Farnborough – Counting the Carbon Cost of Airport’s Big Plans

25.7.2009   (Letter from CPRE Hampshire to the Farnborough News etc)

Aldershot News Group: Letter in Fleet News & Mail and Farnborough News &
Mail (& others)

Counting the Carbon Cost of Airport’s Big Plans

The implications for climate change of an intention to double the number of business
aviation movements at TAG Farnborough Airport runs totally counter to the Government’s
renewable energy targets and low-carbon motives in building new eco-towns.  

The proposal put before Rushmoor’s planners is to allow 50,000 movements per
annum. [Planning Application: 09/00313/REVPP Closing date for comments: 27th July
2009].   A flight is two movements, ie. a take-off and a landing, so this is for
a 79% increase on the present permissions. In practice, it could mean a 120% increase
on the actual number of flights when compared to the last 12 months.

‘Business aviation’ excludes scheduled flights, but the word ‘business’ essentially
applies to the operations rather than to the passengers.   Some 2% of movements
are by large aircraft such as Boeing 737s but, for the rest, TAG Farnborough accepts
that typical ‘bizjet’ journeys take 2 to 3 passengers to and from destinations
of which the most frequent is Geneva, with 29% of journeys wholly within the UK.  
TAG has not taken an opportunity to comment on my understanding that most such
flights relate to celebrity, sport and leisure use.

As yet, passengers are not required to pay the real cost of their contribution
to global warming, but the impact of typical bizjet emissions per passenger can
be shown to be 10 times that for taking a comparable scheduled flight in business
class.   Factored into the calculation is the enhanced effect of aviation on the
upper atmosphere and the figure has been accepted as appearing to be ‘about right’
by the British Business and General Aviation Association (BBGA), of which TAG
is a member.

Faced with this affront to a low-carbon society, what can Rushmoor Borough Council
possibly do?

CPRE Hampshire suggests it begins by comparing the average emissions for each
of us with those for which Farnborough’s bizjet operations are responsible.   According
to several websites, the average UK citizen is responsible for the equivalent
of about 12 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions as his or her personal share of
the greenhouse gases that cause climate change. (Including use of gas, electricity,
public transport, cars, food etc. – and air travel).  

Derived from the well-regarded Atmosfair website calculator, each typical passenger on a bizjet (eg. a Cessna Citation
III) flying from Farnborough to Geneva and back causes the equivalent of some
6.7 tonnes CO2 to be spewed into the atmosphere (compared with some 660kg flying
business class from Heathrow). That’s more than half of the figure for the average
annual carbon footprint of each of us – trying to do our bit for the planet by
turning off the TV’s standby light.

On an annual basis, 25,000 such flights would imply some 420,000 tonnes CO2, or about the same as the carbon-footprint of 35,000 people.   Already Farnborough airport activities appear to account for about half of
that, plus all the ground-based operations and buildings.

Does Rushmoor Borough Council really intend to give planning permission for a
development with the climate-change impact of having 17,500 more people contribute
to global warming – people with a carbon footprint that is already 3 to 4 times
the average for the human race?

Can it really be joined-up government thinking to squander on this one permission
the entire carbon savings of a major eco-town?

Yours faithfully,

Hugh Sheppard (Chairman, CPRE N-E Hampshire)  


see also


Deadline draws near for 50,000 flights application

from Get Hampshire

by Clare Alexander       22.7.2009

MORE than 1,000 people look set to object to plans to increase the number of
flights at Farnborough Airport to 50,000 a year.

The deadline to respond to the proposals by monday July 27 is fast approaching
and Rushmoor Borough Council is still receiving representations.

TAG, the owner of Farnborough Airport, submitted its application to almost double
the number of annual business flights last month.    

It wants to change planning conditions currently restricting the airport to 28,000
take-offs and landings each year.

Tag also wants to increase weekend flights from 5,000 to 8,900, which would mean
one plane taking-off every 10 minutes between 8am and 10pm.

Keith Holland, head of planning at Rushmoor Borough Council, said it had received
1,000 representations so far, the vast majority of which were objecting to proposals.

Address issues  

"They’re still coming in," Mr Holland said. "We have had a rush this week, which
is expected as the closing date approaches.

"This is not a referendum. What’s far more important is the actual issues being
raised and we need [to take those into account]."    

Farnborough Aerodrome Residents Association (FARA), the only residents’ group
focusing solely on airport issues, is encouraging residents to have their say.

The group has distributed 10,000 leaflets giving people the opportunity to object.

Chairman Geoffrey Marks said: "It’s important [to respond] because it’s a key
element of the democratic process and I don’t think Rushmoor Borough Council has
appreciated how widespread the concerns are."


Mr Marks sent an objection letter on behalf on FARA.

He is opposed to the rise in the number of flights because of planning policy,
noise, third party risk and housing blight.                

Mr Marks refers to the borough council’s response to the consultation on air
transport for the south east.

It stated people expect the existing limit of 28,000 business aircraft movements
to apply until 2011.   "Any quick review is likely to bring the planning process
into disrepute", it states.      

Hugh Sheppard, chairman of the north east Hampshire Campaign to Protect Rural England, is
concerned about carbon emissions. (see his letter above)

He said doubling the number of flights "runs totally counter to the government’s
renewable energy targets and low-carbon motives in building new eco-towns".  


Brandon O’Reilly CEO of Tag Farnborough said: "I intend to strike a balance where
we take account of environmental issues yet at the same time ensure that the airport
continues to play an important role in the economy.

"This will allow us to make best use of the state-of-the-art infrastructure we
already have in place.

"I want to see an airport that is developed responsibly – an airport that plays
its part in the community and is a good neighbour – an airport that is successful
in creating jobs and prosperity in this region."

To make a representation email Rushmoor Borough Council at plan@rushmoor.gov.uk quoting planning reference 09/00313/REVPP and stating your name and address




One of the  user comments:

     I’m afraid this is one big con:

1) The claim that this extra capacity is needed to serve the London area demand
is absalute rubbish – there is loads of spare capacity to serve the London market
at Biggin Hill, Southend, Cranfield, Cambridge, Oxford with lots of other options
for smaller aircraft – all within an hour or so of the capital.

2) The claims put forward for extra job creation are a joke. Most of the traffic
is for London originated or destined passengers who have no interest in Farnborough
town at all, to handle the extra traffic you need a few more ground staff but
no more fire crew, no more air traffic controllers, a few more engineers perhaps
and that is it. These people/passengers are passing through barely making any
further contribution to the Farnborough economy. All the nbenefits of having the
airport there have already been realised, there is little more to be had on top
with yet more London-based air traffic.

3) Environmental impact – no matter how you disguise the impact with detailed
graphs and charts and noise monitoring surveys etc. a 79% increase in traffic
is 79% more jets taking off from 7:00am through to the late evening forever.  
Aircraft are indeed getting quieter over time, but stop pretending that 79% is
not really 79% in practice – the nuisance level will increase dramatically – stop
trying to pull the wool over our eyes with daft statistics.

It’s all about clawring back money for TAG who’s original business plan was flawed.
They knew what the limitations were from the outset and now they want to change
the goalposts because they aren’t making enough money quickly enough. They’ll
just have to make a return on their investment over a longer time.

Stick with the paremeters you were given to work with at the start.