Residents in Castle Bromwich are voicing their opposition to new proposals which would see the changes to the northbound flight paths for Birmingham International Airport. Around 45 residents met on Thursday 17th August at St Mary and St Margaret’s Church Hall to discuss the impact of the plans. Solihull Councillor Mike Robinson and Meriden MP, Dame Caroline Spelman were also in attendance.
The proposals are part of a local consultation, published by Birmingham Airport and ordered by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), in response to the roll out of a new aircraft guidance system. The public have until Monday 9th October 2017 to give feedback.
As a result of this meeting a local campaign group was established to oppose the plans as set out in the 50 page document. This includes two new routes to replace the existing flight paths, which were released to the public in July.
Birmingham Airport’s Chief Operating Officer, David Winstanley, said: “The airport is very, very conscious that this is a sensitive issue”.
“We are providing the [consultation] website and information so that residents can dig down and find the answers to the questions they wish. Furthermore, we are operating a number of roadshows around the communities affected and I would strongly urge residents to come out, meet the team and ask questions face to face”.
Yet despite the reassurances from the Airport, the community remains anxious about the concentration of noise pollution over homes, a potential increase in the number of aircraft flying arriving and departing from the airport as well as the efficiency of the new guidance system. In addition to this the quality of the consultation has come under scrutiny, with some questioning the transparency of the consultation document. They have argued that the consultation boasts ‘a number of leading questions’ and ‘fails to get to the root of the problems that will be generated by concentrated air traffic’.
Meriden MP, Dame Caroline Spelman, has expressed her support of local residents. Speaking after the meeting last week, the MP said: ‘I was pleased be able to offer residents a guarantee that I will work closely with them and Birmingham Airport to campaign for appropriate noise mitigation and to ensure that local voices are heard.
‘Having been in regular contact with the airport for some weeks with regards to this issue, I am pleased that following the meeting we have already secured some changes to the format of the consultation. These will serve to better ensure that views can be properly expressed and I would like to offer my assurance to the affected communities will continue to engage with residents local ward councillors, parish councillors and the Civil Aviation Authority throughout this process’.
The consultation is available at: https://www.birminghamairport.co.uk/about-us/community-and-environment/flight-path-changes-north-runway33/