Opponents of Gatwick Airport’s plans to bring its emergency runway back into regular use have expressed their concerns.
West Sussex Airport hopes to double its capacity to 78 million passengers using the existing northern airport.
Campaigners said the expansion would help Gatwick’s growth but there would be “very few” benefits for local communities or the area.
The airport says the development will boost the region’s economy by £1 billion and create 14,000 new jobs.
Opponents of the plan say it would be impossible to expand airports at the same time as trying to hit net zero carbon emissions targets.
Surrey County Councilor Jonathan Essex said the extension would mean “100,000 more flights and one million tonnes more carbon”.
“If we accept that you need to deal with climate change, and we have to do it now, you have to stop expanding airports,” he said.
Sally Pavey, chair of Gatwick’s noise and emissions group, said she did not believe planners would reject the application, so much money was being poured into the legal battle.
She said: “Gatwick is saying it will bring jobs and economic benefits, but aviation and low-cost airlines are moving towards automation.” Jobs are shrinking.
“This benefits Gatwick, very little for local communities.
It really slaps us in the face to cut our carbon footprint, which we are all trying to do.
According to Gatwick’s website, operating as a two-runway airport “opens up new capabilities and allows for more efficient and defensive operations”.
“If approved, the £2.2bn privately managed scheme will be one of the largest capital investment projects in the region for decades,” he said.
Chief Executive Stuart Wingate added: “The Northern Airport Plan will help secure the long-term future of the airport and ensure economic prosperity for thousands of families, businesses and future generations in the region.
“We are confident that our plans are economically and environmentally sound.”