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Birmingham Friends of the Earth call for fairness and transparency in public funding

 
Birmingham Friends of the Earth welcome the fact that the Birmingham LEP’s bid for £15 million from the Regional Growth Fund (RGF) to subsidise the airport’s runway extension was ruled ineligible under round one, but is looking for more transparency in future rounds.

The money, which would be used for the diversion of the A45 Coventry Road to enable the 350-metre runway extension, is still likely to be asked for in future rounds by the board, but the campaigns group believes public money should not be sought for such projects.

Lead aviation campaigner Thomas Hulme believes that “There is a lack of transparency in the RGF bidding process. Why should it be left to an unelected and unaccountable body to decide which projects take precedent and indeed which projects are bid for? There is no public scrutiny or opportunity to input into this process”.

Birmingham Friends of the Earth have been campaigning against the runway extension due to the huge environmental impacts of the aviation industry and the rise in noise pollution that it will create. However, they also feel that it is unacceptable that public funds should subsidize this commercial airport project, especially at a time when huge cutbacks are being made in public sector jobs and funding for other transport projects.

Mr Hulme continues to say “In this economic climate we need to be investing in local, low-carbon transport projects, not further feather-bedding the aviation industry even more. When the rest of us are suffering financially, why should they enjoy such perks as being exempt from paying VAT and get taxpayers to pay for moving this road?”

Notes to Editors

1. Birmingham Friends of the Earth campaigns on many environmental issues on a local, national and international level. http://www.birminghamfoe.org.uk/

2. For more information on Birmingham Friends of the Earth’s stance on Aviation issues, please visit http://www.birminghamfoe.org.uk/aviation

For more information contact: Joe Peacock (Birmingham Friends of the Earth) 0121 632 6909 joe@birminghamfoe.org.uk

Or Thomas Hulme (Lead Aviation Campaigner) tom.hulme@birminghamfoe.org.uk