Cross-party group of 11 London councils calls on Theresa May to back Gatwick expansion

William Turvill
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A British Airways passenger plane comes
London mayor Sadiq Khan also backed Gatwick expansion on Wednesday (Source: Getty)

A cross-party group of 11 London councils is urging the Prime Minister to back Gatwick expansion over Heathrow.

In a letter to Theresa May, the councils said there is a “broad and growing consensus behind Gatwick expansion” and pledged to work with ministers to support the “bold and ambitious project”.

Their backing comes after mayor of London Sadiq Khan this week also called on May to opt for a second runway at Gatwick over Heathrow expansion.

Read more: Business pushes government on airport decision after Gatwick's record month

“Your government’s backing would also send a powerful and timely message to investors around the world that London is an ambitious and growing city with real confidence in its future,” the councils said.

The councils highlighted the fact there have been a “succession of failed attempts to increase capacity at Heathrow” over the last 20 years.

“History has taught us that this airport’s location within a densely populated part of west London makes further expansion impossible,” they said. “The environmental impacts, legal barriers, taxpayer costs and political opposition are just too great to overcome.

“We now know that Gatwick expansion offers a similar economic stimulus to Heathrow but with no cost to the public purse and a fraction of the environmental upheaval. It does not face the same legal obstacles and would create a more balanced, resilient and competitive airports network rather than putting all of our eggs in the Heathrow basket.”

Read more: Khan calls on PM to back Gatwick as government still silent on aviation

The councils, which represent 2.8m Londoners, are: Croydon, Hammersmith & Fulham, Hillingdon, Kensington & Chelsea, Kingston, Lambeth, Lewisham, Merton, Richmond, Southwark and Wandsworth. Five are Conservative and the other six are Labour-run.

They said: “If your government selects Gatwick as the location for a new runway you can be assured of immediate and constructive support from this cross-party group of councils. We will work in partnership with you, your ministers, Gatwick and the London Mayor to support the airport’s growth and to unlock the benefits it offers across the skills, employment, transport, regeneration, housing and inward investment agendas.”

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