Secret plans to build a new runway at Gatwick airport instead of one at Heathrow or Stansted have been revealed.
BAA, which has been ordered by the Competition Commision to sell Gatwick, has told bidders in a confidential report that such an expansion would be possible, in a bid to boost the asking price.The BAA report includes a map showing a new runway, which it claims could increase capacity at Gatwick from 45 million passengers a year to 80 million.
Approximately 300 homes would have to be demolished to make way for the runway, along with further noise pollution to a wider residential area.
Planners claim the impact of an extra runway at Gatwick would be less severe than at Heathrow, where 118,000 more residents would be affected by increased noise.
The Competition Commission yesterday told the Government not to rule out a new runway at Gatwick.
It said: “[The Government] should ensure that the Âaviation national policy Âstatement should give consideration to the ambitions of the new owner of Gatwick Âairport, including the Âpossibility of a second runway after 2019.”