacts.

Below is some information on the specific issues that people have already asked us about, which may be useful at this stage:

New flight paths 
Aircraft noise mitigation 
Maintaining air quality 
Achieving carbon neutrality 
Woodland 
Waterways 
Mitigating flood risk

New flight paths

Gatwick and the Airport Commission have had to make assumptions about future flight paths that would come into effect with a second runway.

While these enable a good understanding of the impacts, new flight paths will be subject to considerable consultation during the planning phase of Gatwick’s expansion.

If the Government selects Gatwick and we progress our application for a second runway, a full and detailed planning process will take place. This will include extensive consultation on the impacts of both construction and operations.
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Aircraft noise mitigation

We fully acknowledge that a further runway will give rise to an increase in noise. So we take very seriously our obligations to our community and the environment.

We will continue to explore ways of reducing noise impacts including:

  • Steeper approaches & continuous descent, to keep aircraft higher for longer, generating less noise.
  • Preferential runway use, scheduling flight times & flight paths to minimise number of people overflown
  • Exploring ways to deliver delivering ‘rotating respite’ to communities most affected by noise.

Following consultation with local residents we have asked the Department of Transport (DfT) to look at ways to describe and measure aircraft noise more clearly to help people understand noise impacts. We have also asked them to step up research on the effects of aircraft noise on human health.

99% of the aircraft currently using Gatwick are of the quietest type possible. We charge airlines less if they use quieter aircraft.

Noise generated by the airport has been steadily reducing. This is demonstrated by the land area (noise contour) covered by the loudest noise levels reducing from 94.5km² to 85.6km² in the past six years.
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Maintaining air quality

Gatwick has an excellent record on air quality. We have never breached UK or EU air quality targets, and in recent years we’ve cut Airfield energy use by 50%.

We have reduced carbon emissions by 20,940 tonnes since our Decade of Change programme began in 2010.

Detailed modelling of scenarios with a second runway shows that Gatwick will remain well within all EU and UK air quality targets.

We will use industry-leading initiatives to continue to meet air quality standards, including:

  • Landing charges structured to reward airlines for operating cleaner flights
  • Introducing a zero emission, low emission & low-carbon Operational Vehicle Fleet by 2025
  • Single engine taxiing will continue in collaboration with our airlines

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Achieving carbon neutrality

We aim to be carbon neutral by 2040, which we will achieve through a number of means, including:

  • Energy efficient design – such as leading-edge passive design and long term energy efficiency management of buildings and systems to reduce the peak demand and the annual consumption of energy.
  • Efficiency of supply – a new Combined Heat and Power (CHP) energy centre will use otherwise wasted heat from electricity generation and provide flexibility for future expansion and changes in fuel and generation technology.
  • Renewables – we are currently working on the basis of a biomass fuelled CHP with the added opportunity to use biogas, recovered from digestion of airport waste and wastewater sludge.
  • We would also expect to deploy other energy measures such as PV arrays on roofs of buildings and investing in offsite carbon neutral projects.

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Woodland

We will replace woodland at 2:1 ratio for non-ancient and 3:1 for ancient woodland with the aim of a net gain in woodland provision.

New woodlands will be developed using transplanted material that will match as closely as is possible the character of the ancient woodland affected.
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Waterways

An investment programme of up to £30 million will provide best practice flood resilience measures which will protect our local communities downstream of the airport.

The River Mole and Crawters Brook will be diverted into open channel replacing more than 500 metres of culvert and will be designed to develop a more natural form, enhancing biodiversity.

The new water courses will be encompassed in a linear park forming part of the airport perimeter landscaping and, over time, the river corridors will provide excellent wildlife habitat.
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Mitigating flood risk

A programme of works to improve Gatwick’s resilience is ongoing, including projects to reduce risk associated with flooding in line with recommendations published in the McMillan report. We’ll be providing balancing ponds that are as effective as if the site was just a green field.

We will provide sufficient flood storage capacity in balancing ponds to cater for the 1 in 100-year event plus 20% allowance for climate change.

This means that the run-off from the airport will not be any more than it would be if there was just a greenfield site at Gatwick.

Also, the proposed corridors for the River Mole and Crawter's Brook are deeper and wider in accordance with best practice advice from the Environment Agency.

This means that when there is an extreme weather event, they have extra capacity to store water, and slow the rate of flow. 
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