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Birmingham Airport planning application for runway extension

12 February 2008

On  4th January 2008, Birmingham Airport submitted a Planning Application to Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council for a proposed extension to the existing Main Runway 15/33. My letter on the application to the Council is below.   For details of the application click here.

21 February 2008

Since posting the above, I have received a letter from Mark Rogers, Acting Chief Executive of Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, stating that my letter of 12 February will be taken as a representation on the current planning application.   With respect to my last paragraph, Mr Rogers enclosed a letter to Liam Byrne MP of 7 December and document entitled "The West Midlands Regional Transport Priorities" executive summary.


Mr Mark Rogers
Chief Executive
Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council
The Council House
West Midlands
B91 9QS

12 February 2008

Dear Mr Rogers

Planning Application for the
Extension of the Main Runway at Birmingham International Airport

The Acting Managing Director of Birmingham International Airport, Joe Kelly, has recently written to me to draw my attention to the above planning application, which was lodged with your authority on 4 January 2008. The extension is to allow for long haul flights to the West Coast of America, the Pacific Rim, and the Far East.

Whilst I concur with Mr Kelly’s view that allowing for such flights is critical to the achievement of Birmingham’s aspiration to be a world city, and therefore support the extension in principle, I am not in favour of an expansion of the capacity of the airport.  Therefore I believe that if additional flights to long haul destinations are to be allowed, there should be a limitation on short haul flights, particularly those for which alternative train journeys are available, or could be available with appropriate investment in rail infrastructure. 

In the last year I have travelled, for business, by Eurostar to Brussels, Paris, Lyon, and Stuttgart. I will shortly be travelling by train for a short break to Venice.  At present the prices of train journeys are generally more expensive than those of air travel, but if we are to achieve the Government’s targets on greenhouse gas emissions, it is essential that air travel is limited and travel by rail made more competitive.

I therefore hope that, if the Authority is minded to approve the current planning application, that conditions will also be imposed that will limit the overall expansion of airport operations.  If your Authority currently does not have the necessary powers to achieve this objective, then I should be grateful if you could advise me as to what powers would need to be granted.

I should also be grateful if you could advise what, if any, representations Solihull MBC has made to the Government in relation to the need for a high speed train service to link the West Midlands with the Channel Tunnel and on action that needs to be taken to ensure the cost of rail travel is competitive with the prices of comparable journeys by air.

Yours sincerely,





cc  Joe Kelly, Acting Managing Director, Birmingham International Airport.


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