Birmingham Airport runway extension plans approved

16.12.2008   (Birmingham Post)

By Patrice John

The fight over Birmingham Airport’s controversial runway extension plans swung
in favour of local business leaders last night as planning bosses said they were
poised to approve the scheme.

Members of Solihull Council’s planning sub committee said they would back the extension of the runway subject to stringent planning gain
constraints which must be agreed at a later meeting.

In a unanimous vote they agreed to grant planning permission providing the Section
106 agreement, which will contain constraints on noise pollution and protection
of the environment, met their approval.

Speaking after the meeting committee chair Coun Stuart Davis said: "A lot of
work has been done and we are mindful that we had to take into account the views
of the airport as well as the views of residents. "I think the council have succeeded
in what they set out to achieve in that we were looking out for the residents
through a proper 106 agreement, but we also had to consider the needs of the Airport
and the business sector.

"Subject to the 106 agreement coming back and being accepted by the members this
application will be approved."

Birmingham Airport proposed building a 400 metre extension to a runway which
they say will increase economic prospects and job creation in the region.

They also argue it will increase the connectivity of the region allowing Birmingham
to compete on the ‘global stage.’

Paul Kehoe from BIA addressed the planning committee stating the extension of
the runway was not like Stanstead or Heathrow, it was something for local people.
"We are not talking about Stanstead or Heathrow," he said. "We are talking about
an extension and we should see it in that context. "This is a global opportunity
that brings us connectivity but it does not just bring the West Midlands to the
world, it brings the world to the West Midlands.

"It encourages local people to take local flights from their local airport."

But there were arguments against the extension of the runway and Chris Crean from West Midlands Friends of Earth spoke about the damaging impact of climate change.

He said: "The Climate Change Act has changed the way we are going to make decisions
about emissions.

"And the time is now for us to walk the talk on climate change and take decision
that take climate change into account.   "I would urge you to pass a resolution
to take this to full council.   More people should look at this in a full open
and transparent manner.

"I would argue one of the most frightening things is how people have thought
about the growth of passenger numbers.

"This is a large step in the wrong direction.

"We need to make planning applications that are fit for a climate change environment.

"I would urge you to ask for a public inquiry to be heard."

Opposer Mark Jackson disputed claims by BIA that the extension would bring unprecedented
economic growth to the West Midlands.  He also said the aviation industry was
operating at a loss.  He said: "This application asks you to weigh the economic
and environmental benefits against each other.

"BIAs case is contradictory. Do not trust what people are saying.’’

link to article