Farnborough Airport

The Land Is Ours office at tlio.demon.co.uk
Tue Feb 20 22:57:21 GMT 2001

Farnborough Airport

' ...reprofiling of the hills concerned is an operation undertaken by a 
Crown agency on Crown land and for the benefit of a Crown agency.'  Keith 
Holland, Rushmoor Head of Planning

The massive environmental destruction that is taking place to the west of 
the main runway (deforestation, reprofiling of hills) is well known (BVEJ 
newsletters passim). Less well known is the consultation process that took
place towards the end of last year. If you were not aware of it we are not 
surprised as it was a very private affair between MoD (Defence Agency) and 
Rushmoor, airfield protesters and other interested parties were strictly
off limits.

The work that is taking place is allegedly 'heathland management'. That 
others may benefit, ie it gives safety clearance for the airfield and 
enables lengthening of the runway to allow heavier aircraft is merely 
fortuitous, a happy coincidence. The work is for a Crown agency, by a Crown 
agency, on Crown land, ie Crown immunity applies and the public can go hang.

A closer inspection and it all begins to unravel. The consultation document 
and accompanying map, circular 18/84 reprofiling of hills and associated 
engineering work, shows the takeoff surface. TAG mouthpiece Sir Donald 
Spiers in a letter to the Farnborough News (Friday 2 February 2001) claimed 
the work was for safety reasons: 'The reasons for the MoD cutting down the 
trees near the flight path ... is of course to increase clearance and to 
improve safety.' English Nature (Catherine Chatters) whilst falling over 
backwards to support the work, nevertheless bemoan the fact that they had 
no input to the work until the work had started. There are no plans for 
biodiversity monitoring or long-term management, this is now being 
considered as an afterthought. Massive deforestation, ripping the tops off 
hills, is not 'heathland management'. Under EU law MoD has no Crown 
Immunity, other than for siting of nuclear missiles.

Catherine Chatters (English Nature) should hang her head in shame. As at 
Newbury (see merrick, Battle for the Trees, godhaven ink, 1996) English 
Nature have not only failed to protect our natural heritage, they have 
fallen over backwards to aid and abet the developers.

Rushmoor councillors Smith, Mathews and Dawson have attacked Patrick Kirby 
for scaremongering and causing panic in the local community. These 
councillors must think the local community are as thick as they are, that
we do not notice aircraft flying over our heads, or that we are not aware 
of the dangers.

In a letter to the Farnborough News (Friday 2 February 2001) Sir Donald 
Spiers tried to claim there were no plans for expansion at Farnborough and 
in effect called Caroline Lucas a liar: 'I actually chaired the TAG 
briefing for the local MEP and can assure your readers that at no stage did 
I, or any representative of TAG, suggest that aircraft movements were 
expected to increase by a factor of five to 75,000 per annum' (BVEJ 
newsletter #0007 December 2000). Donald Spiers lacks any credibility.  Last 
year Spiers tried to claim in a local radio interview that there was no 
local opposition to the airfield, and that support far outweighed the 
opposition. Fortunately the interviewer was well briefed and corrected him 
on both counts, 1200 letters of objection, only 200 in support. Spiers 
comments run counter to those made by TAG elsewhere on the desire to expand 
and not be limited to 25,000 movements. Spiers is also expecting us to 
believe that a greed-driven, Arab-owned, foreign-based company will not 
choose to maximise its return on capital investment, that it will not 
choose to maximise revenue by increasing movements and tonnage, that unlike 
every other airport in the world Farnborough will not expand.

It should be noted that the 28,000 movements for which TAG have been 
granted planning permission does not include MoD or those operated on 
behalf of the Crown. Add in these extras and we are looking at well in
excess of 30,000 annual movements.

Fara (lighthouse in Spanish), Farnborough Aerodrome Residents Association, 
now has a web site. 01252 654920/651537


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