The benefits of expansion at a fraction of the environmental impact

We all want growth in the economy, and expanding runway capacity in the South East can help achieve that. But now more than ever we’ve got to consider the environmental costs of the decisions we make.

A new runway at Gatwick can deliver the economic benefits of expansion at a fraction of the cost and environmental impact of either of the Heathrow alternatives especially when it comes to noise.

Airport expansion is a significant issue for local communities but as the debate enters its final stages, thousands of residents are likely to be unaware their lives could be blighted by Heathrow expansion. Over 320,000 people – a population the size of Coventry - would be newly affected by noise across Berkshire, West London and Surrey.

Other new areas that would be flown over include the densely populated London boroughs of Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea, Westminster and Richmond upon Thames.


At Gatwick we have never shied away from the fact that expansion will mean more noise, which is why we have pledged to deliver the most progressive approach to compensation proposed by any major infrastructure project in the UK. 

Gatwick remains the only deliverable solution – expanding Gatwick will give London two world-class airports, allowing Heathrow to get better but not bigger and avoiding hundreds of thousands more people being newly affected by noise.

In comparison to the 320,000 newly affected people in the Heathrow-affected area, only 18,000 people would be additionally affected by noise if Gatwick built a new runway.



We understand why people who live near airports are worried about them expanding.

Their homes are already affected by noise and we understand that expansion has the potential to make all of this worse.

So at Gatwick, we take very seriously our obligations to our community and the environment.

This is why:

  • we have announced the most innovative noise insulation scheme for any airport in Europe, offering hundreds more homes in Surrey, Sussex and Kent up to £3,000 towards double glazing and loft insulation. Over 40% more homes will be protected from noise than are covered with the old scheme
  • we have introduced an initiative so that all households most affected by noise from a second runway at Gatwick would receive annual compensation equivalent to Band A Council Tax (currently £1000) if and when the runway becomes operational
  • we would introduce a noise contour cap of 70kmsq covering 15,000 people experiencing 57decibels LEQ noise and a wider contour cap of 175kmsq covering 40,000 people experiencing 55 decibels LDN. These limits would materially affect how a two runway Gatwick would operate in the future and would be an important consideration in the annual planning cycle around flight paths and aircraft flight frequency
  • we work with the aircraft industry to welcome new, quieter - often larger - planes to Gatwick, whenever we can. We have one of the quietest fleets of aircraft in Europe.


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