Fringe Box



Letter: Please Write to MP to Request Planning Inquiry

Published on: 17 Nov, 2023
Updated on: 18 Nov, 2023

From: Colin Byrne

See: Farnborough Airport Expansion Could Double Weekend Flights

I have today written to Angela Richardson MP to ask her to request Michael Gove to call in the planning application by Farnborough Airport and to set up a public planning Inquiry into this proposal for a substantial increase in flights as reported in Guildford Dragon on 17 September.

Just three weeks after the airport’s public consultation on the expansion closed on October 18, they submitted their planning application to Rushmoor Council on November 7. Their application contains 69 separate documents many more than fifty pages long.

The airport has made some cosmetic changes to their proposal but it could be surmised that these were already pre-planned as it would surely have been impossible to have analysed all the comments from the consultation, given them due consideration and then amended their 69 documents in just under three weeks. It suggests to me that the consultation was just a cynical sham.

Farnborough Airport is by some margin the largest/busiest airport for private jet movements in the UK. A planning application of this national and regional significance should be called in by the Secretary of State and determined following a public inquiry at which all the evidence can be tested in an open, transparent and professional manner by a preeminent planning inspector.

Issues that need testing at a public inquiry include:

a) the so called economic benefits of the expansion. The airports suggestions of an approximate 50 per cent increase in employment and GVA [gross value added], resulting from the expansion, are just not credible and need to be tested;

b) the need for the expansion given the underused capacity at other airports and the spare capacity on commercial airlines post Covid;

c) the likelihood (or unlikelihood) of reduction in emissions resulting from unproven and currently unviable alternative fuels;

d) the climate change implications of increasing the provision of a mode of transport which it is suggested is on a passenger mile basis  10 to 20 times more polluting than a passenger mile on a commercial airline.

In addition there are issues affecting neighbourhoods outside of Rushmoor Council’s area about which their councillors are unlikely to be concerned such as the increased noise pollution in Guildford from the doubling of weekend flights.

I would urge all readers of The Dragon who are concerned about this expansion to write to Angela Richardson MP supporting this call for a public planning inquiry.

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Responses to Letter: Please Write to MP to Request Planning Inquiry

  1. John Eriksson Reply

    December 4, 2023 at 3:14 pm

    Colin Byrne makes some important points in his letter. A petition against the proposed expansion of Farnborough Airport has already received more than 4,000 signatures.

    It is important that people express their views in response to the planning application as doing nothing is effectively supporting the airport.

    There is more information and links to submit comments on the Farnborough Noise Group website.

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