Its potential is being overlooked
WITH talk of a potential merger between BAE and Airbus, people who live in South Gloucestershire and Bristol, along with unions, elected representatives and the government need to start asking some serious and pointed questions.
In my opinion, this can only be seen as a benefit to BAE which concentrates on worldwide military contracts, which continue to drop off from the likes of America. I'm sure Airbus could, if need be, continue to operate as it is concentrating on passenger aircraft growth from countries such as India.
So why even contemplate doing this? Could it be that with any merger or takeover you see occur, companies and employers rationalise staff and expertise or "re-structure". You can't blame companies with no understanding of Filton's history, to see a deal such as this in any other way. Any potential merger can only be seen as a ticket for further job loses in the South Gloucestershire and Bristol areas and I'm glad that the whole deal is currently in question.
If further unemployment wasn't bad enough, consider the fact that these major companies would essentially be French; operating here for what I'm sure would only be a limited time. The European Union and its top bureaucrats have been undertaking a systematic downgrading of the UK and its military for longer than I care to remember and worst of all, our elected representatives allow it and in some cases encourage it for reasons I can't quite understand. The UK's defences have been over stretched and under funded since the Falklands War and I shudder to think what may happen if there were to be a another conflict to such a scale. Having served in the Royal Navy, I have seen this first hand in peace and war.
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So I come to Filton Airfield and its potential. It's regretful that at the time it was discussed to create Bristol Airport at the airfield, it wasn't fully investigated on how to mitigate issues surrounding its development. We all know that infrastructure and access around Filton Airfield is substantially better than our current hotly debated North Somerset airport. However, we are where we are with decisions taken then and as a democracy we must be respectful of the majority. What seems to be continuously overlooked is the potential the airfield still retains. Due to the fact its American owners see it as no more than an asset which would fetch a tidy sum sold as a development for housing; it's extremely difficult to present any other argument when many ears of many people who could make a difference are plugged. It's interesting that with the release of company accounts for the airfield, the airfield part of the site, made a profit for the second year running. Don't be fooled by people who tell you it runs at a loss. These loss making elements are sections of the business which are being run down to confuse the accounts. The airfield only needs one heavy haulage flight a week to break even.
We don't need the additional housing and considering that one of the reasons a commercial airport was refused planning was traffic, do we honestly believe that another 3,500 houses would be populated only by cyclists, non car owners or users of our unfit for purpose public transport provided by our bus companies?
We have been seriously let down by our elected representatives and this travesty continues as normal. Amidst the party whipping and head stomping to get onto the ladder of employment after their MP apprenticeship is over, there are people who care and people who have come forward; I for one commend them for that. Let the residents of our areas make their feelings known in 2015 when these self-preservationists are removed from office.
This is not a political battle, much more one of morals, belief and protection of our area and country. UKIP firmly stand behind anyone who believes in this country and its betterment, thus ensuring a future and opportunities for our children. Short term gain now in relation to this issue will only provide long term loss on an unprecedented scale.
We eagerly await the result of the planning inspector's inquiry into South Gloucestershire's core strategy document which could seal the airfield's fate. I ask anyone with an interest in our areas to stand up and join the fight led by The Save Filton Airfield Campaign.
Remember, this isn't just about an airfield; it really is about safeguarding our futures.
UKIP South Gloucestershire Councillor for Bradley Stoke