Edinburgh City Council Planning Committee this morning agreed plans to significantly expand Edinburgh Airport despite calls from Green councillors to reject the plan because of increasing pollution causing climate change. A proposal by the Greens not to agree the plan was voted down by LibDem, SNP, Labour and Conservative Councillors by 12 votes to 1.
Greens condemned BAA’s Masterplan for Edinburgh which includes a 30% increase in passenger numbers in the next 8 years and a doubling to 20.5 million passengers by 2040. Cargo flights also increase by 28,000 tonnes to 2040.
Green Environment spokesperson Councillor Steve Burgess said; “This is literally flying in the face of climate change. Yet again all the other political parties on this Council apart from the Greens have backed a huge expansion of Edinburgh airport. Greens are calling for a hold on further airport expansion because of the devastating effects climate change is already having around the world.
“Like all Councils, Edinburgh now has a legal duty to reduce climate changing pollution and that specifically includes emissions from aviation. LibDem and SNP Council Leaders and the other parties that voted for this today need to explain how giving the go-ahead for massive airport expansion fits in with that duty.
“No one is saying we should close the airport, but it’s already more than doubled in size in the last decade or so and now there are over 9 million passengers flying on over 100 routes every year. Shockingly, despite concerns over the devastation climate change is causing, the plan by the airport and now endorsed by the Council is to double this impact.
“Despite claims by the air industry, pollution from aircraft is hugely significant. Even if there was a halt to airport expansion now, official figures show that by 2050 aircraft pollution could still make up a quarter of the UK’s carbon emissions target. And much of that pollution is ejected into the upper atmosphere.”