With Birmingham Airport still making bold claims about millions of extra passengers, local environmentalists point out their numbers are a work of pure fiction.

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Birmingham Friends of the Earth point out that the numbers of new passengers that the airport mention in their reports seem to be based on outdated predictions of growth in light of the implementation of the Climate Change Act and rapid growth in oil prices.

 

Joe Peacock of Birmingham Friends of the Earth said:

“We have legally binding targets for reducing CO2 emissions which cannot possibly be met if aviation is planning to increase passenger numbers by nearly a third.

 

“Many businesses now accept that it is not only possible, but makes economic sense to travel less, so are cutting the numbers of flights they take by over 40% in some cases. [1] It is no longer seen as glamorous, but a drain on people’s time, so we need to ensure that Birmingham has the best video conferencing facilities to attract companies.

 

The economic arguments for airport expansion in the Midlands also came under fire.

 

Peacock continued: “Overestimating the number of jobs created is a well-known tactic and Birmingham Airport has done this consistently.

 

“We need the government to look at the evidence carefully and compare the contribution to our economy of aviation with other industries. If they do so, it will be obvious that the tax-breaks it currently enjoys along with ignoring the environmental and social damage it does cannot be justified.”

 

The government has already delayed the long-awaited consultation into a sustainable future for aviation [2] which should provide more clarity over its view on expansion.

 

ENDS

Notes for editors

1. AEF have recently published figures on passenger growth taking into account many factors including work with businesses to reduce flights: http://www.aef.org.uk/?p=1423

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=1583

3. Birmingham Friends of the Earth’s response to the consultation is available online: http://www.birminghamfoe.org.uk/bfoe-on-flying/developing-a-sustainable-framework-for-uk-aviation

4. Birmingham Friends of the Earth campaigns on many environmental issues on a local, national and international level. They hold regular campaigns meetings on Monday evenings at 7.30pm: http://www.birminghamfoe.org.uk/

5. This is a response to the new report Birmingham Airport released this week which was covered in the Birmingham Post online: http://www.birminghampost.net/news/west-midlands-transport-news/2012/06/26/birmingham-airport-takes-growth-campaign-to-government-65233-31262704/