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BIA stands accused over misleading CO2 figures; Airport report does not include aircraft pollution.

Byline: PAUL DALE Public Affairs Correspondent

Birmingham International Airport has been accused of publishing misleading figures after claiming to have slashed carbon dioxide emissions by almost a quarter.

BIA's 'Community and Environment - Growing Together' report praises "energy efficiency measures" which have cut the carbon footprint by eight per cent since 2000 and by 24 per cent per passenger flying from Birmingham over the same period.

But, when asked to clarify the claim, officials admitted the figures related only to CO2 emissions in the terminals and airport buildings and did not take into account aircraft pollution.

A spokeswoman said BIA was concentrating on reducing carbon in buildings as the first stage of a climate change strategy. The possibility of encouraging airlines to cut CO2 would be considered at a later date.

The figures were criticised by Friends of the Earth and BANG, the Birmingham Airport Anti-noise Group, who accused BIA of attempting to create favourable publicity in the run up to Solihull Council's decision about a proposed runway extension on December 15.

FOTE West Midlands spokesman Chris Crean said it was misleading to publish figures which did not take into account carbon from planes and the trains and cars used by passengers travelling to the airport.

Mr Crean added: "It is good news that BIA has made its buildings more energy efficient but it is aircraft movements that are by far the largest source of carbon dioxide missions, accounting for 91 per cent of total airport and airport-related emissions in 2006.

"By expressing the carbon reduction in terms of emissions per passenger, however, BIA risks giving the misleading impression that the cut has been achieved in emissions from planes."

Head of corporate affairs, John Morris, insisted BIA would deliver all of the environmental commitments it had given to local people.

Measures taken so far include: More efficient controls on heating and ventilation units.

Maximising use of natural light in terminals during daylight hours.

Better controls on gas boilers and sensor controls on lights.

He added that the airport spent more than pounds 500,000 last year and pounds 12million since 1978 on mitigating the impact of its activities.

More than 98 per cent of aircraft taking off are using Noise Preferential Routes over the least populated areas.

Mr Morris added: "The launch of our Growing Together report demonstrates that we are committed to improving the local environment and lives of those living near the airport, working with people to grow sensibly, meeting its targets and keeping promises."


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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Dec 4, 2008
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