Gatwick's proposals for a second runway and a new terminal building at the airport have won the backing of East Sussex County Council.

The council's lead member for economy, Rupert Simmons, pledged the authority’s support for the third of three options for expansion put forward by Gatwick Airport Limited (GAL), and on which the airport is consulting, at a meeting at County Hall, Lewes, on Tuesday (June 3).

Coun Simmons said the plan, which would see a new runway built 1,045 metres south of the existing runway and a new terminal built between the two, would support economic growth and job creation in East Sussex.

Coun Simmons said: “We had previously given our backing to the idea of a second runway and we believe this particular option is the best way forward.

“It will support our key priority of economic growth in East Sussex by providing better links for business to trade across the globe, as well as encouraging inward investment, securing new jobs and attracting more tourists.”

He continued: “Our support is dependent on improvements to surrounding transport links and the necessary infrastructure needed for the airport expansion. “This will directly benefit East Sussex residents and businesses.”

The council stated the option it is supporting would see both runways used for arrivals and departures, placed far enough apart to allow independent operation.

It added that this would ensure the runways are used to their maximum potential for passenger use, while the scheme would also create the most jobs of the three options - up to 17,500 new posts created by 2050 to 2051.

Gatwick was included in the Airports Commission’s short-list of potential locations for the next runway in the UK, published last December. GAL said responses received during the initial public consultation period, which ended last month, would be used to refine the plans for the second runway, and help it decide which option to put forward for further consideration by the Airports Commission. GAL submitted its proposals to the Airports Commission last month.

A Gatwick Airport spokesman said the public consultation had made it clear that the plans were a “work in progress,” that figures would be refined as more detailed options were worked up, as required by the Airports Commission, that a report of consultation for submission to the Airports Commission would be prepared next month, taking account of local people’s views raised during the consultation, and that a formal consultation will be run by the Commission later this year, giving local people the opportunity to submit their views.

He said: “Further consultations will also take place if Gatwick is selected as the location for a new runway.” The three second runway options GAL is consulting on are: Option 1 - a new runway 585m south of the existing runway, Option 2 - a new runway 1,045m to the south, and Option 3 – a new runway also 1,045m to the south, but with the two runways being used independently. Under Options 1 or 2, one runway would used for landings and the other for take-offs. Under Options 2 or 3, a new terminal would also be built between the runways. Gatwick has established Option 3 as the preferred first choice. The Airports Commission focused on this option for last December’s Interim Report, describing it as offering “the greatest increase in capacity while still having relatively low environmental and noise impacts compared with some other potential sites.”

It continued: “The Commission will, however, keep this under review as it takes forward more detailed development and appraisal. “ The proposal also includes related new terminal facilities and taxiways between the new and existing runways.”