The fight over Birmingham Airport’s controversial runway extension plans swung in favour of local business leaders last night as planning bosses said they were poised to approve the scheme.
Members of Solihull Council’s planning sub committee said they would back the extension of the runway subject to stringent planning gain constraints which must be agreed at a later meeting.
In a unanimous vote they agreed to grant planning permission providing the Section 106 agreement, which will contain constraints on noise pollution and protection of the environment, met their approval.
Speaking after the meeting committee chair Coun Stuart Davis said: “A lot of work has been done and we are mindful that we had to take into account the views of the airport as well as the views of residents. “I think the council have succeeded in what they set out to achieve in that we were looking out for the residents through a proper 106 agreement, but we also had to consider the needs of the Airport and the business sector.
“Subject to the 106 agreement coming back and being accepted by the members this application will be approved.”
Birmingham Airport proposed building a 400 metre extension to a runway which they say will increase economic prospects and job creation in the region.
They also argue it will increase the connectivity of the region allowing Birmingham to compete on the ‘global stage.’
Paul Kehoe from BIA addressed the planning committee stating the extension of the runway was not like Stanstead or Heathrow, it was something for local people. “We are not talking about Stanstead or Heathrow,” he said. “We are talking about an extension and we should see it in that context. “This is a global opportunity that brings us connectivity but it does not just bring the West Midlands to the world, it brings the world to the West Midlands.
“It encourages local people to take local flights from their local airport.”
But there were arguments against the extension of the runway and Chris Crean from West Midlands Friends of Earth spoke about the damaging impact of climate change.
He said: “The Climate Change Act has changed the way we are going to make decisions about emissions.
“And the time is now for us to walk the talk on climate change and take decision that take climate change into account. “I would urge you to pass a resolution to take this to full council. “More people should look at this in a full open and transparent manner.
“I would argue one of the most frightening things is how people have thought about the growth of passenger numbers.
“This is a large step in the wrong direction.
“We need to make planning applications that are fit for a climate change environment.
“I would urge you to ask for a public inquiry to be heard.”
Opposer Mark Jackson disputed claims by BIA that the extension would bring unprecedented economic growth to the West Midlands. He also said the aviation industry was operating at a loss. He said: “This application asks you to weigh the economic and environmental benefits against each other.
“BIAs case is contradictory. Do not trust what people are saying.’’