Conservation campaigners have said they believe a new runway at Gatwick Airport has been ruled out of a new Government national policy statement.

Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC), which is based in Charlwood, has said it believes a new runway at Gatwick - Britain's second biggest airport and the world's busiest single runway airport - is unlikely to feature in a draft white paper on sustainable aviation which is expected to be published this month (July).

GACC said the Government is expected to probably publish the draft white paper before the House rises for the summer break next Tuesday (July 17).

In a statement, GACC said ministers had said the draft white paper would not be ‘site specific,’ so GACC was not expecting any firm reference to a new Gatwick runway.

But the group said ministers had said that the final version of the white paper will become the ‘National Policy Statement’ for aviation.

GACC continued: “Since the London airports - Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, and Luton - are now, or soon will be, separately owned, it will be up to each airport whether, and when, they put in planning applications for a new runway.

“Under the 2008 Planning Act, such applications would be judged on the criteria laid down in the National Policy Statement.”

The group added: “There has been much speculation in the press about where new runways might be built, but the official forecasts show that the London airports will not be full until 2030, and it may be much later than that if the recession continues, or if the price of oil rises.

“Indeed, if official climate change targets for aviation are to be met, no new runways could be permitted before 2050.”

GACC chairman Brendon Sewill said: “The Government is also due to publish a consultation document on hub airports.”

Mr Sewill of Stan Hill, Charlwood, said: “ There is no way that Gatwick could become a hub airport – there is not sufficient space.

“Various airlines – Laker, British Caledonian, Dan Air and British Airways – all tried to operate Gatwick as a subsidiary hub to Heathrow, and all failed.”

He said: “The idea of a high speed rail link between Gatwick and Heathrow has been rejected as impracticable by both Gatwick Airport Limited (GAL) and British Airports Authority.”

Citing the current planning restriction in place on a new runway at Gatwick, he said: “It is sometimes suggested that investment in new infrastructure projects would provide employment and thus kick-start growth, but this does not apply at Gatwick, where construction of any new runway is ruled out before 2019.”

Mr Sewill added: “GAL have said recently that they have no plans for a new runway. “They know that, because of surrounding hills, towns and villages, there is no space to add any new runway which could operate efficiently.”

GACC, a voluntary association founded in 1968, has as its goals a steady reduction in noise and pollution from the airport, and other key aims including the protection of the environment around Gatwick, and keeping the airport within its present boundaries.

It is the main environmental body concerned with Gatwick and has as members about 100 borough, district and parish councils, covering about a 20-mile radius from the airport.