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Friday, April 22, 2011

Birmingham Airport reported to SFO

We wish to report John Hudson (Chairman) and Paul Kehoe (Chief Executive) of Birmingham of Airport for Serious Fraud.

They have announced that they are to proceed with a multi million pound extension of the runway at Birmingham Airport with the primary aim or allowing long range jets to use the airport to access markets on the West Coast of America and China.

This  development will create huge additional CO2 emissions, which will cause a loss to others from climate change that is so great as to be unquantifiable. It is hard to think of a more serious crime than this.
We note the false claims on the Birmingham Airport Web Site with reference to the their position on the environment and on aviation's contribution in general. We further note that if a correct and truthful statement on the environmental impact was made then it is inconceivable that this development would be allowed to proceed. The aviation industry are in possession of the full facts on climate change, so the statements they have made are knowingly incorrect. We also note that Birmingham Airport will also seek to cause further loss to others by securing public funding for the development.

Specific false claims made on their web site follow:

We aim to reduce our energy use and carbon footprint”  - This is totally incompatible with their aim of developing their business through increasing service provision to long range destinations.  The opening statement on this web page is a blatant attempt to falsely portray a benign and caring position on their environmental impact, which can be nothing short of destructive.

Demonstrate a corporate commitment to reducing CO2 levels “  - they offer no measurable targets and continue to falsely portray their position. Likewise to pretend that they have a corporate committment to reduceing CO2 levels while simultaneously expanding the runway is a deliberate fraud.

Identify and introduce new technology” There is no evidence that the introduction new technology reduces total emissions. It should be noted that the claim using new technology has been made repeatedly by the aviation industry as the main thrust of its approach to tackling climate change. Delivering this message was the primary remit of Flying Matters, which was the industry lobby group. However they proved totaly unable to justify their claims and so flawed was their argument that they have recently been wound up.  It this reprehensible that Birmingham Airport are still pursuing this same deliberately false argument.

Aviation contributes 3.4% of the world’s CO2 emissions and these emissions will grow at 0.7% per year “ This is deliberately misleading as it does not account for the environmental cost of sourcing the fuel, such as emissions from tar sands oil production, CO2 emissions from deforestation for biofuels, etc. It also does not include non-CO2 warming impacts which are at least as great as the CO2 alone. Also the argument that aviation emissions will grow at 0.7% a year is plain wrong. Emission growth in the EU has been 4.2% per year since 1990 leading to a doubling of aviation emissions every 17 years and similar growth is expected in the emerging markets that Birmingham Airport wants to serve.

Even if the 0.7% was correct, it is still exponential growth at a time when it is vital that we reduce CO2 emissions to get the current level of atmospheric CO2 down from the critically dangerous level of 390 ppm to 350 ppm. They have therefore been fraudulent in omitting the critically important fact that greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced. Instead they have tried to imply that this situation is currently acceptable because their claimed 0.7% growth rate seems to imply a small and acceptable increase.

L:ikewise, they have also been fraudulent in igoring the fact that during 17 year doubling time, the same amount of emissions will be added to the atmosphere as the total aviation emissions since the Wright Brothers flew the first plane upto the start of the doubling period, e.g the total emissions from 2000 to 2017 are the same as the total emissions from 1903 to 2000.

“Nevertheless, there can be no room for complacency and the industry continues to commit money and resources to find new technological and operational solutions that will reduce air travel’s contribution to the global problem. Most noticeably, aircraft have become 70% more fuel-efficient than they were 40 years ago. Birmingham is proud to be home to many green fleets including Flybe’s Q400 and Embraer 195 aircraft, and Ryanair’s 737-800 aircraft, all of which move people for less fuel burn and lower emissions per seat than the smaller and older types.”

This whole paragraph is deliberately fraudulent. The new extension will not use “fuel-efficient” planes such as the ones listed here, instead it will specifically aim to serve much more polluting planes such as the A-380 which produces huge amounts of greenhouse gas emissions every flight. It is also fraudulent to claim that planes have become 70% more fuel efficient than 40 years ago, when the current generation of planes are only now reaching the same levels of efficiency as the piston engined planes of the 1950s.  As regards the claim about “green fleets,” there is no such thing as a green plane.

We also note the Airport's directors are abusing the "fictional person" status that the airport enjoys in law. As there is no legislation to make increasing the pollution generated from the airport illegal, despite the overwhelming scientific evidence on climate change, then the management should be excercising  extra care to ensure that such loop holes in the law are not exploited to the detriment of everyone else.
We therefore believe that the management, as controllers of a powerful corporation,  "occupy a position in which they are expected to safeguard, or not to act against, the financial interests of another person" and are thus clearly abusing this position.

It is unavoidable that this development will cause millions of tonnes of additional greenhouse emissions per years. The emissions are being allowed as a result of the deliberately misleading claims that the Airport is making about its environmental impact. Making false claims and deliberately ommitting information with the intent to make gain is fraud under the definition of the Fraud Act 2006. Specifically Section 2 (dishonestly makes a false representation), Section 3 (dishonestly fails to disclose to another person information which he is under a legal duty to disclose), Section 4 (Fraud by abuse of position).

Thousands of innocent victims will suffer as a consequence of this development. There is no way out of this nightmare scenario, other than treating false claims as the fraudulent crimes that they are. It is therefore incumbent on the SFO to fully investigate these claims and prosecute the main perpetrators, thereby demonstrating the law will provide real people the with same protection corporations enjoy through their “fictional person” status.
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