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Birmingham airport has recently announced that the proposed new runway will not only have great economic benefits for the area but will not result in an increase in health risk for the local community. However, the more cynical of local residents have queried the reason behind the commissioning of a further report on the health issues.

A £50,000 piece of research, running to 171 pages, carried out by Liverpool University had previously concluded that children, the elderly and anyone with respiratory or circulatory problems would be adversely affected. A further £10,000 was then spent on obtaining a peer group review of the report which, happily for those in favour of the runway expansion, concludes that no meaningful health effects are likely to be caused and that the net impact on health will be a positive one because of improved employment opportunities.

Joe Kelly, MD at Birmingham airport, said that the original study had not taken account of a £10 million plan both to provide soundproofing and to set up a study to monitor health issues.

Chris Crean of Friends of the Earth criticised Mr Kelly for creating a positive spin, whilst a campaigner from Save Elmdon Action Group was quick to point out that sound proofing amounts to nothing if you want to sit in your garden in the summer or even open a window.

Local MP, Loraly Burt, is, on balance, in favour of the runway extension which will generate £824 million in the next 22 years for the region, with the introduction of direct flights to China, India, the west coast of America and South America.

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