On Monday the cabinet meeting at Birmingham City Council will meet to discuss whether to plough £16 million of tax-payers’ money into moving a road to make BIA’s runway extension possible.

Whether or not this actually happens is doubtful after recent statements by airport chief Paul Kehoe on the economic case and with new guidance on aviation from the government due and environmental campaigners are calling for a fresh look at the figures.

In the current economic downturn, much has been made of the need to stimulate economic growth, but Birmingham Friends of the Earth want people to look carefully at the facts before allowing the council to commit public money to subsidising a project which will actually suck money out of the economy.

BFoE have examined the quotes from airport officials about their projections of economic benefits and the variations should spread more doubt on the soundness of their arguments.

Spokesman Joe Peacock asks “How can we believe a company whose own estimates range from economic benefits of £500 million to £1 billion and creation of 21 000 jobs in some interviews, but down to only 2 500 in the most recent one?”

“In fact aviation has been shown to have a deficit of £15 billion to the UK economy as a whole and £1.86 billion to the West Midlands, so surely we should support other measure with public funds.”

“The council report says that money will have to come from other areas to fund this road project and we urge councillors to consider this carefully, before approving it.”

He continued “What we need are costed measures that will bring immediate job creation and training of a new workforce in green industries, deal with fuel poverty and health issues in this city now.”

Birmingham Friends of the Earth’s transport spokesman, Matt Keys added “The council has recently said they can’t afford to implement measures that will make roads safer and save lives for pedestrians and cyclists, yet they are planning to spend this money to bring in more noisy polluting planes, which have a negative impact on people’s health and the economy.”

Notes to Editors
1) Birmingham Friends of the Earth campaigns on many environmental issues, including the promotion of sustainable transport.
2) The agenda for the cabinet meeting and the report on the A45 are available here:
3) Aiport Watch has a guide to the tourism deficit from air travel: travel_Nov2009.doc
4) The airport’s figures are taken from various articles in the Birmingham Post from 2007-2010
For more information contact: Joe Peacock (Birmingham Friends of the Earth)
0121 632 6909