Gatwick Airport Expansion Plans

Speech at Eastbourne Borough Full Council Meeting


Gatwick airport have requested Eastbourne Council’s support for their plans to expand the airport capacity from 46 to 80 million passengers a year. Eastbourne’s Scrutiny Committee met with representative of Gatwick Airport to question them over their plans.

The Recommendation of the Scrutiny Committee to the Full Council was as follows:

1. Makes any support for Gatwick Airport’s Northern Runway Project conditional on Gatwick Airport’s production and pursuit of a credible plan, in partnership with its Scope 3 stakeholders, to work towards carbon neutrality across its Scope 3 emissions by 2030.

2. Calls on any Government to mandate a faster transition to low-carbon aircraft fuels, and to provide meaningful support to the fuel industry, airlines, manufacturers and other aviation industry stakeholders to achieve this.

Speech by David Everson: Chair EEAN Transport Group to the Full Council

The Scrutiny Committee propose you let the airlines and Gatwick airport  work towards carbon neutrality by 2030 and that you encourage government to support a faster transition to sustainable flying.

On the Gatwick Website it states that the UK Sustainable Aviation Industry has a road map for net zero by 2050 not 2030!

The government’s own official advisor, the Climate Change Commission, has stated ‘that the 6th Carbon Budget set for the government will be breached if net airport expansion is not significantly constrained.’

What is special about the 6th Carbon Budget? It covers the period 2033 -2037. Why will the Carbon budget be breached? Because for the first time the UK will have to start to include all the CO2e emitted by international flights leaving the UK.

The Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy, this month, published the UK’s Greenhouse gases emissions. It showed that the UK produced 427 million tonnes of CO2e, of this the airline industry was responsible for about 2% of the emissions due primarily to domestic flights.

It is important to note these figures do not include any international aviation emissions for flights leaving the UK. If they were, it would add another 37M tonnes of CO2e to the total, this would bring the total figure for aviation to a staggering 10% of all the UK’s annual emissions.

So the CCC are saying to the Government do not allow airports to expand if you want to meet your Carbon budget.

What about improvements to make the aviation industry more sustainable

Sustainable fuel for example.. – At the World Economic Forum in Davos January this year, the corporate signatories of ‘Clean Skies for Tomorrow’ pledged to…… ‘achieve sustainable aviation fuel blend of 10% in global jet fuel supply by 2030. … That means by 2030 – 90% of aviation fuel will still be  fossil fuels!

The International Energy Authority (IEA) commented in Sept 2022 – ‘renewable synthetic Kerosene is relatively far from commercialisation’

What about improved Aircraft Design

The International Energy Authority (IEA) in Sept 22 talks about better aircraft designs reducing GHG emissions but state… ‘New aircraft are more efficient – but this has been insufficient to keep up with growth demand’.

What about Economics

I think the expansion of Gatwick airport will harm Eastbourne’s economy by allowing more Brits to travel abroad rather than staying in the UK to holiday.


I ask you to publicly and strongly reject Gatwick’s request to support their expansion. To do otherwise would make your declaration of Carbon Neutral 2030 a sham!

The Aviation Industry is not sustainable and will not be for at least a quarter of a century.

David Everson: Chair EEAN Transport Group to the Full Council



Is One Planet Living possible in Eastbourne?

This blog post is by Andrew Durling, Executive Director of the Eastbourne Eco Action Network CIC. The views he expresses here are his alone and not the official view of the Eastbourne Eco Action Network as a whole:

Eastbourne is striving to become a Carbon Neutral town by 2030 so it can do its fair share of dealing with the Climate Emergency. This does, of course, involve reducing the town’s carbon emissions significantly and quickly, but in a sustainable way that doesn’t damage the town’s economy. The town’s carbon emissions fell dramatically in 2020 due to economic activity dramatically falling during the lockdown restrictions. That kind of unplanned carbon reduction was not sustainable and the lockdown caused much economic hardship despite saving many lives and preventing the NHS from collapsing. As soon as lockdown restrictions were removed, economic activity bounced back and carbon emissions rose again sharply.

But what does it mean to have a ‘sustainable’ town anyway? And what do we end up with if Eastbourne does become Carbon Neutral in a sustainable way? In short, what is the big picture, and how do we communicate that in a way which engages all parts of our local community and ensures a truly communal response to the ultimate communal challenge of climate change? These are the sorts of questions that I have been grappling with since a Climate Emergency was declared by Eastbourne Borough Council in July 2019.

