West Midlands News
Coventry: air today, gone tomorrow
First he gives us a flawed aviation White Paper, then the Secretary of State fails to intervene when an airport flouts the Paper's recommendations.
Coventry (Bagington) airport signed a deal on December 18th 2003 with budget airline ThomsonFly to commence new services on March 31st 2004.
However, the White Paper states 9.31 Coventry Airport currently serves a specialist role within the region . . .and can continue to perform this role within existing constraints. There is a current planning application for a terminal development at the airport, however . . . we would not envisage any significant further development being appropriate beyond the level of passenger throughput in the current application.
The "application" in question refers to a passenger throughput of one million passengers per annum (1mppa). It would help if the Department for Transport and Government Office for the West Midlands clarified the meaning of 'throughput': is that 1mppa outbound, making a total throughput of 2mppa, or 500,000mppa out and the same 500,000mppa back?
West Midlands Friends of the Earth, along with Warwickshire and Coventry FoE local groups, are supporting the stance taken by Warwick District Council, the local planning authority, who have asked the airport to pull down the illegally erected terminal building and dig up the illegally laid tarmac for an extended runway. The airport, now owned by TUI (owners of ThomsonFly and Lunn Poly), has appealed and intend to take matters to the High Court.
The likely outcome will be TUI coming
forward with a full planning application indicating transport infrastructure
needs, including public transport access and facilities for walking and cycling,
and environmental impacts outside the airport.
A public inquiry should determine whether these commercial operations are acceptable from Coventry and, if so, what conditions should they operate under e.g: night flight restrictions, public transport access, noise/air pollution limits, surface access, community investment, mitigation and compensation measures for affected local communities.