Brum FoE demands clarity in public funding

Birmingham InternationalBirmingham’s Local Enterprise Partnership bid for a £15 million subsidy from the Regional Growth Fund (RGF) to help extend Birmingham International Airport has been rejected.

The bid was ruled ineligible. FoE reckoned the process lacked transparency and wants this changed for future bidding rounds when there may be an opportunity to request the money once again.

The money is needed for the diversion of the A45 Coventry Road enabling the 350-metre runway extension to go ahead. FoE reckons public money should not be sought for such projects.

Lead aviation campaigner Thomas Hulme believes there is a lack of transparency in the RGF bidding process.

“Why should it be left to an unelected and unaccountable body to decide which projects take precedent and indeed which projects are bid for?” he said. “There is no public scrutiny or opportunity to input into this process”.

Birmingham FoE has been campaigning against the runway extension due to, what it claims will be, the environmental impacts of the aviation industry and increase in noise pollution.  FoE also feel that it is unacceptable that public funds should subsidise this commercial airport project, especially at a time when huge cutbacks are being made in public sector jobs and funding for other transport projects.

“In this economic climate we need to be investing in local, low-carbon transport projects, not further feather-bedding the aviation industries. When the rest of us are suffering financially, why should they enjoy such perks as being exempt from paying VAT and have taxpayers to pay for moving this road?” added Mr Hulme.

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