Airbus A380, Farnborough Airport
'Ultimately this is an issue of amenity of local residents versus the convenience to business people.' -- Geoff Marks, chairman of FARA
'There's a vote on the local paper's website and we would appreciate if you can vote in support.' -- Daifly, Professional Pilots Rumour Network
Last summer, an application by TAG Aviation was made for a doubling of weekend and bank holiday flights at Farnborough Airport, ie a doubling of the misery for local residents. To the surprise of everyone, the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor took heed of local opinion and turned down the application from TAG Aviation.
TAG Aviation appealed.
For four days last week a Public Inquiry heard TAG's case.
It is a difficult to hear TAG's case and keep a straight face. According to TAG, only nine people are affected by their proposed expansion plans, they are of great economic benefit to the local community.
The nub of TAG's case is that business operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, all year round, and therefore they should not be subjected to any restrictions. Their profit outweighs the misery of local people, their convenience outweighs the impact on the environment.
So far TAG Aviation are only seeking a doubling of weekend flights, but were they to get their way, they would be back for an increase in flying hours, removal of weight restrictions and an increase in overall numbers not just a doubling at weekends.
TAG's economic case can be seen by looking at Farnborough town centre which is lying semi-derelict. If money is being pumped into the local economy, it is not visible to the naked eye.
No proper economic study has ever been carried out, that is one that takes account of all the disbenefits.
No account has been taken of greenhouse emissions.
Business aviation, with its low load factors, is the most obscene form of aviation.
Morag Ellis QC acting for the local council ably summed up the situation when she said:
'Put simply the proposal is for a doubling of movements at weekends and bank holidays when common sense, and a certain amount of research, dictates that residents are more likely to be disturbed by noise at weekends than at other times.'
'This is because more people will be at home and because residents have reasonable expectations for a more peaceful environment in which to enjoy their leisure time in their houses and gardens.'
Local resident Glenn Morrison described TAG Aviation as 'an arrogant, ruthless and insatiable organisation set to gorge on our community until they are satisfied or stopped.'
He went on to attack the local Member of Parliament Gerald Howarth MP for failing to act for his constituents:
'Why would anyone be surprised since Gerald [Howarth], a pilot regularly enjoying the facilities at the airport, has taken every opportunity to advance TAG's endeavours, whilst holding a consultancy for an air charter firm operating from Farnborough.'
A dowser claimed the aircraft had a sinister effect on local residents' energy fields!
At the start of the Public Inquiry TAG were embroiled in controversy when it was learnt that they were rigging an on-line poll run by the Aldershot News Group.
This controversy was stoked up further when it was learnt that a pilot's discussion forum was also involved in rigging the on-line poll.
Please take the time to visit the poll and register a vote if it is still on-line and has not been taken down.
Gerald Howarth MP was strongly attacked at the Public Inquiry for promoting the interests of TAG Aviation, not that of his constituents. A glance at his Register of Members Interests illustrates where his interests lie.
The week before the Public Inquiry, Howarth had been embroiled in controversy for promoting McDonald's.
The Public Inquiry has now been adjourned until 2 April 2007.
Aircraft are the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gases. This sector alone, will wipe out any savings in all other sectors.
Today passengers faced a doubling of Air Passenger Duty. There is a question as to the legality of these increased charges as the legislation required for the increase has not been passed by Parliament.
Air Passenger Duty is not a green tax, it is a tax. The airlines simply pass it on to their passengers. For business passengers at Farnborough Airport it is negligible.
What is needed is an environmental levy on each flight. This then forces behavioural changes on the airlines.
Even this may not be enough. We need planning restrictions on the expansion of airports. Just one more reason why the Planning Inspector must say no to a doubling of weekend and bank holiday flights at Farnborough Airport.
Air tax increase comes into force, BBC News on-line, 1 February 2007
Pete Castle, 'Weekend flying vital for jobs, Farnborough Mail, 30 January 2007
Kate Evans, Funny Weather, Myriad Editions, 2006
David Lindsell, 'Ruthless' TAG and 'arrogant' MP in firings line: Campaigner lays into airfield operator, Farnborough Mail, 30 January 2007
David Lindsell, Dowser claims aircraft have subtle effect, Farnborough Mail, 30 January 2007
David Lindsell and Pete Castle, Extra flights 'low impact', The Rush, 1 February 2007
Cliff Mogg, Appeal on flights is adjourned, Surrey-Hants Star, 1 February 2007
Now a pilot says 'vote yes' in web poll, Farnborough Mail, 30 January 2007
Keith Parkins, FACC – March 2006, Indymedia UK, 17 March 2006
Keith Parkins, Expansion of Farnborough Airport rejected!, Indymedia UK, 17 June 2006
Keith Parkins, MP promotes junk food, Indymedia UK, 17 January 2007
Keith Parkins, MP yet again pictured promoting McDonald's, Indymedia UK, 19 January 2007
Keith Parkins, Farnborough Airport Public Inquiry, Indymedia UK, 20 January 2007
Keith Parkins, TAG Aviation caught rigging on-line poll, Indymedia UK, 27 January 2007