29 Apr 2010

Staverton expansion ignores economics and climate change

The Citizen reports that a deal has finally been struck to allow Gloucestershire Airport to expand after five years of negotiations and more than five years of protests. The Airport has paid a kennels business to move 800 yards down the road to allow its £3.8 million expansion to take off. Here is my letter to the press earlier this week:

Claim in The Citizen (23/04/10) that Staverton Airport is good for the economy are flawed. The aviation lobby have long insisted that the economic benefits of expanding airports exceed the environmental and social costs. However last month the High Court ruled that the decision to give a green light to the proposed third runway at Heathrow does not hold any weight. The judge said that the government's decision hadn't properly taken into consideration climate change policy or the economic case.

A report just out by the New Economics Foundation confirms this. It concludes that expanding Heathrow will leave the UK £5 billion worse off if all factors are taken into account like carbon prices, oil prices, exchange rates, noise and air pollution and economic growth predictions. This is almost the inverse of what the Department of Transport promised.
In plans to expand Gloucestershire's Staverton Airport, which is jointly owned by Gloucester City and Cheltenham Borough Councils, common sense has similarly been thrown out of the window. Even the "conservative" estimate of additional flights would exceed the 4,000 tonnes per annum CO2 ceiling in their so-called Green Management Plan by 3,000 tonnes! Surely this means that the business plan presented to the councils was little more than a ruse to gain planning permission?

Economic and environmental arguments have been ignored. Instead of expanding this Airport we should review this absurd decision.

Philip Booth

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