Ed Balls, the former Shadow Chancellor, gave the keynote speech at Gatwick’s Transport Forum on Friday.
The event is designed to create an integrated approach to transport provision across the region and around 150 transport service providers and manufacturers, local authority transport officers and community representatives attended.
The audience received updates on major projects, including the M23 Smart Motorway upgrade, plans to redevelop Gatwick’s train station and initiatives to promote shared transport services and electric vehicles.
Gatwick also issued a call for redoubled collaboration and innovation between the airport and the region’s transport providers to ensure the transport network will be “net zero emissions ready” in line with the Government’s 2050 target.
The airport has a commitment to provide sustainable travel choices and reduce the environmental impacts of journeys to and from the airport and highlighted its target of getting 48% of passengers to the airport by public transport by 2022.
It also announced that 44% of passengers were already using public transport – 38% by train and 6% by bus or coach – and that 43% of staff commute to work using sustainable forms of transport.
Ed Balls, former Shadow Chancellor, said: “Airports are a cornerstone of our economy, contributing new jobs, business relationships and tourism. I am delighted to attend Gatwick’s Transport Forum and fully support its aim of creating a truly integrated regional transport system so that passengers can get on and off the airport as efficiently and easily as possible.”
Emma Rees, Head of Real Estate and Surface Transport, Gatwick Airport, said: “As an airport we are determined to increase sustainable travel options by supporting transport initiatives that help to improve the environment.
“For example, we recently completed a £3.8 million upgrade to improve the quality of our bus facilities and we will start work on a £150 million upgrade to our train station, both of which will encourage more passengers and staff to use public transport.
“The Transport Forum is a great way for us to discuss these and other exciting initiatives. By having so many of our partners in one room, the event also helps us create a truly integrated approach to transport provision across the region.”