Capacity-stretched Gatwick Airport has formally started the process to bring its existing northern runway into routine use by submitting a notice to the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) of its intention to prepare an application for development consent.
This moves establishes the ‘Gatwick Airport Northern Runway’ project on the PINS website and is the first step in the Development Consent Order (DCO) application process. If granted, it would give Gatwick a second runway and provide much-needed capacity.
Next month, the airport will submit a ‘Scoping Request’ to PINS, which sets out the proposed approach and key issues to be included within the process.
Following the publication of its master plan in July, Gatwick announced it would prepare a planning application known as a DCO – through a rigorous statutory process.
The application is to bring the airport’s existing northern runway (also known as the standby runway) into routine use for smaller, departing aircraft alongside the main runway by the mid-2020s.
Gatwick Airport is the world’s busiest single runway airport in the world and handled 46.1 million passengers in 2018, but lost out to Heathrow Airport last year over a battle to get permission to build an extra runway, when the UK government voted in favour of a third runway at the hub over a second at Gatwick.
Gatwick’s chief planning officer, Tim Norwood said: “As the biggest private investments in our region for many years, the start of the process to use our existing Northern Runway is a significant milestone. This project has the capacity to offer significant local economic benefits, new jobs and an exciting future for the region.
“As we take our plans forward, we are committed to working in partnership with our local communities, councils and partners to ensure we grow sustainably and present information in a clear and transparent way, including a more detailed stage of public consultation on the project next year.”
The first stages in the DCO process involve Gatwick carrying out surveys and preparing detailed environmental information on the Northern Runway plans later this year. A public consultation will be held next year, after which further updates to the plans will be incorporated.
An application for development consent will then be made to PINS, who will examine the application and provide a recommendation to the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State will then make a decision.