Date published: 20th October 2016

Responding to a leaked memo from Camilla Cavendish in which the former Prime Minister's policy chief stated the Government was "exposed on Heathrow where we don't yet have an answer on air quality" 

Gatwick's Chief Executive Stewart Wingate said:

“This is a highly significant last minute intervention as it comes from the person who was in charge of policy in Downing Street until just a few weeks ago. She makes crystal clear that air quality will once again choke off airport expansion if Heathrow is chosen - and she is in a position to know. 

“It is exactly what happened in 2009 and the Government is in danger of making exactly the same mistake if it chooses Heathrow again.

“The Heathrow area currently breaches air quality levels. A new runway will mean millions of more car journeys to the airport and overly optimistic modelling used in the recent unpublished research attributed to Cambridge University won’t change that.

“Future forecasts are one thing, actual air quality levels are another. Recent research showed that 19 of 26 separate monitoring sites around Heathrow are over the legal limit with some up to 162% of legal NO2 limits.

“Heathrow cannot wish away its location nor will simply changing the modelling used to predict future air quality levels fix this problem. Unlike Heathrow, Gatwick has never breached legal air quality levels and can guarantee it will remain within these levels with construction and operation of a second runway. 

“Britain needs certainty after decades of delay. This leaked memo shows that can only mean Gatwick.”