Gatwick could cause ‘commuter misery’

Brighton Railway Station
Brighton Railway Station

"Misery” for Brighton to London commuters if Gatwick goes ahead.

A group opposed to possible Gatwick Airport expansion has said if it goes ahead, it will cause “misery” to commuters on the Brighton to London railway line.

This comes as Brighton and Hove City Council expressed its support for an expansion at Gatwick.

The group said 51,000 people commute by train from Sussex to London each day, and the airport expansion would put extra pressure on the Brighton to London route.

Sally Pavey, chair of CAGNE (Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions), said: “By backing Gatwick expansion, Brighton and Hove City Council has condemned each of those people to even more misery than they are already subjected to. Gatwick plan on the number of passengers arriving at the airport by rail to almost treble. That means less space and more delays for Brighton commuters, an anticipated 90,000 extra passengers on the network daily. Why is Brighton council planning to inflict even worse daily transport misery on hardworking commuters?”

She quotes the recent National Rail Sussex Route Study of 2015 (SRS), which estimates passenger numbers on the Brighton Main Line (BML) will increase by 115 per cent by 2043 for those travelling to London Bridge, and 34 per cent to Victoria. It said there would be serious capacity problems overall by 2024.

If the second runway is approved, and is operational by 2025, 70 million (currently 40 million) air passengers would pass through Gatwick a year.

With an estimated 50 per cent using public transport, Ms Pavey said an average of 2,750 additional passengers would use the Brighton Main Line.

Warren Morgan, leader of Brighton and Hove City Council, said: “The potential benefits of a second runway at Gatwick for the city, local businesses and residents are enormous in terms of jobs, apprenticeships and economic growth. And expansion at Gatwick would also mean greater investment in the London to Brighton rail line. Gatwick Airport expects rail capacity to be tripled by 2030, with double the frequency of trains.”