BIRMINGHAM International Airport has been urged to give an assurance that plans for a second runway will be scrapped for all time.
The call came from environmental campaigners during a meeting to discuss planning across the West Midlands, including proposals to build more than 400,000 new homes.
The airport announced in 2007 it was shelving the scheme for an additional runway and intended to extend the existing runway instead - a project which has since been given planning approval.
But it did not rule out absolutely the possibility of the scheme resurfacing sometime in the future, merely saying the airport would not have to consider the proposal again before 2030.
At the Examination in Public into the Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS), Chris Crean, from Friends of the Earth, and Gerald Kells. of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, called for an amendment to a draft document, which appeared to give local authorities the option to “safeguard” land near the airport that could be used for a second runway.
Mr Crean urged BIA to say ‘no’ to airport expansion forever. “We would like to see the airport say they would never build a second runway.
“If the airport do not think they need the land for the runway until 2030 and the RSS does not extend to that date, then we should take the mention of it out of this paper and use that land for growing food, and remove the blight on that piece of land. This is impacting on local residents.”
Mr Kells said: “The mention of a second runway at BIA should not be included in this plan. The land in question is green belt and so we really do think the wording put forward in this document is not right and we would like it amended.
“The draft Regional Spatial Strategy states that the airport should continue to be developed and that beyond the period of the document it may be necessary to provide a second, shorter runway. Development plans in Solihull and neighbouring authorities should include policies to look at this.”
Stephen Hill, the airport’s head of planning and transportation, said that as forecasts for passenger numbers at BIA were reviewed in the future, “runway capacity and the need for a second runway could be reconsidered.”