Fringe Box



Letter: Farnborough Airport Expansion – Why Can’t Our MP Call for a Public Inquiry

Published on: 3 Jan, 2024
Updated on: 4 Jan, 2024

From: Colin D Byrne

After waiting for a response for over one month to my letter outlined in the Guildford Dragon on November 17, (see: Please Write to MP to Request Planning Inquiry) Angela Richardson, MP for Guildford, has said she is unwilling to call for a planning inquiry into the proposal that would significantly increase the number of low-level flights of private jets over Guildford en route to Farnborough Airport.

She gives no reason for refusing to support the calls for an inquiry but suggests that any member of the public can write to the Secretary of State for Levelling up, Michael Gove, to request he establish an inquiry – known in planning terms as “calling in” the application.

Her response is not only disappointing but also puzzling.

She knows full well that the chances of Mr Gove calling in this planning application are much greater when the local MP, of the same political party, makes the request rather than a member of the public.

She is also aware that when the planning application is considered by the councillors of Rushmoor Council they will have to the forefront of their minds the interests and concerns of their constituents not those of neighbouring districts such as Guildford and Woking.

As the Government’s guidance explains, this is why the planning system has this override call in power so that applications that raise “more than local Issues” can be considered and decided following a public inquiry.

What can be “more than local ” than an application that will increase the noise and disturbance to residents in neighbouring council areas to Rushmoor and has global impacts in terms of the disproportionate increases in emissions that accelerate climate change.

Calling for a public inquiry does not imply that the MP is against the proposal, it merely suggests that the issue is of such importance that all the benefits and impacts should be examined at a public inquiry where everyone has an equal chance to have their say.

So I am at a loss as to why Ms Richardson feels unable to represent the interests of her constituents in this matter. Perhaps she would be prepared to explain to the readers of this paper the rationale for her bizarre decision?

See Angela Richardson’s response: Any Resident Can Request Call-in of Airport’s Expansion Plan


Share This Post

Responses to Letter: Farnborough Airport Expansion – Why Can’t Our MP Call for a Public Inquiry

  1. Bob Cowell Reply

    January 6, 2024 at 8:01 am

    People are always calling for a public enquiry on this or that but the cost is horrendous. Public money would be better spent elsewhere.

    • Colin Byrne Reply

      January 6, 2024 at 1:11 pm

      A planning public inquiry is not the same type of inquiry as the Covid Inquiry or the Grenfell Tower Inquiry. They are a standard part of the planning system, very much smaller in scale and they are overseen by one of the Planning Inspectorate’s professional inspectors.

      For inquiries as a result of a call-in decision the majority of the costs are paid by the applicant, in this case Farnborough Airport in this case. This is fair enough given they are the ones who will receive the benefits should the permission be granted.

Leave a Comment

Please see our comments policy. All comments are moderated and may take time to appear.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *