Obstacles pile up for Birmingham Airport runway extension
runway could turn into a money-spinner, but only if legal difficulties can be
resolved, argues Public Affairs Correspondent Paul Dale.
could hardly have come at a better time for Birmingham International Airport.
overcrowded, difficult to reach, Heathrow and Gatwick.
promised to scrap the scheme if they win the General Election – could the planned
£120 million extension of Birmingham’s runway be grounded as well?
the current straitened circumstances and is resisting Birmingham City Council’s
insistence that a longer runway, allowing non-stop flights to China, India and
the west coast of America, must proceed immediately because it will generate significant
growth for the West Midlands economy.
years, the airport can still benefit from Heathrow’s difficulties.
position is "untenable" and its backing for the third runway must be reviewed
– BIA chief executive Paul Kehoe noted that Birmingham Airport is running at less than half its capacity
and could cope with another nine million passengers a year.
"Heathrow’s third runway".
London and Birmingham – with a station on the BIA doorstep, fell into his lap,
enabling Mr Kehoe to announce that if and when the link is built it will be possible
to travel between BIA and Heathrow in little more than half an hour.
the London Underground Map", he added.
the ‘Heathrow Problem’.
as they could reach Heathrow’s check-in desks.
will help to create jobs and generate inward investment, on top of the 21,000
regional jobs that are expected to be created up to 2030 by expansion that is
already planned and which has permission.
important role, the prospect of HS2 will make journey times comparable with Gatwick
and Heathrow, and shorter than Stansted and Luton.
to attract passengers from the overheated South-east."
extension plan. It remains to be seen whether that extension will ever now take
place, since Lord Justice Carnwarth’s ruling suggests that all major airport expansion
schemes are at odds with the Climate Change Act 2008, imposing a statutory duty
on the government to deliver and 80 per cent reduction in carbon levels by 2050.
perhaps, Birmingham’s extended runway – must be the subject of a full review
the case for major infrastructure projects, before the expansion can go ahead.
relevant policy issues including the impact of climate change policy", the judge
has been given added strength by Lord Justice Carnwarth’s decision.
of emitting carbon has a huge impact on the economic case for the runway extension
and this has now been confirmed on a national level."
skirts Birmingham Airport would have prompted a self-congratulatory city council
press release, writes Paul Dale.
Solihull Council was rather neatly slipped under the radar. Debate, if there was
any, took place in a private session where members decided to defer a decision
in order to take advice about possible "legal implications".
clear he did not want any discussion and moved swiftly to next business.
the council can use its general well-being powers to provide a road that, arguably,
will largely benefit Birmingham Airport, a private company.
million runway extension to be built. It was thought that Advantage West Midlands
would pay for the road, but the regional development agency’s own financial difficulties
appear to have put paid to that idea – and until the road construction can be
resolved, the runway extension cannot be built.
expected to flow from an improved dual-carriageway A45 and faster links to the
airport and NEC, triggering economic gain for local businesses justify its proposal
to hand over £16 million to Solihull Council.
opinion. Joe Peacock, a spokesman for Birmingham Friends of the Earth, said: "It
would be madness for the council to be using taxpayers’ money to subsidise the
airport’s expansion plans.
not make economic sense and the airport should not be coming cap-in-hand to the
council to help out. In such difficult economic times money should be invested
in supporting local low-carbon business infrastructure that will benefit local
people and in turn deliver a Green New Deal for the West Midlands."
extension was the region’s top transport priority after the Birmingham New Street
Station redevelopment and had the potential to boost the regional economy and
exploit global markets as the UK emerges from the recession.
and Solihull councils and Whitehall to ensure that the project to help extend
the runway and upgrade the A45 goes ahead."