The answer to runway ignorance and ‘fake news’
YOU featured a letter on 23 February in which the (predictably unattributed) writer requested an answer to his/her self-confessed ignorance and then went on to indulge in yet more ‘fake news’ about the possibility of an airport runway extension.
The writer professed their missing knowledge by stating ‘For the life of me, I cannot understand how spending what would be in excess of £40m. on a runway extension can possibly benefit the island and would challenge anyone on this letters page to tell me how it would’.
The writer then went on to indulge in ‘fake news’ by suggesting that ‘acres of green fields would be covered in concrete’ and that ‘four to five of our most historic farmhouses would be destroyed’.
The same simple course of action would resolve all of the above, namely:
1. The Policy & Resources Committee should publish without further delay the related PwC study (Part A Report) produced as long ago as September 2018, but withheld from the majority of deputies and the public since that date.
2. P&R should likewise fund and publish Part B of PwC’s work to arrive at an independent and professional evaluation of the options and business cases.
Whether one believes or not that a runway extension can be justified, the recent situation of key information withheld for six months and ludicrous fake news (e.g. that ‘half of St Peter’s village would be bulldozed’, when an extension would be at the opposite end) must surely be brought to a close.
As local architect Rob Le Page has demonstrated in a letter to all deputies:
1. A 1,700m runway with an EMAS safety overrun area would be capable of supporting lower-fare carriers such as BA and EasyJet.
2. That 1,700m runway would fit within the current airport perimeter, the EMAS area would take less than half the land already approved within the Island Development Plan, and absolutely no current houses would be destroyed. Perhaps the Guernsey Press should publish the benefits study carried out jointly during 2018 by the Chamber of Commerce and Institute of Directors?
But above all, as Richard Digard suggested pointedly in his article in the Press on 22 February, P&R should adopt the traditional mantra of ‘open government’ and ‘evidence-based decision-making’ by publishing PwC report Part A, then funding and publishing PwC Part B on the business cases.
Without that, the island will continue to waste more months and indulge in unproductive fake assertions in the absence of professionally-evaluated underlying facts.
1, Queen’s Road,
St Peter Port, GY1 1PT.
Editor’s footnote: P&R published the air links section of the PwC report on Friday.