Julie Crossley is a Labour councillor representing Aldershot Park. She is also the environmental representative on the Farnborough Aerodrome consultative committee and the shadow climate champion for Rushmoor Borough Council.
Speaking at last Thursday’s Farnham Maltings consultation event, Cllr Crossley commended Farnborough Airport for seeking “honest feedback from people”. But she added: “A lot of us would challenge a lot of the facts that are presented and the way they are presented.
“My issue is I don’t think they’re providing enough evidence for proven need,” she said.
Farnborough Airport, which currently handles 33,000 to 35,000 flights per year, is proposing to double that number. Cllr Crossley finds this puzzling, especially amid a climate crisis, and questioned the logic behind increasing the cap to 70,000 flights.
But her concerns go beyond environmental impacts to community well-being, particularly in areas affected by noise pollution because of changes in airspace in 2019.
“Apart from the poor people of Farnham, Tilford, Churt, Lytchett Church and Crookham, who’ve had a massive impact on their quality of life due to changes in airspace causing noise pollution, there are many other issues that need attention,”she said.
Cllr Crossley advocated for a temporary halt in aviation expansion, calling for research and development investments in sustainable aviation accessible to all income groups. She also suggested taxing aviation fuel and frequent flyers to fund sustainable aviation efforts.
Cllr Crossley went on to challenge comparisons that suggest Farnborough is performing better than other airports in terms of market growth.
“It’s not about ‘whataboutism’,” she insisted. “It’s about everything we can do to bring global and local emissions down.
“Tax aviation fuel – it’s currently not taxed. Just as we pay taxes when we put petrol in our cars, aviation fuel should bear a tax burden.
“Taxing frequent flyers and redirecting the revenue towards research and development is another step towards responsible aviation.”