To consider report PES/323cof the Head of Economy and Planning.
RECOMMENDATION: NO OBJECTION
The Committee considered report PES/323(c) of the Head of Economy and Planning which proposed as follows:
Consultation From Gatwick Airport Limited For A Rapid Exit Taxiway (RET) To Runway 26L.
The Principal Planning Officer (HW) advised the Committee that, following publication of the report further responses had been received and whilst it was noted some of the statements duplicated those already received, the comments when summarised included:
· Concerns raised on the increased capacity of passengers and flights and subsequent impact to roads and environment.
· Passenger numbers at the airport had already increased beyond 45mppa.
· Nearby villages would be affected.
· Lack of infrastructure proposal provided by the airport.
· Requests that the local planning authority re-consider the Environmental Impact Assessment.
· Proposal was contrary to the Local Plan policy.
A verbal summation of the application was then provided. The Principal Planning Officer advised the Committee that further updates had been provided from Gatwick Airport Limited (GAL) regarding traffic movements on the M23/spur road and the number of “go-arounds” recorded between April-June due to the runway being occupied.
The recommendation was updated to suggest that the council did not object to the proposal and that all comments received would be submitted to GAL along with the Committee’s decision.
Mr Aidan Zeall (CAGNE), Mr Charles Lloyd (GACC) and Mr Richard Streatfeild (High Weald Councils Aviation Action Group) all addressed the meeting in objection to the proposal. Some of the objections raised reflected those detailed in the report especially those relating to the increased impact on roads, rail and cargo with a lack of (green) infrastructure proposals. It was argued that there was a need for further scrutiny, through a requirement for a full planning application and there was overwhelming concern to reduce the number of “go-arounds” and amount of CO2, along with the need to address the impact on the countryside, environment and communities.
The Committee then considered the consultation response, including the comments raised by the speakers. In particular, some Councillors raised concerns regarding air quality, the effect on housing and employment, whilst acknowledging that in July 2019 Full Council declared a Climate Emergency. Reservations were also made regarding the impact that additional passengers and cargo could have on road and rail systems. Further clarification was sought on the figures for the net reduction of “go-arounds”. Other Councillors commented that whilst the environmental issues were important, on balance the proposal was not felt to have a detrimental effect and the decision must be taken on the consultation before them. It was added that the majority of local authority consultees had not submitted comments, with only one commenting whilst the proposal may result in a very small noise increase, it may be safer and more efficient and that on balance there was no objection.
In response to the various planning issues and concerns raised by the Committee, the Principal Planning Officer:
· Confirmed the proposal was a planning consultation by GAL in respect of permitted development rights. These rights under Class F were subject to a condition requiring GAL to consult with the local planning authority before carrying out any development.
· Clarified that the local planning authority had consulted with all adjoining district and county authorities.
· Stated that it would be critical for the Committee to assess the impact of the taxiway.
· Confirmed that the proposal was not EIA development. This had been confirmed by the screening opinion issued in May 2019 by the local planning authority.
· Acknowledged that the proposal had the potential to increase the number of passengers beyond 45mppa as set out within the current Crawley Borough Local Plan 2015-2030. However this was now in conflict with the Government’s more recently published “Beyond the Horizon, Making the Best use of Existing Runways”. And that the change in Government policy was reflected in the emerging draft Crawley Borough Local Plan 2020-2035 policy.
· All comments made and received would be submitted to GAL together with the Committee’s decision.
Councillor Irvine moved that a recorded vote be taken on the recommendation in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 25.5. It was moved by Councillor P Smith, seconded by Councillor Purdy that the recommendation be amended as follows: That the Council did not object to the proposal, that the comments made and received from consultees be submitted to GAL, with additional comments from the committee relating to reservations about the potential impact of the taxiway on the road system, in terms of additional flights and related passenger and cargo movements. Councillors were also concerned about the likelihood of net reductions in go-arounds being achieved and felt that there was a perception locally that go-arounds had increased in recent months.
Councillor Irvine accepted the amendment and in so doing, the names of the Members voting for and against that proposal (to raise no objection to the proposal, with further submission of additional comments), along with any abstentions, were recorded as set out below:
For the Proposal:
Councillors Irvine, Malik, Purdy and P Smith (4).
Against the Proposal:
Councillors Hart, Jaggard and Thomas (3).
The proposal (to raise no objection to the proposal, with further submission of the additional comments) was therefore CARRIED, and it was
No objection be raised to the proposal, with further submission of additional comments (referencing those above) to GAL together with the Committee’s decision.