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New runway not the answer for Birmingham Airport - Liz Lynne

April 6, 2006 11:35 AM

Building a new runway at Birmingham International Airport will have a devastating environmental impact both locally and globally, Liz Lynne, Lib Dem MEP for the West Midlands, warned today.

In her response to the Airport Master Plan, submitted last week, Liz Lynne called for the airport to refrain from expanding on to new land, which would include levelling greenfield areas, and instead ensure the current site is fully utilised.

Liz Lynne also warned that government must manage air traffic growth, rather than follow a policy of 'predict and provide'. The Airport Master Plan forecasts that 33 million passengers will be using the airport every year by 2030, but this figure takes no account of the huge environmental and social impact such an increase in air passenger usage will have.

Speaking in Strasbourg today, Liz Lynne said:

"While it is clear that Birmingham Airport is increasingly popular with passengers, I am opposed to building a second runway. The best way to accommodate passenger growth is to make full use of the existing site."

"Birmingham Airport is already one of the most built up areas of any UK airport. At a time when the growth in airport traffic is largely to accommodate budget airlines, there should be no need to build across the development line."

"The government's policy is to decrease emissions by 60% by 2050, but they cannot achieve this without taking effective action on aircraft emissions. We can only do this by taxing fuel and bringing the air travel industry in line with the Kyoto Treaty."

ENDS

Notes to Editors

The main points of the submission were:

  • Building a second runway is unnecessary given that the existing runway is not used to capacity.
  • Expanding the airport site will involve building across the development line and levelling an unacceptable amount of greenfield land.
  • The forecast of 33 million passengers by 2030 is unrealistic as it takes no account of unsustainable oil consumption and the government's policy of decreasing carbon emissions by 60% by 2050.
  • Increased passenger numbers will place major demands on the local transport infrastructure.
  • BIA must widen the compensation scheme to ensure owners of all properties blighted by the airport are compensated without delay.