Bromley Council’s Executive has decided by a majority of 4-3 to grant Biggin Hill Airport’s application to extend its operating hours. A full Council meeting was held in public in the Great Hall at Bromley Civic Centre on Wednesday 25th October at 7pm, which was followed by the decision made by the Executive at 11pm.
The meeting was packed with people who held strong feelings on both sides of the debate. My position has remained the same throughout this consultation process - while I continue to be a firm supporter of Biggin Hill Airport as a local employer and an important business in the Borough, I was strongly opposed to the Airport’s plans to change the terms of its lease. Throughout the process, I urged Bromley Council to put the interests of directly affected residents first and foremost - and those residents who live under the flightpath are the ones who will be most affected.
Over the course of this year, I have been approached on the subject of the proposals by over 300 constituents, expressing views on both sides of the argument. I urged all those who wrote to me to take part in the public consultation held by Bromley Council, as well as to write directly to Bromley Council to express their views.
Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, made clear his support for residents in recent correspondence: ‘I have always been clear that the answer to London’s need for more aviation capacity will not be solved through expanding existing airports, and that such expansions could cause an increase in noise pollution.’
Bromley Council discussed a full report into the proposals at the meeting. Many of the Bromley Councillors spoke at the meeting and questions were put to the Council by members of the public. I asked Councillors what assurances they would offer that the interests of residents living under the flightpath would be considered within the decision making process, and also noted concerns raised by community groups about the public consultation.
Councillors voted 29 for allowing the extension and 19 against, with 10 abstentions. The final decision was then referred to the Executive. The close 4-3 decision by the Executive reveals that this was not a matter taken lightly and it is one which has polarised opinion.
The decision to allow the extended hours is of course disappointing for those residents who are directly affected by living under the flightpath. It will now fall to the Council to ensure that all of the clauses related to the Noise Action Plan are upheld by Biggin Hill Airport Ltd. The plan offers full transparency and a reduction of overall noise created by the Airport, and will be reviewed every five years. I will continue to monitor this situation to ensure that residents are protected and represented.
Bromley Council’s statement following the meeting can be found here: www.bromley.gov.uk/press/article/1061/biggin_hill_airport_limited_hours_decision