January 18th, 2009 by Stephen Fell
It was a great pleasure to welcome you to the St. Peter’s Airport Development Group meeting at the community hall on Saturday evening, 17 January 2009.
It was encouraging to see so many interested parishioners. It demonstrated the keen interest there is in this subject.
The group would like to thank our elected representatives (States and Douzaine) for their active participation.
Some of the people who attended the meeting at the St. Peter's community hall (click image to expand - ©RLLord)
We covered a wide range of concerns at the meeting and were advised by Deputy Al Brouard to write individually to the Public Services Department and if you feel inclined, to each deputy. After all, it is they who will be voting on this in March. The primary areas of concern are:
- Cost – Public Services Department have not costed the whole thing, even at £85mm. Funding costs, material transportation, remedial work on the transport infrastructure (roads, ports etc.) would all need to be added to the proposed costs.
- Environment – Less damaging alternatives have not been properly considered, such as EMAS Arrestor Beds. These provide a cost effective alternative to burying roads and valuable green belt and agricultural land.
- Planning Enquiry – Such a significant project needs to be properly reviewed unless the solution can be accommodated within the existing perimeter. A proper planning enquiry will provide everyone with an opportunity to contribute to the discussion and ensure all options are fully considered.
- Economic Case – Airport users have stated they see no economic case now, or in the foreseeable future for the need to extend the runway beyond its current length of 1463m. There is however an urgent need to rehabilitate the runway.
- Poor State of the Runway – Despite being aware of the poor condition of the runway, successive administrations have chosen not to address this vital piece of infrastructure. PSD now do so as part of a grandiose plan
- General Economic Outlook – The current plan incorporates many “Nice to have” elements that cannot be afforded in light of the long list of capital projects including Health and Education. Even today we have been made aware of yet another major project requiring perhaps another £100,000,000. The Island needs to prioritorise its expenditure and grand projects of dubious value must be abandoned in favour of essential works.
- Safety – Despite continuous use of misleading language, namely “non-compliance”, our airport remains compliant. The Runway End Safety Areas (RESA) are at or near the absolute minima demanded by the Civil Aviation Authority, but they are not non-compliant, merely below recently recommended minima of 240m. Nevertheless, PSD are not proposing the provision of 240 metre RESA’s, but instead a compromise of 202 metres. The reason being that is the absolute maximum that can be accommodated within the physical constraints of the existing road network. The Civil Aviation Authority do recognise that some communities cannot meet he desired levels and suggest a range of mitigation possibilities.
- Runway “Displacement” – Displacement is another word for runway extension for the residents of the west. The requirement under the plan calls for 300,000 tonnes of infill, resulting in up to a 7 metres (23ft) high embankment highly visible from Plaisance Road, significant damage to the road infrastructure, and closure of La Mare Road. Aircraft would start their take-off run at La Mare Road. Landing aircraft would be 7 metres or 8 metres lower (23ft – 26ft) on approach to land, a significant point for residents of and visitors to St Peter’s village.
These are just some of the pertinent issues of the current proposals. We hope that the foregoing provides you with sufficient information to write to PSD and Members of the States to ensure that the ground swell of opposition to these plans is well understood and taken into account during any discussions, including the debate scheduled for March. Your voice can be heard and can make a difference. If you have any questions at all, please feel free to contact one of the group (e:mail addresses above).
The group will be pleased to receive any pertinent information from all interested parties. We meet on an ad-hoc basis but will forward relevant information to all concerned parties when it becomes available.
Stephen Fell, Peter Le Messurier and Tim Archard hosting the St Peter's Airport Development Group meeting at the St. Peter's community hall (click image to expand - ©RLLord)
Thank you for your support on Saturday.
Stephen Fell on behalf of the St Peter’s Airport Development Group
La Rue des Rondiaux
St Pierre-du-Bois, GY7 9SQ