20 Sep 2008

Staverton plans: expansion not safety

I get an increasingly full email box and I do seek to answer all queries - two this week have been around Staverton this week after the Echo covered quotes from my press release earlier this week. Again the airport is quoted saying it is about safety not expansion - what utter nonsense. I thought I would include one of the emails here anonymously with my response:

Photoshop: by Russ - could be read several ways!

Dear Councillor, I was surprised to read that you are against the planned extension of Gloucester airport. I would have expected you to be in favour of safety. The 11(eleven)meters of extension and the removal of obstacles in the area are both being proposed to increase the safety of aircraft landing at this delightful airfield. They will not enable any additional aircraft to use the airfield but they will make it safer for those who already do. I would suspect that someone has been telling you some untruths and suggesting that this massive (!) extension will mean that Jumbo Jets are going to use the airfield. Not a chance - thank goodness. As a light aircraft pilot myself I would be delighted to see the airfield made safer. It would be awful if we had to wait for an accident before getting these minor changes made.

Thanks for your response. I would urge you to see the CASE response to the Council's report re Staverton Airport:

You will see from that report that the measures taken are about increasing the number of planes and growing the business. The evidence is, to me, beyond doubt. Indeed when Gloucester City councillors talked about capping flight numbers the airport are trying to reject even a 100,000 flight cap. If it is not about more planes then why not accept current flight numbers of around 80,000?

Sadly the business case fails badly and is based on oil prices at half the cost of today. The way to increase safety is surely to reduce the size of planes using the airport - not continue to expand services like Manx etc?

Three years ago the Tyndall Centre calculated that if Britain were to meet its target of cutting greenhouse gases by 60 per cent by 2050, and emissions from aviation were not reduced, all other emissions – from households, businesses, energy generation and cars – would have to go to zero. Flying would take up everything that was available.

If we can't stop a small airport like Staverton from expanding then what hope do we have of tackling climate change? We now have less than 100 months to act - see this website especially The Guardian article linked to that site:

Cllr. Philip Booth

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