Friday, 22 October 2010

Airport expansion - an update

What is happening about the continuing saga of the proposed extension to the airport’s runway. Whilst we were anticipating a debate by the full council in September to consider whether we should allow a variation of the airport lease to allow such extension, and if so on what terms, this has been delayed by court proceedings commenced by a local resident seeking a judicial review of the earlier planning decision. We are now faced with the ridiculous situation that through the legal aid system we as taxpayers are funding an expensive, and in my view speculative court action, and Southend council tax payers are also funding an expensive defence of the claim. This will result in a final bill for the public purse amounting to many tens of thousands of pounds whatever the outcome – hardly helpful in the current economic climate. In the meantime we are unable to move to the real debate namely do we block the runway extension and force the airport to expand on its present runway but with an absence of effective environmental controls, or do we allow the extension but linked to reasonable and effective controls on flight direction, flight numbers, volumes of cargo, increased radar provision etc. This delay only further extends the anxiety of some residents and the commercial uncertainty for the airport not helped by some council members who seem determined to cloud the true debate by misleading the public in suggesting that the Council can somehow stop any airport expansion or unilaterally impose restrictions on night flights, flight numbers or a range of other issues which we cannot. If we are to deliver improved environmental controls and indeed facilitate and harness the commercial benefits that airport expansion can bring we will only do so by being realistic as to our present negotiating position and concentrating on the effective controls that can be delivered.

1 comment:

  1. I fully support the airport and the members of the council who really want to see it expand.

    A sucsessful airport will create more jobs a which is somnething Southend is crying out for and needs, anyone who beleves in blocking the airport clearly has nor got the towns best intrests at heart.

    If we block the re-birth of the airport it will send out the wrong messages to other companies who might be looking at investing large amounts of their own money into Southend and if that happens Southend will fall back to a time where nothing was happening and the town was dying on its feet.

    At long last we are seeing real changes in SOuthend the airport comming back to life, the sea front improvements, Pier Hill, Victoria Circus and hoefully a worlds class museum built in to the cliffs and a top class airshow.

    So lets take this opportunity to really put Southend back on the map, get the airport runway extended, as you say without the works to the runway the council have little say over the operations, at least by giving the green light to the change of use the council has a chance to impose strict but fair controls on noise and movements, night flights etc: however I would not like a total night shut down as sometines there are medical flights and RAF Seach and Recue flights that need to use Southend.