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Health, safety and climate sacrificed in Farnborough decision

In a very worrying decision to allow more flights, coalition ministers Philip Hammond and Eric Pickles have decided that claimed economic benefits by the TAG airport group should over-ride health, safety, quality of life and climate change considerations.  

See article below from ‘Get Hampshire’.

Though relatively small, Farnborough airport poses exceptional danger, due to a college lying within the ‘Public Safety Zone’.

Any economic benefits are likely to be very small because Farnborough is used for business jets, carrying a couple of executives, who are usually bound for London. These are far more polluting per passenger than commercial flights.    

Perhaps most worrying of all is the comment on climate change. Does it signal a government intent to disregard climate change when formulating the new aviation policy?

The justification by the minister – that emissions are more properly dealt with by the EU Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) – is bogus. ETS is not yet in place for aircraft. But in any case the UK has its own climate targets and a specific target or aviation emissions. These are obviously relevant considerations, irrespective of the EU ETS.

Ministers may not be concerned about aircraft noise – but at least it is not yet illegal to complain about it !

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Article from ‘Get Hampshire’, 11th Feb

Government allows airport flight extensions

FARNBOROUGH Airport has won its fight to nearly double the number of flights taking off or arriving each year.

The airport will now be allowed to cater for 50,000 flights every year, almost twice the 28,000 current limit.

It can also now host 8,900 flights on weekend and Bank Holidays – up from the current 5,000 cap.

The government decided on February 10 to allow airport owner TAG’s appeal to have the extra flights after Rushmoor Borough Council initially blocked the move.

The inspector who conducted the appeal in 2010 recommended the refusal be overturned, saying the economic benefits outweighed the harm of pollution, noise and risk of an accident.

“While there would be some harm in respect of increased noise, the degree of harm would be moderate,” David Richards wrote in a 157-page report.

Transport Minister Philip Hammond and local government minister Eric Pickles made the decision, despite saying the noise from the planes produced “demonstrable harm” and risk a plane crash was “significant” but “not exceptional”.

The ministers said pollution from the planes was “more properly dealt with” by the EU Emission Trading Scheme, which will oblige major carbon dioxide producers to pay the government for their emissions.

Rushmoor Borough Council has the right to appeal to the High Court within six weeks.