A government decision to halt the expansion of airports in the south-east of England could cost the British economy as much as £47 billion over the next 50 years, according to a report commissioned by Gatwick Airport.
Released by FTI Consulting on behalf of the property, the report argues “if there is no spare capacity the UK could be left behind other European countries that have much more capacity”.
The report also noted “the notion ‘rebalancing the economy’ will occur by stifling investment in the south-east is misguided and potentially damaging”.
The report argues, because the south-east is the “engine” of the UK, stifling its growth will stifle UK growth.
Stewart Wingate, Gatwick Airport chief executive said: “The report is a timely reminder of the important role aviation plays in supporting economic growth and recovery.
“There is a growing consensus amongst the industry that capacity in the south-east is an issue.
“This is supported by the report which notes the conclusion from the DfT’s own projections airport capacity at Gatwick and across the South East will fill up by 2030.”
The Conservative-led coalition government has ruled out additional capacity at Gatwick, Heathrow, and Stansted Airports.
Instead, High Speed Rail II is designed to reduce demand for air travel in the UK, while the government has argued better use of existing facilities will boost capacity in UK aviation.
“We support the view expressed in the report that the future aviation policy should review safeguarding plans outlined for the seven UK airports in the 2003 White Paper,” added Wingate.
“We will continue to safeguard land in partnership with local authorities in the event that if Gatwick needs a new runway it would be possible to build one.
“We have no current plans to do so and are committed to upholding the legal agreement which prohibits the construction of an additional runway before 2019 but the requirement on airports to safeguard land must be upheld.”