Waverley Borough Council has added its name to the thousands of individuals, campaign groups and local authorities objecting to plans that would see a significant increase in flights at Farnborough Airport.
The airport has applied to Rushmoor Borough Council for planning permission to increase the maximum number of annual aircraft movements at the airport from 50,000 to 70,000 per year.
It also seeks to increase the weight category of the aircraft by 5,000kg, and to replace risk contour maps with Public Safety Zone maps.
The airport is primarily used by private jets and the proposals would also see flights double during weekdays and bank holidays, from 8,900 to 18,900, dramatically increasing the amount of harmful greenhouse gasses that are released into the atmosphere.
In its formal response to the planning application, Waverley Borough Council expressed deep concern about the impact increased air traffic will have on Climate Change, the natural environment, protected wildlife, residents and local businesses.
Councillor Steve Williams, Waverley’s portfolio holder for environment and sustainability said: “Private jets are the most damaging form of air travel because they carry so few passengers.
“Waverley Borough Council has declared a Climate Emergency, and we are firmly committed to reducing the emissions that contribute to climate change.
“Farnborough Airport is located just five miles north of the Waverley border and these latest proposals are totally incompatible with what we’re trying to achieve.
“Our residents, businesses and wildlife would all be directly affected by an increase in light, air, and noise pollution because the airport’s flight path travels directly over the western part of our borough.
“We have three special protection areas specifically to safeguard rare bird species like the woodlark, nightjar, and Dartford warbler. It would be a travesty if these special creatures were driven from their habitat here by increased numbers of wealthy people jetting in.
“As a consequence, we are strongly urging Rushmoor Borough Council to reject this damaging planning application.”
It comes after fellow councils including Farnham Town Council and East Hampshire District Council, as well as government ministers including Jeremy Hunt and Michael Gove, also issued strong rebukes to Farnborough’s plans, saying the increased flights would undermine efforts to reduce carbon emissions and increase noise pollution.
But the airport claims it can meet its target to achieve net-zero emissions by 2030 while meeting the four per cent annual growth in demand for business aviation.
Its planning application to Rushmoor Borough Council adds the economic benefits would be “achieved without significant environmental harm”, and promises “the most generous eligibility criteria of any airport in the UK in relation to grant funding for noise insulation”.
It states: “The plans also allow for a continued and renewed focus on emissions reduction and air quality monitoring, with additional monitoring and reporting being proposed, including the measurement of Particulate Matters.”