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The Gatwick Diamond is a name invented as a brand for a loosely defined economic area that surrounds Gatwick Airport, some 30 miles south of London.
The area stretches from the edge of London and the North Downs in the north to the edge of Brighton and the South Downs in the south, and from Horsham in the west to East Grinstead in the east. It benefits from two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty: the Surrey Hills and the South Downs National Park. It has an area of some 400 square miles and a population of 680,000; its economy generates £20.7bn GDP. 12 million people live within one hour's drive. There are 406,000 economically active people in the Gatwick Diamond; 81% of the working age population is economically active. 74% of Gatwick Diamond workers are residents (annual population survey 2011). The unemployment level is very low at 1.4%. The Gatwick Diamond is home to 45,000 businesses including many UK and European Headquarters. Some of these companies are: Unilever, Exxon Mobil, Toyota, Doosan, Thales Group, Varian Medical Systems, Elekta, Nestle, EDF Energy, Edwards Vacuum, Canon Inc. and G4S. It also contains the Manor Royal Business Park – the largest business park in the UK, housing 550 businesses and employing around 35,000 people.
The Gatwick Diamond Initiative is a business-led private/public partnership that was established in April 2003 to improve the economic performance of the area. It now includes seven local borough/district councils (Horsham, Crawley, Mid Sussex, Tandridge, Reigate & Banstead, Mole Valley and Epsom & Ewell) and two county councils (West Sussex and Surrey), as well as a range of private sector partners.
One of its first actions was to arrange a meeting of the principal stakeholders (both public and private sector) to determine what actions could be taken to improve the economic performance of the area. Business leaders considered that the first priority should be to give the area an image and identity. The Initiative therefore launched the "Gatwick Diamond" on 15 July 2004. Since then the term "Gatwick Diamond" has achieved widespread recognition and acceptance. It was first referred to in parliament by Nicholas Soames, MP for Mid Sussex, on 13 Jun 2006. The Gatwick Diamond Initiative lobbies government and the public sector on issues that prevent businesses in the area from growing; they encourage international trade; promote, attract and help UK and foreign inward investors looking to locate in the area; campaign on issues such as Air Passenger Duty, Gatwick's second runway and the Gatwick Express; and encourage the three Further Education colleges at Redhill, Crawley and Epsom to work together with the University of Brighton and University for the Creative Arts to provide Higher and Further Education to meet business needs.
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The Gatwick Diamond area is situated directly south of London and covers the east of Surrey and northwest of Sussex. The heart of the area is 30 miles from Central London. By rail, the Gatwick Express can get to Central London in 30 minutes. Gatwick Airport is situated at the centre of the Gatwick Diamond and is a nominal 1 hour's drive from Heathrow Airport, subject to frequent delays on the M25. The Gatwick Diamond is within 1 hour from the sea ports of Shoreham and Newhaven and 90 minutes from Dover, Southampton and Portsmouth sea ports. By road, the M23 bisects the Gatwick Diamond and is just 10 minutes from the M25. By bus, the Metrobus Fastway service takes many employees in the Gatwick Diamond to their workplace; coaches leave Gatwick to reach 400 UK towns and cities. The Gatwick Diamond is an economic area worth £20.7bn GDP (growing at 3% per year), with a population of 680,000.
Gatwick Airport has 48 airlines which fly to 200 destinations, more than any other UK airport. The airport connects to 45 out of 50 top European destinations and over half of the world’s emerging markets. In 2014, the airport had 38.6 million passengers pass through it. This contributes towards Gatwick being the busiest single-runway airport in the world. The airport's railway station was used by 18 million passengers in 2015-16, making it the busiest airport station in the UK.
The Gatwick Diamond Business Association
The Gatwick Diamond Business Association (until 2012, the Crawley and District Industry Association) offers networking opportunities at its monthly members' meetings. It operates like the other membership organisations in the area such as the Chambers of Commerce, Sussex Enterprise and Surrey Chambers of Commerce and the Federation of Small Businesses, but concentrates on the Gatwick Diamond area. It also delivers the Gatwick Diamond Business Awards.
- Gatwick Diamond Business Association
- Sussex Chamber of Commerce
- Surrey Chambers of Commerce
- Crawley & Gatwick Chamber of Commerce
- Manor Royal Business District Association
- Epsom & Ewell Business Partnership
- Leatherhead & District Chamber of Commerce
- Dorking Chamber of Commerce
- Horsham Chambers of Commerce
- Burgess Hill Business Parks Association
- Haywards heath & District Business Association
- Reigate Business Guild
- Horley & District Chamber of Commerce