Caroline Spelman says Birmingham Airport’s introduction of trial flight paths has risked permanently damaging relations with nearby residents
Caroline Spelman, MP for Meriden, has said that Birmingham Airport’s poor handling of the introduction of new flight paths has risked permanently damaging relations with nearby residents. After the runway extension was completed, new flight paths were tested from May 2014 and people newly overflown were not treated well; they were not listened to and their suggestions were ignored. More than 2,000 residents living near the airport signed a petition, saying their lives were being made a misery by the aircraft noise. People around the airport have now lost trust in it, and this will take a lot to restore. Mrs Spelman said many in the local community had traditionally supported the airport, but this was changing due to the bad feeling created by the introduction of new flight paths. Transport Minister Robert Goodwill told the Commons: “I hope that the airport will listen to the concerns raised tonight and will act on them.” Birmingham airport has now announced its preferred flight path, which will involve planes turning so that they minimise noise levels over the village of Hampton-in-Arden. However, there needs to be a trial period to ensure this route does indeed minimise the level of noise experienced by residents. The airport will submit its preferred Option to the CAA in May for approval by the CAA in September.”
Birmingham Airport’s introduction of trial flight paths has upset neighbours
By Graeme Brown (Birmingham Post)
Birmingham Airport’s poor handling of the introduction of new flight paths has risked permanently damaging relations with nearby residents.
Birmingham Airport made a series of mistakes as it tested new flight paths following the extension of its runway and risks permanently damaging relations with nearby residents, the Commons had been warned.
MP Caroline Spelman (Con) said the local community had traditionally supported the airport but this was changing because of the poor handling of the introduction of new flight paths.
And Transport Minister Robert Goodwill told the Commons: “I hope that the airport will listen to the concerns raised tonight and will act on them.”
It follows months of controversy over trials to help the airport decide on new flight paths. Last year, more than 2,000 residents living near Birmingham Airport signed a petition warning their lives were being made a misery by noise caused by trials launched in May.
The airport has now announced its preferred flight path, which will involve planes turning so that they minimise noise levels over the nearby village of Hampton-in-Arden.
Mrs Spelman told the Commons that she welcomed this decision, but there must be a trial period to ensure it does indeed minimise the level of noise experienced by residents.
However, she also said the process of testing out different routes had been “poor”.
She warned: “The local community feels it has not been listened to, particularly in the rejection of its proposal for an option 6a, an alternative flight path that would have minimised noise nuisance.”
She added: “The airport enjoyed previously a really good relationship with the surrounding community. It is landlocked on three sides by residential accommodation, and quite dense accommodation at the northerly end of the runway.
“It is so disappointing that the difficulty with these trials has damaged public trust. The most important thing now is to restore that trust.”
The comments were echoed by Wyre Forest MP Mark Garnier (Con), who told the Commons: “Many of us agree that expansion of Birmingham airport could benefit the area, so it is vital that the airport has a better working relationship with the community to ensure that its views are heard.”
Mr Goodwill said: “It is clearly in the interests of the airport to establish and maintain good relations with those in its local communities, many of whom are also its customers.”
An airport spokesman said: “Birmingham Airport has been trialling two potential flight paths since May 2014 as part of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ‘Airspace Change Process’ required as a result of the runway extension. The two options being trialled were consulted on prior to this, in 2013. The airport will submit its preferred Option to the CAA in May for approval by the CAA in September.”
Caroline Spelman MP calls for end to Birmingham flight path trials
Meriden MP Caroline Spelman has demanded the Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, calls a halt to Birmingham Airport’s flight path trials across her borough, since 1st May, after being handed a petition with over 1,500 signatures. The petition, which has been signed by a number of local action groups, calls on Transport Secretary to intervene in the trial following complaints over noise. The airport has been trialling two options for new flight paths for the past 6 months as part of the new runway extension. But residents claim the aircraft are not sticking to the routes accurately, causing planes to fly closer to their homes. Caroline Spelman says the fact the planes are not flying the accurate routes has invalidated the trial, and a review is needed of what has gone wrong. “. If the airport plumps for a compromise route which is different from the original two options there would need to be a further consultation.” The airport claims its new runway extension, as well as creating distressing noise and disruption for several thousand people, will ” deliver global connectivity and thousands of new jobs in the future for local people.” The CAA will finally decide on the flight paths.
Battle of Balsall Common’ over plane noise, from Birmingham flight path trial, goes to Parliament
The Battle of Balsall Common – which has triggered waves of complaints of noise nuisance from planes taking off at Birmingham Airport – is to go to Parliament. Angry residents are raising a protest petition to be sent to Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin, to ask him to look at this trial, and call it in. People affected say their lives are being made a misery by trials launched in May in advance of new flight paths being made permanent. This has happened because of the runway extension. People are deeply angry and anxious, because these flight paths are away from the NPR routes (Noise Preferential Routes), which everyone has known about for years. People have checked, in the past, to ensure they have not chosen to live near an NPR. Now, areas which nobody could have guessed would be overflow have planes overhead every few minutes. Campaigners took to the streets of Balsall Common last weekend to get signatures, in a bid to force a Government rethink of the new flight path. David Ellis, of the Balsall Common Action Group, said: ““We are told they are over 3,000 feet but that is not the point – the noise is the problem.” There will be a public meeting on July 16th on the problem.
Balsall Common and nearby villages to petition Sec of State to get unpopular Birmingham flight path trial reviewed
After the opening of the Birmingham airport runway extension on 1st May, the airport has been doing a “trial” of a new flight path. This will last for 6 months, till the end of October. The effect of this trial is to create a lot of aircraft noise over villages, Balsall Common in particular. Now the local group, the “Balsall Common Airport Action group” has organised a petition to the Secretary of State, asking that the proposed flight path changes should be reviewed, in view of the sharp increase in noise nuisance to the communities living at the southerly end of the extended runway and the failure of the trial to ensure aircraft follow the new flight path options accurately. They are organising a protest on 5th July, and they will be going door to door, in the affected villages, gathering support and getting signatures for their petition. Local MP Caroline Spelman is backing the petition, as well as local politicians. People feel their complaints and constructive suggestions have been ignored, and that Paul Kehoe is wholly dismissive of residents’ views. “It’s all about the money and business profits,” residents claim.
Birmingham Airport 6-month flight path trials – due to runway extension – to begin in May
April 11, 2014
It has been confirmed that controversial ‘alternative flight plans’ proposed by Birmingham Airport are to be trialled from May, for 6 months. Birmingham Airport has been developing an Airspace Change Proposal, required for a change to departure flight paths to the south of the Airport due to the runway extension. After considering two viable options in detail – and following extensive public consultations – the airport submitted its preferred route, Option 5, to the CAA in August 2013, saying it believed the overall environmental and operational attributes of both routes considered (Options 5 and 6) were ‘very marginal’. Perhaps due to news about the fury that has been generated in the Warham area by a new Gatwick flight path trial, Birmingham airport has agreed to carry out trials of both options, in order to better understand the actual impact of the proposed changes rather than theoretical modelling. The proposals sparked outrage in the affected villages when they were revealed last year. A final decision is expected in spring 2015 and the airport has reiterated that the trials are ‘not a further consultation’.