People in the South East will help shape the plans for Gatwick's proposed second runway, the airport has said.

The proposal is one of three Airports Commission options for expanding UK airport capacity. The other two involve building at Heathrow.

A six-week consultation starts on 4 April with 16 exhibitions in towns and villages in Kent, Sussex and Surrey.

Gatwick Airport said it wanted to get opinions on its three runway options to help "refine and improve" them.

'Essential element'

Gatwick runway options

All runways would be 3.4km (2.1 miles) long:

  • Option 1 - New runway 585m south of the existing runway, with one runway used for landings and the other used for take-offs
  • Option 2 - New runway 1,045m south of the existing runway, with one runway used for landings and the other used for take-offs, and a new terminal between the runways
  • Option 3 - Same as Option 2 but with both runways used for landings and take-offs

Letters are to be sent to homes and businesses in the three counties giving details of the events.

Questions within the consultation will cover a range of topics including environmental, economic and social considerations.

Stewart Wingate, CEO of London Gatwick, said: "The views of the local community are an essential element of shaping Gatwick's second runway options.

"Therefore it is important we hear from as many people as possible through our consultation so that we can consider local opinions in our refined runway proposals."

The exhibitions will be held in Crawley, Rusper, Smallfield, Ifield, Lingfield, Horsham, Crowborough, East Grinstead, Reigate, Crawley Down, Horley, Charlwood, Dorking, Edenbridge, Felbridge, Epsom.