Philip Booth, a spokesperson for the Stroud District Green party and author of the report, said: "BIA's 'Master Plan' recommending expansion is an extraordinary flawed and one-sided document that ignores some of the most basic economic realities. First the report dismisses climate change yet already the situation is dire: the Montreal agreement is a drop in the ocean of what we need. Air travel is hugely damaging: the carbon emitted per passenger flying to Sydney for example is equivalent to a Mini driving around the earth 640 times (ii). If this expansion goes ahead we will cripple the economy trying to reduce emissions, just for the sake of cheap flights. I don't think any of us want to think about the alternatives if we fail to reduce emissions."
Philip Booth continued: "Second, the UK already runs a massive £15 billion economic deficit from air travel. Expansion means more money going abroad rather than being spent in the region: an estimated colossal £30 billion outflow from the South West alone in the next 15 years."
Philip Booth said: "Thirdly aviation bathes luxuriously in a privileged tax-free status like the exemption from tax on aviation fuel and VAT: £9 billion per year plus billions in the hidden economic costs for infrastructure and environmental damage. There is no guarantee or indeed justification that future governments will continue this heavy subsidy."
Philip Booth said: "Fourth there is a failure to discuss the implications of how demand for oil will increasingly outstrip supply over the coming years; in short airfare prices will rocket and demand for flights will plummet. There is no conceivable way that forecasts for increasing passengers can be right when this is taken into account. There are also huge arguments about the significant impact such growth in passengers, noise and traffic will have on communities."
Philip Booth concluded: "This expansion runs counter to any sane view of economics or sustainability. Greens similarly condemn plans for a bigger runway at Gloucestershire's airport for corporate flights (iii). This is all about short-term gain. The big three parties all give their support to these moves with no consideration to our future and future generations. Greens want to see an end to subsidised air travel immediately and a serious programme to address climate change."
(i) "Response to Bristol International Airport Master Plan 2005 to 2030' - See under 'Reports' at: www.glosgreenparty.org.uk
(ii) Figures on jet fuel and greenhouse gases based on 80% occupancy on jumbo jet DC-747. All greenhouse gases expressed as warming equivalent in CO2. Source: air travel calculator at www.chooseclimate.org and United Nations Environment Programme
(iii) Cheltenham Borough Council and Gloucester City Council which own equal shares in the airport have accepted the airport's 5-year business plan.