I think part of the answer lies in creating a story about what ‘sustainability’ really means and telling that story in a way that is simple, clear, and easy to understand.  Now I’m not clever enough to create such a story, but I know some people who are. They created the One Planet Living framework to explain what sustainability really means and how it can be achieved.

Furthermore that framework can be visually explored through an interactive mindmap – created on the platform – that shows all the interconnections and interdependencies between the different kinds of actions that together lead to a town that sustainably lives within the ecological boundaries of this planetary home of ours.

I have started to create such a mindmap for the Eastbourne Carbon Neutral 2030 campaign, which can be interacted with online, but a screengrab of the current state of the mindmap is here:

The mindmap is composed of nodes representing outcomes, actions, and indicators for monitoring progress. The lines between various nodes represent the ways in which the nodes are related to each other in a web of complementary  and mutually reinforcing interactions. Clicking on any one of the nodes opens up access to information and data about that node. I have created this mindmap using a free account on, but my plan is to scale up the mindmap with a subscription to a much better featured account so I can put a lot more detail on the mindmap and transform it into a powerful way of monitoring progress towards the 2030 target. I also hope that other individuals or groups in Eastbourne will be interested in creating their own mindmaps and linking them up with each other so that we can all see what is being done in Eastbourne and how they contribute towards the ultimate goal of a town that lives within the limits of this one planet

I did this to demonstrate how the campaign could be presented in a clear, engaging way that shows how the 10 principles of One Planet Living need to be combined and applied in a joined-up way to effectively deliver a town that is not only Carbon Neutral in the narrow sense of the word (ie. emitting no more carbon that it can offset within its own boundaries) but also truly sustainable as an economy and society that can live within planetary boundaries (which is the only way to ensure that the town can stay carbon neutral over the long-term anyway).

Furthermore, these 10 principles also demonstrate how achieving genuine sustainability results in a much better quality of life for all, with very welcome outcomes such as cleaner air, adequate supplies of clean water, flourishing local wildlife, growing numbers of green jobs and businesses, etc. These outcomes are the practical results of actions that increase sustainability and are desirable outcomes regardless of where people stand with regards to the Climate Emergency in particular. In other words, the One Planet Living framework provides a story within which the mechanics of meeting the 2030 carbon neutral target can be embedded within a much wider, more inspirational vision of creating the kind of sustainable yet prosperous society we’d all like to live in.








Driving to Airbourne

In Eastbourne Borough Council’s commitment to a carbon neutral 2030 one of the most contentious sources is Airbourne. An issue where some councillors have resigned. However their recently published report, on the event’s 2022 carbon footprint, showed that 96% was down to ‘audience’ travel. Whereas very little was linked to the aircraft

During the event the council undertook a survey of 710 people. They found 74% came by private car. Using Kolin Schunks carbon tool these journeys accounted for 95% of all the ‘travel’ CO2e. This being 91% of the CO2e for everything at Airbourne.

To be fair 2022 was not typical and due to industrial action had less rail travel but the clear message is, even in a ‘normal’ year, most carbon will be down to private car trips.

People might think that with more electric vehicles the carbon footprint will become very much less. However EVs with low mileage have big manufacture and disposal carbon footprints. With a trend for being ever larger and 15% heavier, than the fossil fuel equivalent, they are not the solution for everything and they still take up the same road space

Then with the raw data it was possible to have a ‘rough and ready’ estimate for traffic. Where assuming up to 10km was driven in Eastbourne and within 40km in East Sussex. This showed only 13%, of the total distance driven, is within Eastbourne and a further 21% elsewhere in East Sussex. So most of the event’s CO2e is not directly linked to the Eastbourne area.

Below are some of the measures that would reduce car trips. Experts suggest it is not enough to only use ‘pull’ measures like cycle and bus lanes. There has to be ‘push’ measures, which are equally important for the rest of the year.

Graphic from TUMI


So in conclusion, if Eastbourne wants to reduce the carbon footprint for Airbourne, they need to discourage car trips. They would have to implement measures such as car bans, higher parking charges and tighter parking management. The question is does anyone have the commitment to do this?

Paul Humphreys – Transport Group