England

Airport expansion: 'Countryside challenge' if Gatwick chosen

Aircraft on runway at Gatwick Image copyright PA
Image caption The government is due to announce "shortly" which airport would get the go-ahead to expand

A legal challenge will be on the cards if Gatwick Airport is given permission to expand, the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has warned.

Its Sussex and Surrey branches, along with 16 local action groups, have written to the prime minister to say they are prepared to fight a decision.

They said "the destruction of wildlife, tranquillity, dark night skies and clean air" could not be justified.

A decision on airport expansion in the South East is expected shortly.

The shortlisted options being considered by the government are a third runway at Heathrow, extending Heathrow's existing northern runway, or building a second runway at Gatwick.

Gatwick has previously pledged to minimise the impact on the environment if expansion is granted.

The letter to Theresa May urges her to "be smart about future growth and prosperity".

"Gatwick expansion is not just about a runway, it comes with huge baggage that would destroy the very landscapes we seek to protect and promote for future generations," the campaigners said.

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