Environment will be hit by airport plan ‘disaster’
PLANS by Birmingham Airport to nearly double passenger numbers by 2033 are a ‘disaster’ for the environment, a green Solihull councillor has claimed.
And he says that, if the airport goes through with its proposals, it will end up producing nearly double the amount of greenhouse gases as the entire city of Wolverhampton.
Earlier this month Birmingham Airport announced its ‘masterplan’ for the future, investing £500 million in the hope of increasing passenger numbers to 18 million per year by 2033.
The airport also says that its plans will see it increase its contribution to the local economy from £1.5 billion to a forecast £2.1 billion a year, while also creating 34,000 jobs by 2033.
However, Green councillor Max McLoughlin (Shirley South, Solihull) believes that not only will the airport’s plans not contribute enough to the West Midlands, but that the environmental impact will be devastating for the region.
“I think firstly we are 12 years away from ‘runaway climate change’, and that’s the UN’s words, not my own,” he said. “So we are in a very dangerous and precarious position. It’s very problematic that we’re pushing the largest source of pollution within the region to grow.
“But on the other side of it I think it’s much more important to focus on what the foundation of our economy is, and developing wealth that stays within the region.
“We’re supercharging growth in the wrong direction. It is the largest source of greenhouse gases within the region and, according to our projections, it’s going to be producing more CO2 than the city of Wolverhampton by 2030.
“That illustrates the amount of pollution that it’s producing so I’m very much concerned.
“In terms of the economics, I think a really important thing to say is that I don’t think it’s any secret that this region is not where it was 40 or 50 years ago, economically, and certainly not where it was 100 or 150 years ago. The only way in which we’re going to develop in a globalised world is to find ways for more wealth to stay within the region. And airports are not that. There’s very little wealth or economic growth within the region from airports.
“To develop a foundation economy, we’re talking about helping SMEs to set up and develop, things that employ more people and keep more wealth within local areas. Airports don’t do that, and see wealth sucked not just out of a region but out of the country, to a greater extent than they bring into the region.
“So I’m concerned at them using an economic argument because it’s perfectly credible to say there are better economic arguments for developing an economy.”
Cllr McLoughlin said he was disappointed in West Midlands Mayor Andy Street’s support for the airport’s plans.
Mr Street spoke at the launch of the masterplan earlier this month, despite promising in his manifesto to ‘get a grip on air pollution’.
> Birmingham Airport wants to double passenger numbers by 2033