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Monday, January 18, 2010

Police unprepared to act on environemental fraud

Dear Inspector Chester ,

Thank you for your reply, however your arguments and final conclusions do not recognise the reality of the situation.

Your point 1 says that there has to be an "Acteus Reus," and you conclude that the deed has not yet been done. However, the deed has clearly been done and the evidence is unequivocal. Planning permission has been sought and granted by Tewkesbury Council on the basis of the claim that the CO2 limits will not exceed 4000 tonnes per annum. Yet, Cheltenham and Gloucester Councils approved a business plan that makes no reference to the 4,000 tonnes CO2 limit and they have now provided millions of pounds of taxpayer backed loans to the airport. They have backed this loan on the basis that the Councils will make a significant return on their investment. It is impossible for them to make this return whilst staying within the 4000 tonnes CO2 limit. The airport directors, including Councillor Les Godwin, are fully aware of this and it is for this reason they deliberately omitted reference to the 4000 tonnes in the business plan. Under the Fraud Act 2006, section 3, "failing to disclose the information — to make a gain for himself or another," is fraud.

As further evidence that the deed has been done, the airport is currently pursuing purchases of land at the end of the runway and a status report to the councils of Gloucester and Cheltenham stated that these negotiation are underway.

Your point 2 claims that the flights are only "assumed." You have taken this word out of context. The word is used to make an estimate of the number of working weeks per year, it does not make a judgement of the actual number of flights. The actual number of additional flights was referenced in section 10.9.1 of the business plan that was submitted to the councils, and is attached with this email. The business plan states "One additional landing per day is a modest assumption for Year 4, two landings per day for Year 5."

In both cases, the word “assumed” refers to a lower limit. Even this lower limit results in the CO2 levels massively exceeding the 4000 tonnes.

Your point also misses the evidence presented by the airport in their business case that they intended to increase dividend payments by a factor of 32. This will clearly be impossible if the CO2 emissions are to increase by no more than 6%.

Your Point 3 does not recognise the realities of the challenges that we face in making carbon cuts. The science is unequivocal in its position that we cannot carry on with a business as usual approach and that it is totally false to assume that an increase in emissions in one area can be managed out as part of a nationwide CO2 budgeting programme. It was for precisely this reason that that a CO2 ceiling was imposed on the airport as a condition for planning through the Green Management Plan.

Your point does not alter the fundamental fact that the main condition of planning has been cynically disregarded in the granting of millions of pounds of tax payer backed loans.

Your point 4 says that "In future, planes will have to become more efficient. Therefore my report is based on an assumption." However, efficiency gains are limited by the basics of physics and thermodynamics, and planes are now fully optimised with only very small improvements possible in the future. These improvements will in no way achieve the 80% cuts in CO2 emissions that we need, especially in the face of airport expansion. I therefore put it to you that it is you who is making the false assumption that a massive increase in the efficiency of planes will happen within the next few years.

You conclude by saying "A criminal prosecution would be a waste of public money." This is absolutely wrong. Climate change is the defining issue of our time, yet action to minimise CO2 emissions is undermined by those organisations who have disproportionate power and vested interests in preventing change. Those organisations lie and subvert normal process, as evidenced by the actions of the directors of Gloucestershire Airport . These acts represent “false representation to make gain” in the purest sense and as such are fraudulent as defined by the Fraud Act 2006.
In this case the Directors of the Airport have sought gain (Planning permission and council tax payer backed loans) by both withholding information and submitting false representations.

It is therefore absolutely in the public interest for this fraud case to be pursued. Many members of the public have tried argument; writing to elected representatives and got nowhere. They have then been forced to take direct action through peaceful protest and have suffered arrest, often under tenuous circumstances and through misapplication of the law. Yet those same people now have to watch the police and CPS standing by when a fraudulent act is clearly being committed.

A failure not to proceed with prosecution demonstrates a judicial and policing system that is biased towards protection of large carbon emitting businesses, rather than upholding the law and providing the protection that society needs to ensure the environment is not further sacrificed. It is after all, the quality of the environment that is the most critical factor to our society. Failure to act sets a dangerous precedent as we move into far deeper and more serious issues as a consequence of runaway climate change.


Kevin Lister

--- On Fri, 15/1/10, Chester, Stephen wrote:

From: Chester, Stephen

Subject: FW: Fraud at Gloucestershire Airport

To: "''"

Date: Friday, 15 January, 2010, 15:30

Dear Mr Lister,

As promised, I have looked into the possibility of prosecuting executives at Gloucestershire Airport, based on the evidence contained in the report you have written. I have consulted the Force Solicitor and the Detective Chief Inspector. I am afraid that Police will not be investigating this matter for the following reasons:-

1- For the offence of Fraud to occur there has to be an 'Acteus Reus', i.e. the deed has to have been done. It clearly has not (yet). Therefore no act=no fraud.

2- Page 2 of the report has the word 'assume' towards the number of flights. Clearly one cannot base an offence on a future unknown.

3 -As Government has to make 'Carbon Emission Savings', any increase in emissions from Gloucestershire Airport will form part of our National output and will have to be offset elsewhere.

4 - In future, aeroplanes, as motorcars will have to become more efficent. Therefore, your report is again based on assumption.

The report will be better addressed to Planning and Environmental Officers, as the burden of proof required under civil law is "balance of probabilities" and not, as with criminal law, "beyond all reasonable doubt". There is no prospect of a successful criminal prosecution in this case, and I believe a Police investigation would be fruitless, and a waste of public money.

I am sorry I cannot be of more help.


Steve Chester

Cheltenham Road East Police Station (CRE)

Gloucestershire Constabulary

+ Churchdown, Gloucester, GL3 1HX

( 0845 090 1234, ext 5282, or 01452 714256
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