PLANS to extend the runway at Birmingham International Airport received the green light from Solihull Council this week.
The proposals were given the nod by members of the planning sub committee - who held a special meeting on Tuesday evening. As part of the expansion plans, the runway will be extended by 400 metres. This will allow flights to destinations such as India and China.
At a meeting in December, councillors had said they were minded to approve the plans - but deferred the final decision. Now they have granted approval, subject to a package of conditions which is designed to protect local people and the environment.
Coun Stuart Davis, who chaired the meeting, said: “We have looked at this in holistic terms, and this will have a tremendous impact on the local economy, with this scheme bringing in over 2,100 jobs and around £113m income. There will be a positive impact on tourism, on culture – this will be good not just for the local area but the whole region.”
Bickenhill councillor Jim Ryan said: “We have been at the forefront of getting the best conditions for local residents and that’s our job frankly. But we must take into account that airport is a large employer and a large business in our borough and it’s not going to go away.”
During Tuesday’s meeting - which lasted 90 minutes - the planning committee heard from the airport and local residents.
Joe Kelly, BIA’s deputy chief executive, said that the extension would boost the local economy and enable the Midlands to “fight on a level playing field”.
But residents’ groups also had their say, voicing concerns about night flights, noise levels and an increase in pollution.
Chris Crean, from West Midlands Friends of the Earth, warned that the current deal would still allow for a big increase in greenhouse gases and noise pollution.
It has previously been suggested that the runway extension could be completed in time for the London Olympics in 2012.