Gatwick Airport Northern Runway project

Gatwick Airport Limited (GAL) is seeking to bring its northern ‘standby’ runway, which is currently only used for emergency purposes or where the main runway is closed for maintenance, into routine operational use. This is referred to by the airport operator as the Gatwick Airport Northern Runway Project.

Given the significant scale of the Northern Runway Project, it is defined as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) to be determined by the Secretary of State through a process known as a Development Consent Order (DCO). The council is able to submit feedback into the DCO process in its statutory role as a host authority, working with our neighbours to scrutinise and steer GAL’s proposals to achieve the best outcomes from the project should it be consented to.

Further information on the DCO is provided on the Gatwick Airport website and details of the DCO process can be viewed on the Planning Inspectorate website.

Timeline of events

30 October 2023

Crawley Borough Council and the other nine local authorities surrounding Gatwick Airport have submitted their relevant representations regarding Gatwick Airport’s Northern Runway Project.

Crawley Borough council has released this statement:

“Gatwick Airport is a huge economic asset for the town. We support its continued development as a one runway, two terminal airport and are pleased that more long-haul routes have come to Gatwick – something that supports the Crawley economy and residents.

“However, we have a wide range of concerns with the airport’s Northern Runway Project, including the uncertainty regarding future economic benefits for residents, the airport’s ability to operate within acceptable and enforceable limits without causing environmental harm, the impacts of construction, air quality, traffic and a lack of active travel solutions.”


The 10 local authorities surrounding Gatwick Airport have released this joint statement:

“All 10 councils have independently submitted their relevant representations regarding Gatwick Airport’s Northern Runway Project (NRP).

“These include wide-ranging concerns and raise issues about the ability of the airport to operate within acceptable and enforceable limits without causing health and environmental harm. They include the need for appropriate noise limits, air quality concerns and the ability of transport networks to manage increased traffic, including by sustainable modes of travel. The concerns also include the need for adequate protection of heritage and ecology assets and to secure net zero on-airport greenhouse gas emissions. Further, the authorities want to ensure that the economic benefits that could arise from the project are secured for the areas surrounding Gatwick Airport and that growth does not give rise to negative impacts on employment, housing, and local services.

“These concerns will be addressed at a public examination into the NRP, which is likely to start in early 2024.”

3 August 2023

The Planning Inspectorate has accepted GAL's application for examination.

The 10 local authorities surrounding Gatwick Airport release this statement:

“We are disappointed that the Planning Inspectorate has this week decided to “accept” Gatwick Airport Limited’s (GAL) Development Consent Order (DCO) application for dual runway operations through the routine use of the existing northern runway for its detailed consideration and examination. We had raised significant concerns about Gatwick’s approach towards engagement and consultation with us and the wider local community and felt that further, more meaningful consultation should have taken place before the application was submitted. “Now the DCO application has been accepted, we will engage with the Planning Inspectorate with the many outstanding issues that are unresolved and without agreement across a wide range of issues. We believe this challenging situation will require significant resources from the local authorities to present its case on the many and varied environmental and economic impacts arising from the development and the associated growth of the airport. It is hoped that engagement and provision of information by GAL will improve as we approach examination to give confidence to all parties about the impacts of the proposals and enable the Secretary of State to make a robust decision.”

6 July 2023

GAL submits its Northern Runway DCO proposals to the Planning Inspectorate.