A worrying development is that the local council has recently approved the allocation of £20,000 for legal fees to push the plans through and see off any possible judicial review.
To approve the plans would be to fail to take account of the Climate Change Act which makes it a statutory requirement to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2050.
Growth in aviation is the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions.
To approve the plans would make a mockery of the recent government white paper on energy policy and moving towards a low carbon economy. It would drive a coach and horses through the recent G8 proposal to limit average global temperature rise to 2 degrees.
TAG claim carbon offsetting! Planting a tree which takes 60 years or more to reach maturity, does not account for carbon emitted in a six hour transatlantic flight. Who looks after the trees, on whose land is it grown? When the trees die, the carbon is released back into the environment.
Hundreds of trees were destroyed when TAG were first granted planning consent for a business airport!
The failure to address global warming and climate change will lead to catastrophic consequences.
One of the most ridiculous claims from TAG was their contribution to reducing greenhouse gases by their use of bicycles! If nothing else, it did little for the credibility of the Carbon Trust who were acting for TAG.
To approve the plans would be a clear breach of the Rushmoor Local Plan which sets a limit of 25,000 movements.
TAG claim massive benefits to the local economy. This ludicrous claim is backed by the local Member of Parliament Gerald Howarth who when he is not submitting his expense claims is more interested in backing the interests of big business than looking after the interests of his constituents. When TAG applied for a doubling of weekend flights, Howarth told the council to ignore local opposition and back the plans!
That the airport has been of no benefit to the local economy can be seen by visiting the towns of Aldershot and Farnborough. The town centres are semi-derelict ghost towns, and that was before the recession hit. Half of Farnborough town centre has been demolished for an unwanted superstore. Aldershot town centre consists of boarded-up shops and if it was not for the ethnic shops, there would be nothing left.
A study by New Economics Foundation and World Development Movement for the claimed economic benefits of aviation shows the figures do not add up when subjected to close scrutiny, and even this study does not take full account of all the economic dis-benefits. [see Plane Truths: Do the economic arguments for aviation growth really fly?]
To coincide with the UN World Tourism Day (Saturday 27 September 2008), the New Economics Foundation and World Development Movement published a joint report that once and for all demolished the myths that aviation is of benefit to the national economy. Furthermore, it is of detriment to the world's poor.
The situation with TAG is far worse than the nef/WDM report suggests due to the low load factors and the inefficient use of this transport mode.
Any economic study of TAG would have to look at all the dis-benefits as well as the exaggerated claimed benefits. No such study has been commissioned.
Another myth that does not withstand close scrutiny is that Farnborough Airport creates jobs. Airports like Heathrow and Gatwick create jobs with their shopping malls (bars, restaurants and shops), check-in, baggage handling, immigration and passport control, customs. These jobs are non-existent at Farnborough. Farnborough is a business airport. Passengers step off their executive jets and into their waiting limos. Nor do passengers spend their money in the local economy. Passengers passing through Farnborough Airport are as likely to visit Farnborough or Aldershot as passengers passing through Gatwick are to visit Croydon.
No study of societal of risk has ever been undertaken. The Public Safety Zone (one in a hundred thousand risk contour) which extends over the built-up area of Farnborough, and within which nothing that exists could be built if it was not already there (because it is not safe), will increase in size.
The aircraft as they come in are brushing the rooftops, leaving little room for error. Crashes occur at the end of runways. At the end of the runway we have residential Farnborough, including schools, a college, and old folk's homes. During the airshow, weight limits are suspended, landing thresholds changed, leading to increased risk to local residents.
Increase in movements would cause the one in ten thousand risk contour to extend beyond the airfield perimeter. The one in ten thousand risk contour must be retained within the airfield perimeter.
The noise footprint will increase.
The noise levels retards the education of local school kids. The noise interferes with local businesses. The noise and stress induced, leads to increase in heart disease. All of which have a quantifiable cost.
The noise model used at Farnborough is inappropriate. It looks at average noise levels when it should be looking at peak noise levels and the frequency of those peaks.
The claim by the Planning Inspector who gave TAG the green light for uncontrolled expansion that the noise from the aircraft is masked by local traffic was to talk arrant nonsense and at the the time this was more than sufficient grounds for a Judicial Review on the grounds that the inspector was incompetent.
Equally nonsensical was the ludicrous claim by TAG that only half a dozen people are effected by the noise!
Currently not all movements at Farnborough Airport are counted. Excluded are helicopters, light aircraft, MOD and diplomatic flights, Farnborough Airshow. Any future revision or variation of the current planning conditions must include all these movements as they all contribute to noise, pollution and risk.
Any legal agreement drawn up with TAG is not worth the paper it is written on as they have it overturned when it suits them. This is what happened to the section 106 agreement limiting weekend flights. A legal agreement they ripped to shreds when it no longer suited them. If nothing else showing that Section 106 legal agreements are worthless pieces of paper. Having overturned one limit, TAG are now seeking to overturn their other limits, in particular the 28,000 upper limit on movements.
TAG are putting corporate greed before the needs of the local community.
Objections lodged to previous applications to expand Farnborough Airport apply even more so now.
Objections to these pans should be submitted to Keith Holland, Head of Planning (deadline 27 July 2009):
Head of Planning