John Docker: Why we must hope this idea never gets off the ground

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Oh dear, I appear to have upset another reader with my recent comments about the waste of a good runway at Cottesmore (Letters 20th September).

Could this be the very same Coun Plews who only a few years ago tried to sell us his “small designated” regional airport idea? I do believe it is and he’s still banging the same drum apparently.

He claims his “plan B” would have replaced the loss to the economy tenfold and created up to 2,000 higher-paid jobs. He talks of “endless business supply-chain opportunities” and “re-use of all the existing flying facilities.”

What he does not do is address the impact on quality of life, the infrastructure, the environment and the many other considerations making this area such a desirable place to live.

He quotes Southend and Doncaster regional airports as “shining examples” – hardly comparable I would have thought and if his enthusiasm stems solely from discussions with “several economic development teams and low cost carriers” I am not surprised it appears somewhat biased in favour of that great god of commerce called profit.

Surely he cannot seriously believe that once commercial interests have a grip on a small airport they will be content to allow it to remain so? So just what is happening at these shining examples? Aircraft movements at Southend are up 8.8per cent over the year with passenger targets projected to rise from 722,000 to 2 million by 2020.

According to AirportWatch new job opportunity claims have not proved credible - “very few have been created”, and residents are concerned at the prospect of aircraft every five minutes and 120 night flights a month, not to mention noise/air pollution, falling house prices, decline in local economy, public safety-zones at risk and increases in harmful greenhouse gas emissions. Not such a rosy picture for residents apparently.

And at Doncaster, control of the airport appears to have been a juggling act between investment companies over recent years - hardly an encouraging sign that local issues could ever be of paramount concern.

I cannot think even the most vivid imagination could possibly believe there would be any similarity between a military base and a commercial airport and I can only assume the idea stems from someone who does not live anywhere near the flight-path. As for my “bemoaning about the lack of flying activity” this is hardly what I said.

Perhaps after my quip about the pigeons, I should have added “joke” in large letters. And would I support new homes or wind turbines instead? Yes, I actually think I would. Sorry Mr Plews, as they might say across the pond, your cosy picture of a quaint little old airport simply doesn’t fly!