Hart latest to oppose Farnborough expansionBy Steve Lloyd
August 19, 2009
HART councillors have condemned Farnborough Airport's plans to almost double its flights.
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 and bank holiday flights to 8,900 a year, just over a year after it was told it could double them from 2,500.
But Hart District Council's planning committee has unanimously recommended neighbouring Rushmoor Borough Council rejects the increased flights application.
Among those objecting was committee vice-chairman James Radley, who represents people living at the Church Crookham end of the airport runway.
“Our primary concerns are the adverse impact on residents due to increased noise, air pollution and concern for those individuals whose properties would now fall within the extended Public Safety Zone,” he said.
“The committee also believes that TAG have failed to demonstrate the need for additional business jet movements given the international focus on tackling the most wasteful emitters of green house gases.
“Personally I believe that there is every reason to expect that in coming years international governments will look to restrict the use of private jets which contribute greatly to the tonnage of CO2 produced but for little economic or social benefit.
“So TAG do not need to expand to accommodate the 'need' for business aviation growth. There is no need for business aviation growth.
“Arguably there is a very real need for there to be a reduction in the use of these carbon inefficient corporate toys.”
Cllr Radley, leader of the Community Campaign Hart group and ward member for Church Crookham East, said he believed Rushmoor had received over 2,900 letters of objection and around 100 letters of support for the application.
“Clearly there is a considerable amount of public concern about this application,” he added.
“Hopefully Rushmoor will listen to the very real issues which people have raised.”
A TAG Farnborough Airport spokesman said the application follows the publication of its master plan.
“This is a document which outlines how the airport could make best use of existing infrastructure and explains the balances which need to
be struck in order to grow the number of flights permitted in a responsible way,” he added.
The spokesman said more than 1,800 new jobs could be created and that in taking account of local people's views and the concerns raised during the consultation, the company has made a number of community commitments.
These include no changes to the operating hours or the proportion of larger business jet flights that are currently permitted.
No additional runway or terminals need to be built and there will be no change to the permitted use of the airport as a business aviation facility and host of the biennial Farnborough International Airshow.
The spokesman added TAG is committed to tackling noise and taking an industry-leading approach to phase out all but the most modern and quietest categories of aircraft.
It also has a commitment to become a low carbon airport and achieve carbon neutrality as soon as reasonably possible.