Birmingham airport buys second opinion

Second opinion

In the fast-moving world of aviation expansion, it's perfectly common for big business to spend loads-a-money producing crazy reports that claim extravagant benefits and underplay the costs. But Birmingham airport may have sunk to a new low: after its first report came to the wrong conclusions, it procured a second opinion.

According to the first report by experts at Liverpool University, expansion would bring health implications for children at 31 local schools, elderly people and anyone with circulatory or respiratory conditions. But the second report conveniently decided that there wouldn't be “any meaningful health outcome” from changes in air quality, while dismissing any chance of significant impact on children’s learning.

The airport claims it paid for the second report - an additional £10,000 on top of the original £50,000 - because the Liverpool authors refused to condense their report into snappy soundbite. Maybe that's true - or maybe the airport owner didn't like paying for a report that said the opposite of what they wanted to hear...