Skip to main content
Case Study

Case Study - Gatwick Airport

Gatwick Airport: Northern Runway DCO

The Brief
SEC Newgate UK has worked with Gatwick Airport for a number of years supporting its proposals for growth. This has included conducting consultations on a potential second runway in 2014, the Airport’s draft masterplan in 2018 and its Northern Runway Project in 2021.

The scale and significance of the Northern Runway Project, which would involve bringing the Airport’s Northern Runway into routine use, required consultation across a wide and varied region. The country was also emerging from social distancing requirements at the time we were planning the consultation.

While it was possible to meet in person, many people remained uncomfortable about the prospect of attending large scale events. This means we had to innovate to deliver an inclusive and wide-ranging consultation.

Our Solution and the Outcomes


We used a combination of traditional, in-person consultation techniques and virtual engagement methods honed during the COVID-19 pandemic to encourage participation by a wide range of audiences.

These included:

- Organising visits by a Mobile Project Office to more than 30 locations across the region.
This was designed to make consultation materials available and help signpost people towards the different ways they could take part in the consultation.

- Holding ‘Call the Expert’ events online and by telephone.
These offered people the opportunity to speak one-to-one with relevant technical experts from the project team, allowing them to have the same in-depth consultation they would have online.

- Hosting online events with more than 350 stakeholder groups, including all-member events at 10 local authorities across the region.
These provided an opportunity for these groups to ask questions about the proposals and for the Airport to reach a wide range of groups efficiently.

- Directly targeting high-footfall locations such as the Airport’s departure lounge and train stations
across the region with i-pad canvassers to encourage responses from people who might not normally take part in the consultation.

We also conducted a dedicated programme of engagement with ‘hard to reach’ groups across the region. This included interviewing a range of community and accessibility organisations prior to the consultation to allow us to incorporate their insights into our strategy.


More than 7,500 people engaged with one or more of channels established as part of the consultation and more than 5,000 responded to the consultation. Gatwick Airport is currently preparing a Development Consent Order (DCO) application for submission later in 2022.

Key contacts

Meet the team working with Gatwick Airport supporting its proposals for growth.

Related thinking

Related news and insights from our community engagement and transportation specialists.