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Friday, September 14, 2007

email from Deputy Leader of the Cheltenham Lib Dems

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Thank you for replying to my previous emails and clarifying your position.

I am glad that you recognise that the airport is simply wrong to deny global warming. I would also trust that you recognise by making light of such an important issue that their behaviour was scurrilous and reprehensible.

I am however still concerned that you are unquestioningly accepting the safety argument from the airport, especially when their credibility is now so low after their misconceptions document.

In the recent article in the Gloucester Echo at the start of the new Manx services, it was absolutely clear that new services were the objective of the works. The article specifically quotes Mr Norman as saying, "I think there are all sorts of routes you could have. I can see potential in double daily routes to Scottish destinations, like Edinburgh, mainland Europe and Dublin and Belfast." Following statements like these, to continue to believing the proposed work is purely safety related in absolute nonsense.

It is clear the runway length will be too small for Boeing and Airbus jets even after the extension; however it will comfortably accommodate the new generation of short take off turbo props. These planes have ranges of up to 800 miles and thus are comfortably within the range of many northern European cities.

The runaway will also be capable of supporting many “business jets” which will be used for recreational flights to places such as Cannes, Nice and Monte Carlo.

To believe that Staverton airport will somehow not expand its service offering to cover continental flights after the runway extension is clearly nonsense.

It is further clear that there is a demand for an airport in this area, which again was recognised in the Gloucester Echo with the quote from Manx’s Mr Filleul who said, “The service will compete with Bristol and Birmingham airports and attract its customer base from within a 60 to 90-minute drive radius of Staverton.” Again, this demonstrates that it is absolutely na├»ve to think that the airport does not propose to tap into current demand for flying.
Finally, amongst the airport proposals is the idea of traffic lighting Bramfurlong Lane, with the idea of stopping traffic near the end of the runway from interfering with the approach path for the new aircraft landing under Instrument Landing Systems. It is hard to believe that anyone can seriously argue that this will improve safety. It will take only one reasonably high sided vehicle to jump the lights to cause a fatal disaster.

On the issue of housing being built on the Airport site, this is a different debate altogether and it needs to be considered on its own merits. It is unacceptable to determine the outcome of this equally important debate by expanding an airport.
As regards your initial point on global warming, you clearly believe in it. It is now vitally important that you follow through to the next question and ask how severe this will become. As I have pointed out many times now, the science is brutally stark, and we are currently facing the very real possibility of a runaway global warming. The situation is so dire that we must not allow any developments that cause any unnecessary CO2 emissions.

I trust that you will finally recognise that the proposed works are about service increases and airport expansion and nothing to do with safety. I would further urge you to stand by the policies of your party by unequivocally opposing this airport expansion.

Regards,Kevin Lister

John Webster wrote:


Following your request a couple of weeks ago I discussed this with the Leader, Steve Jordon and we have agreed the following.
I would have replied sooner, but have been away.

'We disagree with the Airport Board that Global Warming is not happening. They are simply wrong.
We will oppose any further growth at the airport.
However, the current plans are necessary in order to conform with safety and operational requirements.
Our policy is to keep Staverton as it is. We see no prospects for dramatic expansion in the future, and certainly not for increasing charter flights beyond the United Kingdom.'

As you know, there are elements that wish to sell Staverton off and cover the area with houses which we are opposed to because of the urban sprawl that will result.You are right in not wanting to see Staverton grow into something we do not support.

Best wishes,

Cllr John Webster
Deputy Leader, Lib Dem Group.
Cheltenham Borough Council.
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