FARNBOROUGH'S airport could be expanded to cope with a sharp rise in business flights during the next 30 years.

Government experts forecast that, by 2030, there will be an estimated 59,000 aircraft movements which cannot be met at Heathrow and Luton.

They are currently consulting local authorities in an area stretching from the M1 to M3 motorways to see how best to deal with this under capacity.

One of the ideas floated in the consultation document is for Farnborough to be expanded along with two small airfields - Blackbushe and Fairoaks airfield, near Woking.

But the Government has already been warned that it would face a fierce battle if it tries to press ahead with the idea.

Rushmoor Council's environment policy panel, which considered the document last week, has already issued a "hands off Farnborough" warning.

And local residents would almost certainly be opposed to any further expansion of the airport which is currently being developed by TAG Aviation. The environment policy panel agreed to remind the Government of the strict controls which govern Farnborough as a business airport.

These include 28,000 aircraft movements a year, accident risk limits in a built-up area, and noise constraints. One bright note in the document is the Government's view that Farnborough is unsuitable to help cope with an increase in passenger demand.

"That view should be welcomed," said Keith Holland, council planning chief, in a report to the panel.

The council has until the end of next month to respond to the consultation document.

Aim of the exercise is to provide a long-term framework for aviation and airport development in the UK until 2030.

Picture: An artist's impression of TAG's new control tower for Farnborough, but meanwhile Rushmoor is telling aviation planners: "Hands off Farnborough!"