BIRMINGHAM International Airport’s plans to extend its runway by 400 metres to accommodate long-haul flights have got the Government’s nod of approval.
The Local Government Secretary, Hazel Blears, has decided not to “call-in” the decision by Solihull Council to grant planning permission for the £130 million scheme.
This means that subject to the signing of legal agreements with the airport, the project has the full go-ahead and planes will be able to fly direct to the west coast of America and the Far East.
Before councillors gave planning consent last month, the airport had to resubmit its proposed Section 106 agreement detailing its plans to counteract noise pollution and to protect the environment.
Councillor Stuart Davis, chairman of the council’s planning sub-committee, said: “I am pleased that the Secretary of State feels this is a decision that does not need her scrutiny and can be determined by Solihull Council.
“It demonstrates our ability to provide proper local scrutiny to major infrastructure projects.
“This development will help deliver national, regional and local benefits, and I look forward to working with the airport to see the proposals being implemented as soon as possible.”
But Chris Williams of the West Midlands Green Party, said: “I am not surprised by the Secretary of State’s decision as it seems clear the Government is content on the destruction of the climate, and we can see that through their decision to expand Heathrow Airport.”
And Chris Crean, from Friends of the Earth, added: “It is a great shame that the Secretary of State has not given us the opportunity to bring the issues surrounding the extension to a public inquiry.
“Allowing the aviation industry to expand where and whenever it likes does not give a clear signal that the Government really wants to get to grips with the climate change issue.”
There is currently growing unrest over plans to expand Heathrow Airport.