5 Dec 2008

Shameful decison to expand Gloucestershire's Airport

As you may have heard, the Glos City Council 'Overview and Scrutiny Management' Committee voted to recommend that the Cabinet support the Airport's plans. This is a shameful decision. Words fail me.....

....except that we cannot and must not accept this - campaigners will be regrouping to fight this...indeed for over 5 years I've been fighting these plans and despite this set-back we have never had more support and more sanity - however it seems that some of our elected members still do not understand the enormity of the tasks ahead of us.

Here is out the residents group report it:

After coverage of the meeting in the local press and on ITV West during the day the meeting began at 18:00. In the half hour before it started there was a peaceful demonstration, by opponents of the plans, on the steps of the Council offices. Featuring a cheque made out to the 'Gloucestershire Airport White Elephant' for 'Many many millions of pounds' and a banner featuring a flying white elephant emitting clouds of CO2 from its behind the demo was again covered by local press and TV.

The meeting itself was addressed by representatives of the Airport, CASE (Concerned residents Against Staverton Expansion), Gloucester Environment and Ecology Forum, Cheltenham Borough Council, Glos Uni Business School, Gloucestershire First, local Chamber of Commerce, Federation of Small Businesses. Three members of Glos City Council also addressed the meeting, two of whom are also directors of the Airport. Several members of the public also had the opportunity to address the meeting, all speaking out against the proposals.

The presentation by CASE featured an explanation of the concerns of local residents, a report by a Chartered Accountant which highlighted the serious flaws in Airport's business case, and the an outline of the environmental case against the expansion.

In particular, we felt that statement given by the CAA to Glos City Council: "the CAA have confirmed that they are currently satisfied with the Airport's management of the variations" and that " in the absence of significant changes to the operations at the Airport they are likely to remain satisfied" showed that there was no danger of further restrictions being imposed on the Airport. This CAA statement contradicted the Airport's justification for their plans, which is based on making improvements to prevent further restrictions.

However, after a very brief deliberation the Committee unanimously decided to recommend that the Cabinet be advised to support the Airports plans.

Here is one campaigner's letter to the press which summarises it all:

On Tuesday evening I listened to the deliberations of the City's Environment Scrutiny Committee on Gloucestershire Airport with a growing sense of the surreal. Here was a clear case of airport expansion being solemnly presented as no more than 'safety measures', even though the Civil Aviation Authority has confirmed that they are already satisfied that the runway is safe, both now and in the future.

Here also was a collection of elected councillors apparently swallowing whole the flawed arguments of the airport proponents, while failing to see that both 'peak oil' and climate change are already threatening to turn airports into dodos in our lifetime. Do these people all live in the unchangingly sunny uplands of Cloud Cuckoo Land?

Cherry Lavell, Cheltenham


Anonymous said...

The councillors who made that decision made it knowing the impact it would have on climate change and knowing the economic arguments don't stack up they really must be in Cloud Cookkoo land

Elinor Croxall, Green Party said...

I was there and despite not intending to made public comment as I was utterly baffled by the arguments for 'safety' and the 'green policy' being developed to mitgate the expansion. I grew up in Gloucdester, living there for almost 20 years, I am utterly disappointed and appalled at this decision by my home town. Shameful.