More than 2,000 people respond to airport plansBy Jack Sommers
July 29, 2009
AROUND 2,500 people have responded to plans to increase the number of flights at Farnborough Airport each year to 50,000.
It is thought some 1,000 representations reached the Rushmoor Borough Council offices in the past seven days alone.
Andrew Lloyd, chief executive at the council, had said there was a surge before Monday's deadline, with around 1,500 comments received in the last week.
TAG, the airport’s owner, wants to increase the number of annual flights to 50,000 rather than the current 28,000.
It is also seeking permission to raise its 5,000 weekend flights a year to 8,900, just over a year after it was told it could double them from 2,500.
Rushmoor Borough Council has until October to make a decision. Council officers have not yet had time to go through all the comments received but say the vast majority are opposed to the plan.
Pollution, risks to the public if there was a crash, noise and the economic impact are the most discussed issues relating to the airport and its proposed increase.
Brandon O’Reilly, the airport’s chief executive, said he wanted to “strike a balance” between the environmental and economic impacts of the increase.
Geoff Marks, chairman of the Farnborough Aerodrome Residents’ Association, objected to the plan.
He says the council does not appreciate how widespread the concerns were.
Mr Marks is also concerned about the risk of a plane crashing as it takes off or lands over south Farnborough or Church Crookham.
The areas where planes land and take off are defined as Public Safety Zones (PSZ) and both at Farnborough Airport are in built-up areas, unlike at most airports.
There are more people living in the Farnborough PSZ than in all four at Heathrow Airport.
Mike Palmer, chairman of community group North Camp Matters, said he and his wife provided comments on Rushmoor’s website but he found out neither had been recorded.
He was able to resubmit both of them and urged people who did not get a confirmation email to contact the council to check whether their comments had been recorded.
Councillors will make a decision about the application at a special planning meeting to be held in October, at a date to be determined.
If TAG’s application is successful, it expects to operate 50,000 flights by 2019.
TAG has not ruled out further expansion after that date but has advised it will not build a new airport or terminal.
The capacity of the airport is roughly 100,000 flights a year.