14 September 2017
Green Party councillors in Norwich have called for a halt to airport expansion, in response to Norwich Airport’s growth ambitions, which were discussed at City Hall on Wednesday.
The Green Party group has submitted a response to the airport’s consultation, criticising the plan on the grounds that it will add to climate chaos but also that it is unrealistic and poorly evidenced. The airport wants to treble passenger numbers by 2045, despite currently being heavily dependent on the declining oil and gas industry. The Greens are also objecting to the intention to introduce night flights, arguing that the impact on residents has not been properly considered and that the airport has used incorrect figures for its noise targets.
At a meeting of the council’s Sustainable Development Panel, which offers recommendations to the council cabinet, officers presented a report which backed the expansion proposals, while criticising the lack of a plan for transport to the airport. Green councillors argued that further information was needed on the likely climate change impacts of increased passenger numbers – a point that was eventually agreed by the panel and subsequently by the cabinet.
Councillor Sandra Bögelein said: “We are disappointed that the council's response to Norwich Airport's expansion plans does not challenge the airport's many optimistic claims. Most of all, we were shocked that the report did not discuss the serious implications for climate change. With climate breakdown now wreaking havoc in America, and aviation emissions rising, this amounts to a denial of reality. We are pleased to have persuaded the council leadership to recommend investigation into the climate impacts of the airport’s plans. Ultimately, though, a total rethink is needed, because airport expansion is not compatible with serious action on climate change. Society has to curb its flying addiction urgently if we are to leave the planet in a decent state for future generations.
"Even aside from the key issue of climate change, we have serious doubts about the viability of the plans, given that the airport is heavily dependent on the declining oil and gas industry. Residents' concerns about night flights have also not been addressed.
"Once again, the Greens are the only party challenging the complacent consensus around air travel. We want to see a serious and mature discussion about the future of Norwich Airport that takes into account the climate crisis and the future of offshore oil and gas, rather than taking these poorly evidenced plans at face value."
The Green Party group’s full response to the consultation can be found here: https://www.greenparty.org.uk/assets/files/localparties/norwich/Norwich-Green-group-response-to-Norwich-Airport-Masterplan.pdf
The Norwich Airport Masterplan is available in draft form here: https://www.norwichairport.co.uk/masterplan/