Biodiversity Media Alliance

Linking Journalism with the Web of Life

I have read a few papers about the impact of new airports on biodiversity (e.g. Turkey and Mumbia, India) and have recently found the Ombudsman's decision concerning a planning application to nearly double the volume of passengers at Luton Airport to 18 million which I brought against Luton Borough Council.  You can find the link here:  One of the aspects of this decision is that the Council own the airport, so were making a decision in which they had an important business interest.

It took a significant chunk of my life to raise a complaint against the Council, but ultimately I think it worthwhile as it highlighted a number of issues:

(i) The Ombudsman was not that impressed with the Council's communication, and said so, emphasising that the Council should have stated more clearly the harm airport expansion would cause to the environment;

(ii) The Council admitted that it did not consider the issue of climate change in reaching their decision - to me that is just extraordinary;

(iii) Perhaps in passing, but acknowledged nonetheless, the Ombudsman said wildlife do not get recognised in decisions of this kind.

(iv) Ultimately, and importantly, airports can expand as much as they like, as the Government says controls must come via international agreement.  Yet, so I understand, the upcoming discussions in Paris do not include controls on aviation (nor shipping or agriculture).

The airport already has a significant impact on the woodland my wife and I own - and this impact will get significantly worse.  There is noise, of course, but I wonder about the impact of eutrophication too.  All very sad.

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