Here is my letter to the Echo after their article last week when they kindly covered my press release re the Sustainable Development Commission's call to halt decisions on major airport expansion until there has been a full independent review of the Government's 2003 Air Transport White Paper. In response the airport again said they were not expanding and their project was about safety.....
Dear Madam/Sir, It seems that Gloucestershire Airport's PR policy is to repeat the line that the 'project is about safety, not expansion' (Echo 18th Sept) (i). Sadly some people have been taken in by this.
Even the pro-airport Joint Airport Scrutiny Working Group, along with the Airport's previous Business Plans, clearly showed that there is planned growth in flights and particularly more of the largest aircrafts currently using Staverton. Indeed in a job advert for the airport last month they write: "Significant operational developments are also planned, including removing obstacles from the runway ends and installing ILS, further enhancing commercial capabilities (ii)."
Are they kidding us or their planned new staff member?
The Airport want more commercial traffic so let's stop this nonsense about their plans being only about safety. Then perhaps we can get onto the debate about their flawed economic case based on out-of-date oil prices or failures to accept that we must reduce CO2 emissions by 80% at least if we are to tackle climate change. Indeed we have no alternative. Even, as the Echo has reported, the Government’s own environmental watchdog, the Sustainable Development Commission's report have said that airport growth is not compatible with tackling climate change.
Gloucestershire has a proud aviation heritage, let us now take a lead in common sense.
Cllr Philip Booth, Stroud District councillor (Green), Gloucestershire Airport Action Group.
(i) Thursday 18th September The Echo reported: "Darren Lewington, head of operations at Gloucestershire Airport, said: "We are not aware of any change in the government policy and our runway safety project isn't affected and isn't about airport expansion. The runway safety project will remove some obstacles from either end of the runway, allowing the airport to operate more business aircraft but less flying training." Mr Lewington said although some people have interpreted the project as being an expansion plan, it's not. "There are no expansion plans as such," he added." (ii) See advert: http://www.gloucestershireairport.co.uk/Job_ATCO.pdf