A DATE has been set for Solihull Council to decide the fate of Birmingham International Airport's controversial plan to extend its main runway.
Councillors will consider BIA's planning application on December 15 when they will hear the arguments for and against the £130 million scheme.
The planned 400-metre runway extension has the backing of many politicians and business leaders in the West Midlands because it will allow BIA to offer non-stop flights to China, India and the west coast of America and open up access for regional companies to lucrative overseas markets.
But environmental groups such as Friends of the Earth oppose it because they say people living near the airport will be subjected to more noise and carbon emissions.
Spokesman Chris Crean said: "A thorough review of the UK's aviation strategy is required especially in light of the forthcoming Climate Change Act.
"All airport expansion should be put on hold until this has taken place. If this does not happen then there will be a distinct possibility that Birmingham International Airport could become a de facto London Airport.
"MPs from the West Midlands must wake up to the threat of BIA's expansion. The new chief executive, Paul Kehoe, has already stated that the extended airport could be Heathrow's third runway."
Whatever decision members of Solihull's planning committee take next month, the Government will have the final say on the expansion scheme. A public inquiry is likely to be held at that could delay completion for at least six years.