Update on Biggin Hill Airport Expansion 27/5/21
Thankfully Bromley Council's Executive voted unanimously against the change of use plans proposed by the airport. Good news for all of us - for air quality, traffic and noise. Now let's keep the pressure on the council to ensure that the agreed Noise Action Plan is enforced (pre lockdown the view was that it wasn't), and let's see the air pollution data that the council is obliged to collect made public as soon as possible so that trends can be monitored. Biggin Hill Airport brings a lot of benefit to the local community and economy, and they've previously shown a willingness to work towards minimising their impact on the environment, so let's continue with the positive dialogue.
Here's our original article about the change of use application:
Biggin Hill Airport have applied to Bromley Council to change the permitted use of the airport to accept fare-paying passengers. This is due to be decided at a council meeting on 26th May - so please let your ward councillors know your views as soon as possible. We concerned about the impact on the lives of local residents in terms of noise and infrastructure, but also have major concerns about the environmental damage such an expansion would cause. We are also dismayed by the lack of consultation with local residents.
Under the terms of its licence Biggin Hill can only handle flights that have been chartered for business use or for private flying. The application to accept fare paying passengers could indicate a significant increase in flights and a change to the type and size of aircraft using the airport. There are restrictions on the number of passengers and noise levels but campaigners say these restrictions are sufficiently ambiguous or unrestricted for them to offer any significant protection against this increase in traffic at the airport. The restrictions on number of flights is about to expire in any case. And there is every chance that Biggin Hill Airport will make further applications for these restrictions to be amended.
Apart from the impact on the lives of individual residents in terms of noise, a major concern is that expansion will have a dramatic effect on the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere. The impact on the climate must be taken into account - apart from the impact on the air we breathe here in Bromley there is every likelihood that expansion of airports like Biggin Hill will compromise the national government's ability to reach its own net zero target.
The quieter skies of lockdown are already starting to sound a little bit noisier, and over the next 12 months we'll expect to see a return to pre-pandemic air traffic. We all remember how much impact the extended flying hours made to us, seeing an increase in size of aircraft as well as the hours they were operating.